Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poofed Wall Art

Here's a little something for everyone- a great looking project involving just paper, scissors, tape and glue. The only abilities required are tracing and cutting.

I'm participating in the Make-Over Open House at Sanctuary Arts at Home and in DIY day at A Soft Place to Land.

My girls' room has been in need of some finishing touches in the way of artwork. Now, I am greatful for the talents the Lord decided to bestow upon me, but when it came to artistic talent, my husband got all of it in this duo (and the gardening touch, and the map gene, but I digress). Much beyond a stick figure and I'm no good to anybody.

One night as I was reading "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" to Jellybean for the eleventyseventh time I had a flashback to this post about silhouettes and realized that I could do this:

I just printed out the photos I wanted to use and then used a pen to outline their hair, face-shape, dresses... I taped scrapbook paper to the back... and then I started cutting...

and cutting...

and I used a combination of gluestick and scotch tape to put it all together...


then I mounted it on another piece of scrapbook paper...

pulled out the frames I got at goodwill...

added some ribbon...


And because I've really been looking for some pretty religious art for their room...

I printed out this coloring page...

to make this:

and I printed out this image I found online...

to make this:

Pretty cool, huh?


Monday, August 24, 2009

Bargain Alert!!

I just stepped out to go to Sam's Club for some groceries and found this stool (look under the table) for $20.87!

I know it used to be around $50 and I think it was $70 before that. If you've been looking for a ceramic garden stool, you know $50 is a bargain. I've been looking for one on CL for months and haven't found a single one. Oh, and it also came in a mossy green.

BTW- what do you think about this mirror? It was a hand-me-down that I've had for a while, but I'm thinking maybe it's a bit too ornate here. It was a brighter gold that I toned down with this trick from CentsationalGirl. I'm thinking of using the same technique on the bamboo mirror and hanging it here instead.

Then I found these rush storage cubes for $14.39 (they don't seem to be available online) and bought two. They're a good size and they are sturdy. I haven't totally made up my mind about where they're going but I have a few ideas...

My store only had a few of each left so if you're interested you should act fast!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thrifty Treasures- Midnight Madness!

No, this kind of midnight madness has nothing to do with pumpkins and glass slippers (although it does involve a pretty fab pair of ballet flats!). I'm talking midnight madness at goodwill, y'all!! Woot!!

I recently discovered that my local goodwill has a "midnight madness" sale once a month and I went last Thursday night. They were offering everything in the store at 50% off from 8pm til midnight. It was NUTS!!

I figured if I got there at 7:45 I'd have 15 minutes to shop around and then I could pay after 8:00. The only problem with my little plan was that the sale was so popular that when I pulled up to the building I couldn't find a parking space! When I made it inside there was already a line of people, merchandise in hand, waiting to pay- and the line wrapped around the entire inside of the store. There were so many bodies packed in there that the temperature was warmer (and muggier- gross.) inside than outside.

I was not deterred.

I was a little bummed beacause as I looked around I could see that a few of the people in line had some great finds. Finds that I would have chosen if I had arrived early enough to get them first. Like the beautiful little sideboard one lady scored for $25 or the i've-been-looking-for-one-of-those-for-six-months folding tray-top serving table another lucky shopper walked away with for $8 or the drop dead gorgeous blanc de chine lamp another woman got for $9!!! ACK!!!
I'm soooo camping out all day next time!!

I did manage to find a few things.

Also, this morning was our annual neighborhood yard sale. I nearly missed it because my wonderful hubby got up with the kids and let me sleep in! Which -I'm sort of embarrased to tell you- I took advantage of until nearly 11:30!! I did find a few things there as well.

I'm linking in to the Thrifty Treasures Party with Rhoda at Southern Hospitality.

Here's my loot:

  1. Gold bamboo motif mirror (It's getting a paint job soon- check back for details)- GW- $9

  2. Wooden doll cradle (getting a decoupage treatment)- GW- $2

  3. Silver-plate tray (possible victim #3, haven't decided yet)- GW- $1

  4. White butter keeper crock thingie- GW- $1

  5. Vintage Richard Scarry Storybook- Yardsale- 50 cents

  6. VHS tapes- Charlotte's Web, Peter Pan, The Rescuers- Yardsale-$1 each

  7. Booster Seat (did not come with the accoutrements but Jellybean decided she had to feed bunny as soon as she saw it)- Yardsale- $5

  8. Green child's chair (I don't know anyone named "Brady" so it's getting a paint and/or decoupage treatment soon)- Yardsale- $5

  9. Last, but not least, Brand spankin' new bronze nine west flats- Yardsale- $5

BTW-I thought 5 bucks for the chair and the booster was a little steep for yardsale pricing, but I didn't dicker because these people are my neighbors and I didn't want to be that-cheap-lady-from-the-yardsale!

And the moral of this tale is, of course, the early bird gets the worm, but who wants a nasty old worm when you have the option of sleeping til noon?!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Doin' the Fancy Pants Dance...

I can't believe it. I checked my e-mail after dinner tonight and found this:

Amanda at Serenity Now gave me the fancy pants award!!

Hee-hee! I am so completely tickled. My First award!! Do I get to make a speech?!! A-hem. I would like to thank all of the little people ..... just kidding. Seriously, more important than this (very flattering) award, I am so pleased to have "met" such a lovely, genuine person in bloggyland. Amanda, I would so love to get to know you better!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Price My Space

First off- Seriously, Mom, look away! I'm about to tell the whole world how cheap I am!

Okay, today I'm participating in the Price My Space Party at Nesting Place.

Here's my living room. I wrote about it in two of my last three posts. It's not "done" yet (I don't think it ever will be, where's the fun once it's done?) but I'll price what I've done so far.

  1. Vintage Robert Furber Gardiner prints. Craigslist, $15 for all three. I've repainted the frames and mattes twice, but I'm still not sure about them. Post to come...
  2. Set of four butterfly plates, $5 at a flea market near my in-laws in Lebanon, PA.
  3. Window treatment, I posted about it here $25
  4. White Chinese Chippendale chairs, hand-me-downs from my mom (thanks, mom!) free!
  5. Little flip-top table between chairs, CL, $20
  6. Huge Karastan Rug, CL, $50
  7. Coffee Table, CL, $20. It's constantly covered in little fingerprints and I want to protect it so I'm thinking of making a removable upholstered top for it. Post to come...
  8. Sofa, CL, free! Homemade slipcover, $20 in fabric. Post Here
  9. Monogrammed blue/olive animal print bolster pillow- I bought a box of fabric scraps froma "real" designer on CL for $10. There were some awesome pieces in there, including the fabric for the bolsters, the little pillows on the chairs and lots more to come...I monogrammed the bolsters on my embroidery machine.
  10. Sofa, purchased on CL for $200. Posted about it here
  11. ??? I have no idea why I put two numbers on one sofa?
  12. Library table, CL, $40
  13. Pair of lamps. I bought these at Great Finds and Design, an awesome local furniture consignment store/design group (so they only consign great pieces) for $37 each. That included a shade, but I replaced it with these shades which I purchased at Target for $19 each. I think I got the shape right, but they're blending in with the wall, so I have plans for them, coming soon...
  14. Demilune table, CL, $50
  15. Little white lamp, CL, $5. I added the shade for $9 and trimmed it out.

This picture is awful, but for pricing purposed it'll do...
  1. Lamp, TJMaxx on clearance $29
  2. Wingchair, hand-me-down from my mom's friend (Thanks, Carol!) I slip covered it with this pretty fabric I got for $3/yard (My Joann's is huge and they frequently have 50% off the home dec clearance fabrics!). Post to come...
  3. Oh, this one might be my favorite. It's hard to see all the pretty details in this pic, but she has the prettiest fretwork, sigh. I got her for $100 on CL. I attempted to line the inside with wrapping paper and it did not work out so well. The sheen of the paper makes the color look much brighter than it is, and the sheen also makes every little bump and ripple show. I'm thinking I'll paint, wallpaper or line with fabric instead. Also, I think I have too much going on up top. What do you think? Post to come...
  4. Same Library Table as in #12 above.

That's it! Let's see, that comes to a grand total of (drumroll.....)


Woo-hoo! Most people spend more than that for one sofa!

Man, I love craigslist.


Monday, August 17, 2009

A Tale of Two Sofas...

Before I begin this post I need to write a little disclaimer to my mom. Mom, I know how you hate it when I brag about how little I spend on things, so you may want to avert your eyes now!

I seriously love craigslist. If I did have a fairy godmother, her name would be craig.

A few months ago I was beyond thrilled to find this sofa on CL. Hello, lovely! I bought it for $200, which is a big splurge for me (that's the most I've spent on any piece of furniture in my house with the exception of my bedroom furniture and the couch in my basement, which were both purchased before I was married)

I love everything about it. The shape, the velvety butter upholstery, the pretty bolster pillows, the down-filled cushion...

It's about 10 years old, but it just sat in the formal living room of the previous owner, so it's still in really good condition. I recently had it professionally cleaned which did get out the few minor spots it had.

I was super excited to come across this article which places my sofa in the $5K price range! I can tell you it's definitely well made. The frame is so heavy that when I tried to lift one end of it to adjust it a little, I couldn't do it.

This is why I love CL. I would probably never be able to afford a piece like this new, and if I ever did scrape together the money, there are too many other more important things that my family should be using that money for.

As much as I LOVE decorating, when it comes down to it, this is just material stuff. There are much more important things.

However, for $200 I got a piece that I sigh over every time I walk by. And I don't have to feel guilty about what I sacrificed to have it.

Here's the photo from the O. Henry House website:

I knew I was in good company when I spotted the same sofa here:

Suzanne Rheinstein

Wanna see my favorite part?
Check it out from the side!
How gorgeous are the arms?! I think this arm style is called a Charles of London arm, or a London arm or an English arm, but basically it's a small, low rolled arm that continues down the front.

Now on to sofa number two.

Would you believe that exactly one week later I got this sofa on craigslist for free!!!
Windsor Smith

Okay, I didn't really get that sofa for free, but I did get this one for free and I knew I could make it resemble the one above after making a slipcover for her to cover up the slashes in her cushions.

It's okay, sweetie, nobody's perfect. You just need a little makeover.
Yes, I'm talking to my sofa. Get over it.

It's a Lee Industries sofa that was sold at Crate and Barrel for around $2000, I think. Here's a pic on the Lee Industries website:

Oh, and my homegirl Jenny of Little Green Notebook (okay, so she doesn't exactly know she's my homegirl yet, but I seriously love her blog. She's got mad style) has the same sofa in the two cushion style.

You can read what she has to say about it here.
Here's a pic of my same sofa in a slipcover made especially for it by Lee industries. I priced out what it would cost and it was about $1500 just for the slipcover!

That was when I decided to try making a slipcover myself. Armed with a $20 Joann's giftcard and a 40% off coupon, I bought 8 yards of beige linen at $7.99 per yard for a total of just under $20.
Here's what I came up with:

I tried to copy the Lee industries slipcover, except I decided to save some money by doing it in one piece instead of covering the cushions individually. I used less yardage this way. At some point in the future I may make the individual cushion covers in the same fabric, but I'm satisfied with it for now.
I decided to do bigger boxpleats and I still wanted the pretty feet to show so I started the pleats right under the cushion line.
And I didn't want to lose my favorite part, the arm, so I piped out the pretty curve on the side:
Now I'm a little torn. I really don't know which I like better. I never intended to have two sofas in this room, and I'm definitely aware that this is probably one sofa too many in this space, but I'm not ready to part with either of them. Plus, it's really nice to have the extra seating.
What do you think?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some Gowns For the Ball...

Okay, so I know this is supposed to be a home dec blog, but I'm posting some reviews for patternreview.com and I need to post the photos somewhere, so here they shall be.

Here are my little sweeties on Easter morning:

The coats are McCall's M5739 view A, the hats are McCall's M4478 view C

The dresses are McCall's M5792 view D

And of course I couldn't forget Bitty Baby. Her dress is Butterick B5303 view A (but I altered the sleeve to look more like my girls' dresses)

Oh, and I made Jellybean this little bag from this free printable pattern. I just reduced the size of the pattern before printing it out to make it a good size for her.

And here's a little knit dress I made recently for myself. I am wearing a cami under it but the lighting is kinda bright so it's hard to tell in this pic.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Simple Tailored Valances

Here's a little window valance I poofed up for my living room. I did sew and line them, but I think it would be easy to do them as a "mistreatment"* (if you're not familiar with that term then get thee to Nesting Place and do some reading up 'cus you're missing out, sister!)

I was inspired by these valances shown in the Dec. '08 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. This room was designed by Rozlyn Cmiel of Cobalt Interiors. Sorry the pic isn't great, it's been a pretty well-loved magazine page!

I don't know what it is about these valances for me, they just look so sweet and pretty without being too fussy. I guess I'm just a sucker for a pleat. I also like that they sort of have the shape of a tie up shade, but without the tie.

Anywhoo... on to the how-to:

The basic construction is super easy.

I bought two yards of this striped silk taffeta fabric at Joann's for $12/yard. I usually try to spend less than that for fabric, but since I only needed 2 yards and the colors were so perfect I splurged. Isn't it lovely? It has such a lovely sheen and crispness that holds the shape nicely. You definitely want a fabric with a little body for these to turn out right, anything too flimsy won't look the same.

  1. I cut the length in half which left me with two rectangular pieces of fabric that were each 54" wide (the length of the bolt) and 1 yard long.

  2. For the lining I cut two more pieces in the exact same dimensions from an old sheet.

  3. Line up each silk piece with a lining piece, right sides facing each other (I didn't pin them together, but if you're new at sewing and don't trust yourself to hold the pieces together neatly while you sew, pinning is probably a good idea)

  4. Each fabric/lining piece will be hung lengthwise. Stitch around three sides of each fabric/lining piece leaving the long top side open.

  5. Turn each rectangle inside out and press around the sides. Now you have two lined pieces that are open on top.

  6. Stitch across the open top of each piece.

*If you wanted to skip the sewing and do these as a mistreatment you could just buy twice as much fabric, use a 2 yd length on each window, press in half and inch or so on the sides, then double the length up in half, which encloses the bottom and sort of self-lines the valance. Make sense? Cost was the main factor keeping me from just doing it this way myself.

Now on to hanging them...

Here's a photo of the backside. I probably shoulda taken some pics before I hung these, but I'm way to scatterbrained for that...

I could have done this the "right" way and attached my fabric to a cut-to-size piece of wood and affixed that to the wall, but that just seemed like a lot of work to me.

I used a plain old cheapo white curtain rod/bar thingie that I already had lying around in my basement. You know, like this jobbie.

It looks like I hung two, but it's actually just one long bar.

I attached it to the wall a bit higher than the window (I love to hang my rods as high as the next girl, but be careful here, you have to make sure that when you fold up the bottom of the valnce, you won't expose the top of your window) and just slightly wider than my window.

After screwing the little brackety thingies (sorry about all my technical terms...) to the wall and making sure my bar was level-ish and mostly where I wanted it to be, I put a piece of tap over the spot where the two pieces of the bar slide open to hold it at the right size- make sense?

Then I took the bar down from the brackety thingies to attach the fabric.

Here's where the "mistreatment" part comes in. The nester's gonna love this... No, your eyes haven't decieved you. That silverish color you spy in the photo above is in fact duct tape. Yup, that's right, my pretty silk window treatments are duct taped to a cheapo curtain rod and they still look pretty. Thank you very much! Ha!!

Oh, and one more thing, the cute little fold-up part at the bottom is held in place with- get this- one straight pin on each side hidden inside the pleat. HA-HA!!

In case anyone's wondering, these have been in place in my home for several months with my sweet little kiddos running around and touching the blinds and they're still perfectly secure.

If you still care to know the sordid details, read on.

  1. Make a little mark smack-dab in the middle of the curtain rod.

  2. Grab one lined panel and a piece of duct tape.

  3. Take the top left corner of one panel, fold it over the top of the left side of the bar and tape it in place.

  4. Take the top right corner of the same panel. Check the depth of your curtain rod (you know, the lenth of the bent-back side part of the bar). Fold back the right side of your panel roughly that amount and tape it to itself. Then fold that part over the top of the bar lining up with the center mark on your curtain rod and tape. Now both top corners of the panel are attached to the left half of the bar.

  5. Find the mid point on the bar between the two corners of fabric (one quarter of the way across the bar). Take the top center of the panel up and over the bar and tape at that point.

  6. Now for the cutie little pleats. Smooth the panel in from the sides roughly 6" or so on each side and tape to the bar. There's really no rhyme or reason here, just decided what you like and be consistent on both sides.

  7. Now take the last unfastened portion on either side of the center, pull it back toward the sides (over the part that you already taped roughly 6" in) and tape to the bar. Now everything should be pretty much in place on the bar. Add a little more tape for security.

  8. Mirror steps 2-7 on the right side of the bar.

Now for the bottom:

  1. Fold up the bottom hem like an accordion. Mine have 5 folds about 2 1/2-3" wide.

  2. Use one straight pin hidden in each side pleat to pin the folds in place.

  3. Hang the rod back on the brackets.

  4. Froof as you see fit.

Wow, that explanation was waaaaay longer than I thought it would be and it still seems a bit unclear. If I've confused the heck out of you please drop me a line and I'll take my valance down and take more pics.


Monday, August 10, 2009

My Very First Post

So you've probably guessed by my blog title that I enjoy a good cinderella story. Okay, that's putting it mildly. The truth is that I've been fascinated with the idea of Cinderella since I first viewed the disney version on the big screen when I was five. I think it was the first movie I saw in the theatre and I remember being awetruck with the beauty of the backdrops.

Okay, I know it's a cartoon, but I loved the Chateau that Cinderella lived in. I loved the beautiful formal spaces with marble tiled floors, large-scale wallpaper, rich fabrics, high celings, swooping banisters, curvy furniture pieces.

I was equally entranced with the idea of Cinderella's tower bedroom. Hidden away from the rest of the house, the rest of the world. Sparsely furnished with cast-off furniture and well-worn bedding it was her own secret world where she was completely free to be herself, to dare to dream that her life could be so much more.

Almost a year ago, I was absolutely tickled pink to show the movie to my little girl. She loved it, of course, and instantly decided she had to be Cinderella for halloween. I was all to happy to oblige. She loved this costume so much that it became her daily uniform. She introduced herself as "Princess Cinderella" to people in the grocery store.

The costume came with a magic wand, which is funny because Cinderella never picks up a magic wand in the story, the fairy godmother does. She liked the idea of carrying it around, but at some point she asked me how it worked. I picked up the "magic" wand, pointed it at her and proclaimed, "POOF! You're cute!... Hey, it worked!" She giggled hysterically and then began "poofing" various things in the house, the cat, her baby sister, her dolls... all the while imagining her magical transformations.

Now we use the term "poofing" to describe anything that has been improved upon:
"Mommy, your hair looks pretty today." "Thanks, I poofed it" (she says while mimmicking a magic wand to her head)
"This dinner is yummy!" "Thanks, I poofed it"
"Whoa, what a mess, somebody really needs to poof this kitchen"

You get the idea.

I'm extremely blessed to have a wonderful husband who works really hard so that we can live in a lovely home and I can stay home with our beautiful little daughters. I'm all too happy to do my part in stretching those hard-earned dollars by "poofing" things for our home rather than spending a fortune on new furnishings. I love transforming things I already own, items I got for free or nearly free to change my home into the magical place I've envisioned.

Most of us don't have endless means to create the homes of our dreams, nor do we have fairy godmothers, hired or otherwise to do it for us. But, it is my firm belief that with a little faith in oneself, some creativity, and some elbow grease anyone can make great improvements in their surroundings without spending much. It is my goal with this blog to show you what inspires me, and to share with you all of my "poofings" for better or worse, to inspire you to be your own fairy godmother!


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