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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekend Warriors Part 1: Recovering Old Chairs

   I think I've mentioned before that I have spent a good portion of my life moving. With moving comes re-painting, rearranging, redecorating...well, lots of "re's".  One of the things that seemed to be getting changed rather frequently were the chair covers. Once my brother and I were no longer like small zoo animals, plastic protective covers came off the chairs and new, fashionable fabrics graced our chairs. I started to learn how to change out the fabrics pretty quickly. It was easy enough: purchase new fabric, unscrew chair, recover cushion, staple down, screw cushion back on. Easy enough, right?
   My parents once again gifted us with some fabulous vintage chairs to go with our distressed wood kitchen table. I really liked the frame, but the fabric was a no-go in our kitchen (not to mention that it was a tad itchy on the legs). I knew exactly what kind of fabric that I wanted, but in an effort to really be a true frugalista, I headed to the SAS fabric everyone raves about to me. Not ever having stepped foot in a SAS fabric store, I had high hopes. As my husband opened the doors to the great SAS fabric, I realized I was in for an adventure. You see, I have a wee bit of an issue with large, warehous-y type stores loaded to the brim with "things" (such as Bed Bath and Beyond...) It becomes rather difficult to breathe, I feel tense and a quick need to find my nearest exit. My husband thrives on stores like this. He wants to look at everything. As I looked around the store filled with people, all I could think was surely there will be a fabric in here that will work. Nearly 30 minutes later and I left the great SAS fabrics without fabric in my hands. Even a lady in the parking lot stopped to ask me what went wrong. Something is wrong with me I thought...how can I leave SAS without a fabric? Sweaty and frazzled we headed to home to eat and regroup. I suddenly remembered another store carrying fabrics to check out: IKEA. Now, please understand I could hardly contain my enthusiasm to go to an IKEA at lunch time on a Saturday. I even asked my husband if he was up for the challenge. Since we are going to start ripping out our countertops in the next couple of weekends, he wanted to start pricing our replacement. PERFECT!
   So, after an hour of swimming through the sea of families, we found our fabric. I excitedly clutched it in my hands, running in the door ready to begin our first weekend warrior project. Imagine my SHOCK when I realized our chairs were UPHOLSTERED. That's right!! No unscrewing, cutting, stapling and re-screwing here. Oh wait, what's that you ask? Can my husband and I upholster? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But, guess what?? We made it happen. That's right, it's not perfect and...yes, someday I will make these chairs look more professional...but for now, I'm happy with them and they have been scotchguarded (are we laying in bed having a hard time breathing because someone decided to spray them inside a few minutes ago...yes).
   Take a look at the vintage beauties in all their glory before we unloaded our staple guns and scotchguard on them:

                    And...the after...

     I chose a muted black and white rose print. It stuck out to both of us and we really like how it all came together with the distressed table and our red accent cabinet. Stay tuned for pictures of our kitchen as we prepare to embark on one of our biggest household projects yet (outside of last Christmas when my husband ripped the ceiling out of our kitchen while I was in New York...days before our Christmas party).                  
    Garage sale chairs and IKEA fabric...one green and thrifty project we love!                

Friday, July 29, 2011

Old Print Drawers Repurposed

  I have some pretty fabulous parents that are constantly on the hunt for things for my home. Recently, my parents gifted me a vintage print drawer. I could not believe they found one (for next to nothing) and that they would gift it to me!! In the hustle and bustle of life, I left it sitting on a guest room floor for about a week or so. Not sure of where I wanted it, or what I would place on the tiny little "shelves",  I propped it against a wall and walked by it daily, determined to give it a good home.
   Last weekend my mom and I went my one of our favorite treks down 7th avenue. We found a new antique shop that we hadn't been to yet and began exploring. My mom came across a basket of old print block, which is what was originally in the print drawer I had at home. I quickly began pulling out letters, and even some fun blocks-such as percent signs. The blocks only ran $1.50, which I thought was a pretty good deal. Two nights ago, my husband and I finally hung the print drawer in a guest room. After cleaning out the old drawer, I placed the print blocks at random and then added some old vintage spools I had been saving as well. Turning the vintage spools on their sides, I realized you could then see their old labels. I'm still on the hunt for fun old vintage things to place in the print drawer, but for now I am so happy with turning this old drawer into a fun piece of art!
                
                                    
      Don't forget to wake up early tomorrow and hit your local garage and Estate sales---that's where you score the best finds!!! Happy treasure hunting!                                  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Simple Changes: Big Statement




A couple of Christmas' ago, my dear friend gave me the most charming bobby pin that had been embellished with buttons. I loved how it added something extra to something as simple as a bobby pin. It has been a project that has been on my "must-do" list for almost two years. Last night I made that "must-do" a reality and used a few of my favorite vintage buttons to spice up some bobby pins. It's amazing how something as simple as adding a vintage button to a bobby pin can make such a big statement. 

Group shot of the embellished bobby pins.







    
Many times you will see items like this for ridiculous prices in cutesy boutiques- save the money and make your own!! Use what you have, you will appreciate it more.
                                        
                  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Re-Purposing Wine Corks

Over the past eight months I've been collecting wine corks and storing them in old glass jars. After months of reading blogs and now Pinterest, I've decided it's time to do something with the mass of corks I've acquired.
  At heartmadeblog.com, she repurposes her old wine corks as coasters. Seeing that I had all of the supplies I needed, I decided to try out making wine cork coasters. You simply need: 4 cork coasters, 24 wine corks (halved), a hot glue gun and several sticks of glue, a cutting board and a knife. I began this mission of hacking wine corks in half with a lot of gusto. One wine cork in and I was ready for power tools/a trip to the E.R. Note to self: cutting wine corks in half is NOT as easy as they make it look. I decided after several very close swipes of the knife to my fingers that I would wait until my husband came home for lunch to see if he had a better tool. Sure enough, he pulled out the big, bad knife out of the butcher block and hacked into the cork. I hate to tell you this, still was an absolute pain. So, yesterday's wine cork coaster craft was a little painful. We are searching for a better tool to use this weekend for cutting wine corks (because I have LOTS of crafty ideas in store for those corks)!
   Here's some pictures from my adventure:
My hot pink glue gun ready to go. I am facing my fears of using one after severe burns from a wedding craft! 

Some of my wine cork collection...

Knife and cutting board...future pictures of wine cork crafting will most likely include a chain saw...just kidding

Coaster making in the works. Overlap your corks, then simply flip over your cork coaster and trim off the excess. Then sand the edges. 

Ta-Da! My first wine cork coaster! I'm embracing it's imperfections and rejoicing in the fact that I lost no fingers!




So my friends, if you are collecting a bunch of wine corks and don't know what to do with them: re-purpose them. I've seen everything from wreaths, to initials hanging in bedrooms. Don't cave and buy wine cork products already made if you have the corks! It's much more entertaining to try these projects at home!!
              

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Glitter on the Cheap

    So for most of you, glitter isn't something you deal with on a daily basis. However, for those of you that work with kiddos 40 hours a week, you know that glitter can be a daily staple. Kids LOVE glitter. Much to  my co-worker's chagrin this year, I used it as much as possible, just to see those kiddo's faces light up!
  After several trips to Michaels and Hobby Lobby this year, even after using coupons, the cost of glitter was really starting to add up, among with all of the other staples needed in a classroom. Newsflash: if you don't work in a school, perhaps you don't know this, they don't buy anything for you! The temptation to be stingy and refuse to spend money is tempting, but I am always a sucker for wanting to do fun things for the kids. With that said, I've spent the summer looking up ways to make things at home (such as my home made crayons) to help cut costs.
   Lucky for me, someone posted how to make your own glitter on Pinterest. If you work at school, this is a great resource full of ideas and activities of things to make at home or ways to be resourceful with what you have. Home made glitter requires two ingredients: salt and food coloring. It might sound silly, but it's the little things like this that make me so happy! So far I've made three different colors, orange, pink and purple. I have been storing the glitter in Ball jars and old spice jars.
    Here's some pics from my glitter making experience:
Necessary ingredients: food coloring and salt. Pre-Heat oven to 350  degrees. Bake glitter on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil for 10 minutes. 
Mix glitter in bowl with a small whisk.
Orange glitter in mason jar
Pink glitter in mason jar


      Next time you're thinking about buying glitter (some cost up to $10.00 a bottle), consider making it at home first. It's a great gift for new teachers, and you can customize the colors you want. 

  As a side note, my two Tanties follow my blog and took me out to celebrate my birthday this weekend at my favorite coffee shop, Le Grande Orange. Since they know I am really trying to live a "green" life, they decided to give me a birthday card that I could RE-USE! They are so clever!! I guess that's part of the reason I love them so much! 
Post-it note on the front
                                                                     
Post-it note on the inside!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fresh Crayons: Beginning of a New School Year

    There's something about a fresh box of crayons that always marked the beginning of a new school year for me. The smell, the bold and bright colors and the sharp tips ready to create! Due to my new daily obsession (which, to justify, has been very educational) with Pinterest , I have found a plethora of activities and crafts to try out for this upcoming school year.
    My most recent creative endeavor in the kitchen was a recycled crayons project. For years I have been holding on to a vintage tin from my childhood full of crayons. I sorted through it and pulled out all the old, broken crayons and began creating new crayons!
    Here's some pictures from my project...
       Before you get started peeling and chopping crayons, grab a baking sheet and choose what you want to bake your crayons in. I chose these silicone muffin/cupcake cups. Also, preheat your oven to 230 degrees.
         Grab a sturdy cutting board---you don't want something that will shift around while cutting--and a sharp knife. Start chopping!
                   Here's my first round for the oven: shades of red, orange and green. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. After they've baked, throw them in the fridge for a speedy cool-down.
                
                     The finished product! I am slightly in love with these and can't wait to make my next batch. Wondering if I'll be able to use them???
  If you are looking for green crafts and activities for around the house, I highly recommend Pinterest!                                                        

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Until I see you again...

 I'm back home after spending an amazing week in Utah with some pretty incredible friends. Before I resume my "green" living blogs, I had to say a final goodbye to a week of vacation and a week with friends that have become like family.
  In the past couple of years, I've said a lot of goodbyes. Goodbye to family in the military and goodbye to great friends (two May's in a row). Sure there's always the "hello's" and visits with these special people, but the goodbye's seem to come way too quick. I suppose I'm not good at goodbye's because I spent most of my life moving, so people were always saying goodbye to me. Now that I've grown up, married, and purchased a home, I seem to be doing a lot more of the goodbyes.
  As hard as it is to say goodbye, I'm learning how to be better at maintaining the special friendships and relationships. Friendships take work, especially long distance ones. I have to say, the work is definitely worth it. My husband and I have been blessed with friends and family that are scattered all over the U.S. As much as I wish that all these amazing people could all be living nearby, I appreciate all the trips and time we get to spend with our loved ones in their hometowns.
  Growing up and learning how to say goodbye has been a very valuable lesson. It's been an incredibly hard lesson as well. Military goodbyes are the worst for me (wondering if I'll ever be able to a conquer a drop off without tears at the airport), and I've found that the more my friends become like family, the harder these goodbyes become as well. To find the silver lining in yesterday's goodbyes, I told my husband how grateful I am that our friends moved to Utah, because now we have an excuse to visit such an incredibly beautiful state. Without their move, I doubt we'd be headed there anytime soon.
  Enjoy the precious moments with your loved ones and friends. Invest time into the special people in your life. Send a text, make a call, write an email. Show some love and never let your loved ones far away question how important they are to you. Don't let being "busy" keep you from holding onto lifelong relationships.
  So, instead of goodbye....."until I see you again"....
    
    

Friday, July 8, 2011

Utah: Exploring Nature...

Waking up to another day in Utah after a refreshing night of storms. There's nothing like waking up after a storm and seeing how green everything looks! We are so enjoying our time with our friends, and yesterday our friend Jason showed us some of Southern Utah's best.
  First, we headed out to Zion...



         These were just some of the pictures we took at this magnificent park. It's absolutely breathtaking and I found it hard to take in every view because there were so many! If you are headed out to Zion in the near future, keep in mind it's not really dog friendly. There is one trail near the entrance for biking walking, and running that permits dogs, otherwise they have to stay in the car.
              Next we headed to Navajo lake for a picnic...

   As you can see, our lab, Charlie, absolutely loved the stop at the lake. She is just getting into swimming and we've been working with playing fetch in the pool lately. This was her first lake experience and she rocked it!
        After the trip to Navajo Lake, with wet pups in tow, we headed on for some more site seeing before calling it a day...



We found this sign entertaining...who is really going to take a Vespa off those cliffs???
                   As you can see, Southern Utah is absolutely gorgeous! We also drove through a ski town, and I have to say, I think it's where I will be learning how to improve my skiing skills. Enjoy your Friday's everyone!!                  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Utah: Exploring the City...

Two days in Utah and I am loving the weather, small town charm and breathtaking sites and views. Yesterday I spent the day exploring the city around it's Main Street, visiting thrift shops, antique stores and a museum. I've always learned to make the most of every city I visit, so I made sure I explored as much as I could on my own yesterday while the guys did their thing off in the wilderness.
    Here's some pictures from some of my stops yesterday...
          I spent a while meandering up and down streets admiring the old houses with all of their charm. I love how charming this house was AND that there is an old school airstream in the driveway!
                Made a stop at a local museum....this is an original school room in an old cabin. Hard to think of working in a classroom like this! There was even a small stove in the back for the winter time to keep the building warm.
                        The museum's inside was full of old stagecoaches. I was so intrigued reading how much it cost to ride in these contraptions cross-country. For instance, this one was $600.00 for a trek across the U.S. Makes you appreciate a modern day transportation!
          I started my day at this consignment store. I was terribly impressed with it's inventory, but soon found an incredible antique store which made up for what the consignment/thrift stores were lacking.
                         While I meandered through town for the day, the guys had an awesome little adventure. Here's some pictures from their day...
                                                                                    
                    As you can see, a great first day for all! We are thoroughly enjoying our time in Utah, but more than the adventures and the great outdoors, we are loving being with our friends. Happy Summer to you...stay tuned for more adventures from the trip.          

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Vacation

   This week I'll be taking a break from my "green" living posts and will be blogging from the lovely state of Utah. I hope you all enjoyed your Fourth of July and stayed cool! My husband and I both have family members serving in the military, and I have to say, my outlook has completely changed on the 4th. While the 4th of July is a great American holiday, it's a day that is a reminder of so many sacrifices that have been and will be made so that we can enjoy the simple things like BBQ's and pool parties. If you have a family member in the military, or a close friend, I'm sure you understand how much your whole life is affected by their career. I am so very grateful for all that our men and women do for our country, and if you happen to be a member of our military and are reading this ---thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do!
   My military fam. couldn't be home this year ( although I'll say I'm just glad they are state-side this 4th), but my husband and I split the day between my family and some of our wonderful friends! Even Charlie, our lab mix was ready to celebrate.
                                    
               For our dinner festivities, I made these red, white and blue strawberries that I saw over at Dream Book Design. They melted a little, what can you expect with desert temps?!!! The white sauce is made out of 8 oz. of cream cheese mixed with one jar of marshmallow creme. I didn't bring one strawberry home-they were a hit!
                       Like I mentioned, I'll be blogging from Utah this week. My husband and I are visiting some pretty incredible friends that recently moved out here. First impressions: LOVE IT! I love that I've already seen snow on the mountains this morning and had to throw on a jacket to grab breakfast. In addition to the fabulous weather, there's some pretty incredible rock formations and mountain views as well.
        
                    These pictures were taken on our drive in---as you can see, there was even a storm rolling in! I hope you enjoy my Utah updates- it's time for me to get out and explore!          

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How to be Green for Babies...

   Lately, it seems friends everywhere are having babies. Somehow I have managed to bypass the "wedding phase" in friend's lives and have jaunted full-speed to their pregnancies. I recently attended a baby shower for a friend and found myself completely overwhelmed in the baby isles of Target. There were contraptions that I didn't even understand how to use. Clearly, I'm not in mommy mode yet. However, I do love spoiling my friends and their babies-to-be. How do we choose "green" gifts for our friends and give them what they need?
   All mommies need onesies. From what I've heard, these are a hot commodity with Baby blowing through them as their bodies grow in size and weight. I found a pack of Gerber white onesies and decided to personalize them. Over Christmas, I learned how to felt and have forgotten how much I enjoyed it. So, putting my felting skills to work, I started embellishing baby onesies. I love the completed look (even my husband was impressed). All natural. Cotton, felt and string. Nothing to irritate babies skin.
   I love the idea of giving your friends or family members a personalized baby gift, especially one that uses items you already have. (Don't even ask why I have fresh packs of Gerber onesies, never opened, at my house). This adventure has definitely inspired me to think of other "green" baby gifts I can give all my favorite mommies-to-be!
   Here's a peak at one of the onesies:
               This one is currently for sale in my Etsy shop: Thrifty Vintage Girl.  I take custom orders for different designs, colors and sizes.
   Challenge yourself to make a "green" gift for the next wedding or baby shower you attend. I find that my most favorite gifts are vintage or homemade.