I found this dress at the thrift store, and loved the pattern immediately. I grabbed it so I could turn it into an apron, but it actually fits me! And it fits really well (I mean, I know I’m gorgeous, but in this I look amazing!), I just wasn’t enamored of the neck line. It reminded me of terrible 1980′s, tacky, overly-tan people for some reason.
I used my seam ripper to removed the neck strap, and separate the two booby cups. I then ripped open the end of the strap (which was one long piece), and I pulled out the giant, terrible, uncomfortable beads that were inside it. Yeah, because I want giant chunks of plastic rubbing on my collar bones.
I folded the strap in half long-ways, then cut it into two pieces to be two separate straps. I sewed the ends shut, including the extra hole I made to remove the beads, which wasn’t actually necessary since I was cutting it open anyways. I see that now.
Once I had the strap detached, I put the dress on and pinned the cups until they were the same size and shape. My goal was to create a more 1950′s-style sweet-heart neckline. And I think I succeeded:
BAM!!! See, hotness! I told you! I took the two halves of the original strap and attached them to the top of each cup so I can tie it around my neck. Again, I acheived this by putting the dress on, looking in a mirror and pinning it, then wriggling out carefully, and swearing a lot when I stabbed myself on accident. If there’s a better way to sew, I don’t know it. Hopefully, I’ll learn soon.
I recently had to have a minor surgical procedure done, and I knew I was going to be bedridden for at least a week afterward. I knew there was no way I’d be able to relax and heal while my bedroom looked like the disaster area you see here:
After deep cleaning much of the house, our bedroom had become a dumping ground for all the stray furniture and homeless items. Hubby and I finally said enough is enough, cleaned up, cleared out, and rearranged. Our bedroom is long and skinny, so we decided to divide it up into two areas. I had already started rearranging in the picture above, which is why part of the bed is totally inaccessible. The area you see below is the other half of the room, that we decided would be our “living room area”.
Random stacks of things, like picture frames, finally got stowed away where they now belong.
You can see we still have a random mix of stuff, but it’s much cleaner and more usable now.
On my side of the bed I have my night stand, book shelf with only unread books, and a cabinet that has snacks and craft projects. Hubby got me the big Jack Skellington for Christmas years ago. Isn’t he sweet?
Our mini living room still needs a little work. If somebody (hint: Hubby) would let me get rid of some stuff organization would be a little easier. I mean, I got rid of my box of sticks; time for you to step up!
Here we have our armchair and poof footstool for seating. Most of this area has been left open so Hubby can do his
yoga kickboxing DVDs. He also ended up sleeping on an air mattress there while I was recovering, because the tiniest shake of the bed was painful, and I screech really loudly.
The carpet is atrocious, and this is one of the few places we still have it in the house. At some point it will be disposed of in a fittingly violent manner, but we have to endure it for now. Stupid car payments. While I wish this was a “big reveal” showing our newly remodeled room, I think this shows that just rearranging furniture and decluttering can make a big difference, and costs you zero bucks.
There are probably one million websites that will give you strategies for how to pinch pennies and save money. I am not going to cover any of that ground in this post. The one thing many of them tell you, is when saving for a specific goal, put that money in a jar as a visual motivator. Sounds great! But a plain jar? That’s not the Clever Chick way. Let’s make it fabulous!!
First off, you’re going to need a jar of some kind, preferably large enough to hold all the massive wads of cash you’ll be saving. We’ll be adding a decoration to it, and I pulled one out of an old calendar. You could use something from National Geographic, or any old magazine. You also need some glue, hopefully mod-podge, and a paint brush to spread it around.
I chose and trimmed this picture to fit between the bulges on my jar.
If you want to label your jar, I recommend using shirt paint. This, however, shows why it’s important to test your shirt paint on a separate sheet of paper first:
Ca-splosion! But, I managed to recover:
Once the word “Vacation” was dry, I flipped the picture over and spread Mod-Podge on the back. Just so you know, this picture shows waaaay too much mod-podge being used. You should probably put a fairly thin coat on the back. You also have to complete this part of the process relatively quickly so the paper shapes to the jar properly without bubbles, creases, or tears.
I laid my jar down on the gluey picture (of course making sure it was right way up), then wrapped the label around the jar. It might be easier to lay the jar on its side, then wrap the picture around it starting from one end. It would probably be easier to prevent air bubbles and creases. I also used the picture to cover up some ugly label stuff I couldn’t get off the jar.
This step needs to be completed fairly quickly, because once the glue gets on the paper, the paper starts to absorb the moisture. The paper can become weak and tear easily once it has absorbed lots of the glue (which is also why you should use less than I did). I held the jar, and smoothed the picture onto it with my fingers. Glue squished out on all sides, which I then smoothed over the outside. This is a “Do as I say, not as I do” type of craft. I probably should have started from one end of the picture, and smoothed it to the jar as I went. Instead, I ended up with a few creases and bubbles, but unless you touch it you can’t tell. Here it is, coated in glue:
Here it is, dry and complete. You can see a couple creases, but I’m not too worried about it. At least I tried it and showed you guys how to avoid that issue. I also didn’t decorate the lid of the jar, but you can do so following this previous post of mine.
And of course you can use this method for any kind of saving goal. If you’re saving for a wedding, put a picture of a wedding cake; for a house, put a house, etc. Hubby and I have a bunch of stuff around the house that we’ve been planning to sell on eBay or Craig’s list, and any proceeds from those sales go into this jar. I’m hoping that will motivate us to finally get rid of this stuff, and declutter in the process. Here’s hoping!
You guys are already jealous of how cool my parents are, but just you wait. On Black Friday, did they run around town hunting for insane deals, biting and clawing people to buy Christmas gifts? No. They spent the day in my attic. We have a (fortunately) tiny attic space, but it backs up against Hubby’s and my bedroom. In the summer time, that section of roof just bakes in the sun, and that heat sets up camp in our living quarters to torture us.
The solution? Radiant barrier. This stuff resembles silver bubble wrap. You simply staple it to the under-side of the roof, and it reflects heat right back out before it has the chance to make you miserable. My hope is that it will also keep the AC unit itself cooler, so it doesn’t have to work as hard. Here you can see some of the completed sections.
Personally, I find attics to be frightening. There appears to be a floor, but you can’t actually walk on it or else you’ll fall through to your death; there’s a chinzy little ladder to climb up and down that seems like it might collapse so you fall to your death; there are bugs and itchy insulation that you can’t touch or you’ll get cancer. I held onto the rafters for dear life with every step, terrified that I would fall and my useless T-Rex-like arms would fail me. At least it wasn’t hot in there.
To figure out how much of this stuff you need, measure the area to be covered, and measure the space between the joists (aka the boards running along the slopey ceiling area) so you know what width to cut your pieces. It comes in rolls at home improvement stores, and it’s fairly inexpensive.
You only need a staple gun to install it. We had three, only one of which seemed to be functioning at a given time. I spent most of the time reloading, fiddling with, and swearing at each staple gun, attempting to make them work. Even the small amount of area I covered was hampered by the fact that I’m only 5’7″, and the ceiling is 8′. You may need a step ladder, but my dad is over six feet tall, so I just whined until he finished it for me. I did a lot of pointing as well.
Mom faithfully documented the whole thing for both of our blogs, and made dozens of trips up and down the balsa wood ladder of doom, bringing supplies, taking pictures, and taking supplies back down again.
If you are at all familiar with my dad, The Intrepid Traveler, you know he’s hilarious, although not always on purpose. When I was actually doing some work, this conversation occurred:
Me: “It’s getting a little crooked, is that ok?”
Dad: “Yeah, as long as it’s straight.”
He wasn’t being intentionally funny, but it cracked me up, regradless. Speaking of hilarious, the man knows I hate Newt Gingrich, so he “hid” a magazine, with Newt on the cover on top of one of my bookshelves. When I say “hid” I mean propped up so that his piggy little eyes were staring at me from across the room. I had to wait for a tall person to come over and get it down for me. The family that pranks each other…should live far apart to avoid repurcusions.
So thanks, Dad, for climbing around my attic like a monkey, and putting my home improvement skills to shame. And thanks for not finishing the beer. You must truly love me.
As usual, my sis Beans and I can’t resist finding ridiculous things at the thrift store. Since she LOVES TIGERS!!! we notice lots of things in that category.
Beans was visibly excited about this find, but fortunately, so decided to leave it behind.
This is Wetherbee. He’s missing both legs, and sadly we couldn’t recover them. Beans started speaking for Wetherbee, using a Scottish accent, and it was hilarious. She even wrote a story about how he lost his legs! Look for it in and upcoming post.
Thrift stores provide hours of entertainment for us.
You may have noticed that I like to cook a whole bunch of food at once to I don’t have to do it every night. The other day I washed and cut up 2 heads of cauliflower, and threw them in a baking dish with olive oil and garlic salt. Since the oven was already on and the cutting board was already dirty, I decided to bake some lentils, too. They were already cooked (the night before I made pasta, and since the pot was already dirty I threw a whole bag of lentils in to boil while we were eating dinner. Noticing a pattern?).
I chopped up the remains of a white onion, 2 raw jalapenos, and some red onion, for a total of 1/2 cup of large chunks of onion.
The laready cooked, refridgerated lentils, fresh out of their tupperware:
Yes, that’s a Star Wars cup in the background. I mixed the ingredients in the pan to avoid dirtying extra dishes.
I added 3 tablespoons or so of olive oil to moisten it up, 1/4 cup good parmesan cheese, and probably 2 teaspoons or less of garlic salt. You can make it spicier by adding chili powder, or Sriracha. Once it was done cooking, we each added Sriracha to our own portions to control the level of spiciness. Hubby like things way spicier than I do. You can make it vegan by leaving out the cheese or using a vegan cheese substitute. I haven’t tried those, so I’m not sure how it would work. You can also add some cumin for additional flavor.
I baked it at 350 for 30 minutes or so, until it was bubbling and a little crispy around the edges. The veggies had cooked a little bit, but they were still fairly crunchy, which I liked. You could always saute them before mixing them into the lentils if you want them more done, but I liked the variety of textures.
Yes! Some crafts, finally! I was wandering around the thrift store the other day, despairing of finding anything cool, when I saw this fabric poking out from under a pile of clothes. Hubby and I have both been working on pirate costumes for Halloween/Renaissance Festival/random costume parties our friends have, and we need many more scarves.
Someone had split the whole booty area open, in what had to be a brutally embarrassing moment, but I still saw the potential. The fabric and pattern are also pretty close to historically accurate for the time period, which is always a plus.
First, I used my seam ripper to get the pants down to their basic components.
I then trimmed down the sides to make rectangles. I also trimmed off the torn booty area. Keep in mind, this is for a costume, and a pirate at that, so I just basically eyeballed everything.
I wanted it to be a bit longer, so I took some of the other scraps, cut them to size, and pinned everything together. I hand-sewed everything together. The fairly busy pattern of this fabric hides the fact that several bits of fabric form the whole scarf. I wouldn’t necessarily try this same method with a quieter pattern, unless it’s for a gypsy or pirate costume. Gypsies and pirates are supposed to look patched up, so it adds to the authenticity.
Once the bits were assembled, I laid it out, and rolled the sides over to be hemmed. The edges were not straight, so I just folded the extra cloth under to even it out. I pinned the edges down, and hand-sewed everything again.
Here’s the finished product! The ends were already machine-hemmed, since they were the ankles of the pants, so that saved me some work. In the picture, it looks like that end flairs out terribly, but that’s just the way I laid it down to take the picture. The scarf is now complete, and either Hubby or I can wear it for our costumes. I also have some extra fabric from this project, so it may reappear someday. Overall, it only took me a few days, even hand-sewing everything. With a sewing machine, it could have been done in an hour, easily.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately crafting for friends and family, like the cake topper and wedding favors for my sister, Beans. This post is going to show some of those gifts, and serve as an excuse for not doing many crafting posts.
For Jessica, I made a tiny gnome head magnet (which is part of an on-going weird joke between us), and a box of Cadbury creme eggs, of which I did not steal ONE.
This is a necklace for my sis, Beans, inspired by a recycle poster, which is why the tree is made of arrows.
UPDATE: I found the inspiration pic for this:
This is a monster baby. I made it out of some fabric by running it around the sewing machine with no real plan in mind.
He’s wearing a cape with SB on it, which stands for Super Baby. He’s playing super heroes, with his pet cow.
I named the cow Moothusela. This monster baby was made for Kathy Phan-tastic for her birthday.
Nuclear explosion? No problem! Super Baby to the rescue! (The background is part of a painting by my super-talented Hubby). So it just goes to show, being friends with me has its benefits. I love giving handmade gifts whenever I can.