Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Project Review - Frugal Bedroom Makeover

I'm on a roll folks! I realize this is my 4th (yes 4th!) post of the day, but all of my house work is done, my sweet baby is napping, and I have so many ideas and projects I've been wanting to share that I'm just going to keep on going until duty calls me elsewhere! 

This is the only "before" picture of her room I could find!  It was taken last May when we first moved in.  As you can see, the room is empty and bare!

My goal was to decorate her room on a budget of $300.  This INCLUDED having to buy the furniture, bedding, and accessories.  ( I know *GASP GASP* but it CAN be done!) ;) 

I had originally found a green and white floral sham and quilt that I was going to use in the room, but ended up returning it to the store when my mother-in-law gave me a roll (about 4 yards worth) of pink and white stripped fabric that she had left over from years ago when my sister-in-law was a little girl.  It is sweet, soft, and feminine and least of all...free! ;)

We found a white bedspread at TJ Maxx for $20.  I love using white.  It is so versatile and neutral and makes it super easy to change the look later down the road.  Using the pink and white stripe fabric, I made her a bedskirt and sham for the bed.  I also made a cute little turtle throw pillow from scrap fabric from the sewing room. 

 The headboard was made using this tutorial I found on the BHG website.  I plan on having her monogram added to the top, but haven't done so yet.   The total cost for the headboard supplies was around $30.  

Remember this tutorial that I shared earlier this month on how to turn your mini blinds into functional shades? Well I tried it out in Anna Cate's room and guess what?!? It IS easy to do, they DO work fabulously, and it turned out to be a SUPER INEXPENSIVE solution for the time being!  On that project we spent a whopping $0 because the blinds were already up in her room and the fabric was free.

I recovered an existing lampshade that we already had in a pink and white polka dot fabric and her little rug we already had from the nursery in our old house.  The little patch work quilt at the foot of her bed was something else I kept from her nursery.  

The room still has a ways to go until it is finished.  Now its time to focus on all of the fun little details.  I need to decide on a paint color for the walls.  I also have some fun ideas (thanks to the new Pottery Barn Kids catalog) for projects to add some accessories and artwork, but it is starting to all come together now that the basics have been taken care of!    


Recovering a Lampshade Tutorial

This is a project I've been meaning to share for awhile now, but haven't had the time to sit down and write up the tutorial.  I recovered my first lamp shade two years ago while decorating my daughter's nursery.  I found a great deal on a floor lamp at TJ Maxx, but the fabric on the shade did not match the decor in the nursery.  Out of necessity, I learned how EASY it is to customize a shade that will look like you bought it from a pricey designer store! 

I was in one of my favorite furniture stores last year with my mom and about fell on the floor when I saw a lampshade for sale for $150 (!!!!) that was covered in some Amy Butler fabric I had sitting in my sewing room!   I'm sorry for whoever bought that lamp!  You can create the exact same thing for under $20 (fabric included) if you know where to look for your shade. 

I've found the best places to find them cheap are at thrift stores like Goodwill or His House.  People toss out old lamp shades all of the time and you can find some really interesting  shapes that look like they've come straight from a designer magazine when recovered with the right fabric!  Ask around and see if any of your family or friends have extras sitting in their attic they no longer need or want.  If all else fails, Target sells a basic white square shade for around $6 that can clip onto any lamp base.

First lampshade I recovered for Anna Cate's nursery

This one was given to me by my friend's mom who bought a lamp from TJMaxx but didn't like the original fabric on the shade.  I love the unique shape of this one!

Let's Get Started!

 Materials Needed:
-Fabric of your Choice 
-No Sew Fabric Glue
-Heat N Bond Hem Tape
-Clothespins or Paper clips

Step 1:  Using a sheet of the newspaper, trace one of the sides of the shade to create a pattern.  Depending on how many sides your shade has (most have 4 or 6), use this paper pattern to cut out the correct number you will need from your fabric.

Now measure the length (top to bottom of shade) of one of the sides.  Cut appropriate number of strips you will need to cover the edges of your lamp.  I usually cut my strips about 1 1/4 inches wide, but you can make them wider if you so desire. 

You will also need a strip of fabric for the top and bottom circumference of the shade. 

Step 2:  Take each strip of fabric and lay it out flat.  Now cut a piece of the Heat N Bond Hem tape that is the same length as your strip of fabric.  Lay the hem tape down the center of the strip and iron in both sides so that they meet.  As you iron, the hem tape will glue the fabric together to form a finished edging for the lamp.  Repeat this step until all of your strips have been ironed together. 

Step 3:  Now take your fabric glue and apply around all 4 edges of one of the sides of the lamp.  Carefully place one of your pre-cut fabric pieces over the face of the shade and smooth to make sure there are no wrinkles.   Repeat for all sides of the lamp.  (*Please note that I do not spread glue over the entire side of the shade.  Just glueing the edges will hold the fabric secure, making it easy to take apart if you ever wish to recover the shade in the future).

Step 4:  Now take the fabric strips you just ironed and glue them to each corner of the shade.  This strip of fabric should cover over the seams where your fabric is glued to give it a finished edge.  

Step 5:  Almost finished!  All you have to do now is glue the strips of fabric around the top and bottom of the lamp to completely finish off all of the raw edges.  I usually will fasten paper clips to the edges while the glue dries to ensure that it is securely fastened to the shade. 

Step 6: Now enjoy using your new lampshade! :) 

Free Pattern Roundup

In my search for ideas to make some cute spring clothes for Anna Cate this year, I've come across some fun and easy tutorials that I thought I'd share in case anybody else wanted to put them to good use!

Project Time:  About an Hour
Total Cost:  Under $10
 (could be much less depending on your fabric selection!)

Project Time:  20 minutes
Total Cost:  Less than $3.00
(I was in a hurry when I made this pink belt because I made it out of the necessity to hold her little pants up!  I just used fabric I already had on hand from the dolls; however,  if you had the time, you could make the cutest patchwork belt for children or adults using this pattern!  Think "Vineyard Vines" catalog) 

Project Time:  Around 30 minutes
Total Cost:  Under $5.00 
(Again, it all depends on how much you want to spend on your fabric.  I found this in a remnant bin at Hobby Lobby for $1.00)

(Photo courtesy of Jump Up and Down's blog) 
I have not tried this project yet, but it looks simple enough and oh so cute!

(Photo Courtesy of Grand Revival's Design Blog)
Another project that I'm itching to try...though she may be a bit young this year to wear this style skirt.

(Photo Courtesy of V and Co's Blog)
I know, I know...another skirt tutorial! But how can you resist when they are so cute and easy!

Ok, this pattern isn't free.  Sorry! :(

I've looked and looked online for a pattern for Baby Maryjane's but haven't been able to find one.  I made these shoes from a pattern I purchased from an esty shop, Precious Patterns, for $3.00.  However, they only took about 30 minutes to make and the pattern is really easy to follow!  (they look way harder to make than they actually are)  I've already made several pair for baby shower gifts.  Because I've been so pleased with the pattern, I thought I'd pass along the info!

Sweet Bunny Dress

I had to take a break the other night from smocking Anna Cate's Easter dress to work on a quick, fun Easter project.  I'd much rather work on a little project that can be completed in an hour instead of one that takes night after night of my attention!  

Using the Simplicity A line dress pattern (best $3.50 I've spent at Wal-Mart!) I fashioned this little bunny dress for her to wear around for spring.  Instead of taking the time to add the buttons and button holes, I just made the shoulder straps a bit longer so that they can tie.  Easy fast fix that looks adorable!  She can wear this style dress with a little white top or later, when the weather warms up, by itself as a sundress. It turned out so cute and was so easy that I'm already looking for more fabric to sew up some other sundresses for her to wear this summer.   

It's a good thing my grandmother doesn't read this blog because she'd have me skinned alive if she saw Anna Cate outside barefooted before May 1st!  Funny that has always been one of her strict rules. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Nursing Cover Tutorial

photo courtesy of the Bebe Au Lait website

I wanted to share this super easy tutorial I found online for making your own nursing cover.  This project took a total of 45 minutes to complete!   I made one last week for a friend who is having a baby and I'm planning on making myself one too.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it before the baby shower, but the finished product looks just like the "Hooter Hiders" they sell in upscale boutiques.  

**FYI - The tutorial calls for 1/2 yard of Corset Boning, which I was able to find at Hancock Fabrics for 99 cents a yard.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Betting on a Boy

No, not really! :)  You would just think that is what we are having if you were to see the nursery right now.  

Everybody else seems to think this sweet little baby is going to be a boy, but I don't have any strong feelings either way.  At first, I strongly felt it was a boy, but now that I'm working on the nursery, I feel more like it is a girl (but maybe that is just because the nursery is BLUE!)  With Anna Cate we were both pretty convinced that she was a girl, so this next one will truly be a surprise either way.

I decided to just use a soft whitish blue paint "Sweet Slumber" that we had left over from painting a bathroom in our old house.  It matched the rocker and is very soft and soothing. Then, I found a  cute polka dotted sheet set at TJ Maxx for $30.  After MUCH deliberation, I decided that no, it doesn't look too "boyish" and the polka dots could work if this baby is a girl.  Right, right?? (At least this is what I'm telling myself!)   

I made a crib bumper slipcover for Anna Cate's old bumper from the flat sheet and Will's mom found the Pottery Barn curtains for me at the outlet on sale for $2.50!!!  

The dust ruffle is just a pair of curtain panels (blue & white stripe) that I made for AC's nursery that match the rocker.  I put them up this weekend because I ran out of time to sew something before a shower that I had at our house on Saturday and this at least helped to give it a more finished look.  However, I'm a perfectionist and it bothers me that the blues don't perfectly match! 

I've decided if the baby is a girl, I'll hang the letters of her name over the crib with white ribbon.  Maybe all of the bows will give it more of a girly look. :)  If it is a boy, I have several cute ideas (involving elephants, giraffes, and lions) for artwork that will hang over the crib.  

The room is FAR from being ready, but at least I'm making progress.

Fancy Washing Gloves

Several years ago, I made some fun gloves for the girls in my Bible Study.  It was a group of newly married ladies and our teacher was encouraging us to find joy in our work at home (washing dishes, folding laundry, dusting, etc.)  I made a pair for each girl so they could have a little more fun while standing over those dirty dishes at the kitchen sink! :)

I had totally forgotten about them until one of my friends who was in the Bible study requested several pair for some wedding gift baskets she was putting together.  The first ones I made had sequins dangling from the ribbon, but she requested some fabric flowers instead and they turned out SO CUTE!  I wanted to share this idea because it would make a darling gift (birthday, Mother's Day, wedding, shower, etc) for almost any lady!  You just sew the ribbon around the base of the glove and then make two fabric flowers to attach to each one.  

* I used the white Mr. Clean brand gloves that are lined with a soft flannel.  They hold up much longer than the regular yellow kind and the soft inside makes them feel more plush! I can usually find them in Wal-Mart.

**You may experience some trouble sewing the ribbon to the glove with a sewing machine.  I had to try several times to get the machine to stitch the ribbon without tearing the glove.  You may choose to hand-stitch the ribbon instead.  

Friday, March 6, 2009


I wanted to share this special doll because she is truly one of a kind and has such a sweet story behind her creation. 

 Her name is "Ruthie" and she is a very special present for Gracie, who's 3rd birthday is later this month.  Gracie's mom, Heather, contacted me about making her because her own mother passed away 3 years ago while Heather was pregnant with Gracie.  She wanted her daughter  to have a special keepsake of her grandmother so she mailed me some of her mom's old clothes to use to make a doll.   Gracie requested that she have black eyes, light pink lips, and a pink bow.  She also wanted her to be named "Ruthie."  She turned out so precious that it was hard for me to let her go!  I hope Gracie will love her for years to come. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Shades From Mini Blinds

Just thought I'd share this tutorial that I found on a decorating blog, Little Green Notebook, that teaches you how to turn ordinary mini blinds into beautiful & functional shades.  No sewing involved!!  I can not wait to try this out for our kitchen! 

 For months I've been thinking about what to use as window treatments.  I don't like blinds, nor do I like traditional curtains, but this just may be exactly what we need.  Thank goodness I haven't thrown out the blinds I took down in AC's room and the nursery.  I have all of the materials... if I could only find the time!  


Amazing Frugal Makeover

This makeover was just too amazing and inspiring not to share!! One of my favorite blogs to check everyday is Resolved 2 Worship.  This amazing mom of 6 (soon to be 7!) is so creative and inspiring that she never ceases to impress me with all of her energy and just her overall outlook on life.  

Her family recently had to move into a rental home and they were unable to find a landlord who would rent to a family with that many small children.  Their only option was to make their home in a commercial building.  Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she has beautifully TRANSFORMED the building into a lovely home for her family only using the resources she has available.  And I thought I was a frugal decorator!!  You have to check out her blog for yourself to see the results she has achieved just using what she already had and combining it with "side of the road" finds.   

Just a few of the "before" and "after" shots"





Sweet Sarah Kate

I have a mini baby shower this evening for one of the girls in our Bunco group.  She is having her first baby, Sarah Kate, in April so we are throwing her a surprise shower tonight - fun fun fun!

How adorable did this little onsie and burp set turn out?!? I just love it and wish I was going to be the one opening it tonight. :)  This is what I really miss since we always wait to find out what we are having... all of the cute boy or girl gifts.  I'll just have to enjoy making the cute stuff for others until I know what we are having. 

Not that I'm complaining because it is all worth the wait in the end.  I can think of no greater rush than being in the delivery room and hearing the doctor announce, "Congratulations!  It's a ...!"  Ohhhh I get goosebumps thinking we get to do it all over again in just a few months!