My New House… Sort of

I wanted to do a little tour of my house since I haven’t yet, even though we moved in a little over a year ago. It was built in 1956, and only had one previous owner they paid $11,000 for it in 1957. Most of these pictures are from the first time we saw it after buying (the old pictures of the house are from the owners daughter who was nice enough to bring them to closing) here is the front:

House FrontI’m not sure what year this was taken but those bushes look tiny:

Old House Front

This is what you saw walking in:

HalfwallThe other side of the half wall has these metal planter box inserts (check out the pale pink carpet):

Planters

Here is the front room (after many coats of primer) looking out on the street:Front Room fix

This is the front room as the sellers daughter remembers it, got to love those curtains huh?Old Living Room

This is the kitchen as it was when we first saw it… a tad cramped:

Kitchen BeforeHere is another view of it, with plenty more faux brick:

Inside KitchenHere it is back in 1957:

Old Kitchen

The backyard:

BackyardAnd me in the backyard (with our jute rug drying in the sunlight, and basset hound making trouble):

Me BackyardThere is plenty of work to do (even a year later), but I loved it so much as is there is no where to go but up.

Scarf Storage Wall

I have tons of scarves and it’s always been hard storing them effectively. Folding results in creases and having them out of sight means I never remember to wear one anyway. For the past couple of years I have had them on my letterpress jewelry trayScarve OldBut the longer they hung on the hooks the more wrinkled they got. When I’m about to leave and decide to throw a scarf on there is no chance I’m going to take the time to steam the one I wanted. So on the empty wall of my project/dressing room I decided to make a hanging scarf storage system. Here is the wall before:

Scarve 1 fixedI bought wooden dowels and interesting drawer pulls from Hobby Lobby and large eyelets from Home Depot:

Scarves 2 fixedI didn’t like how shiny the eyelets were so I gave them a light sanding and threw them into a solution of rust wood stain (that I had made for a different project). I used this recipe from The Modern DIY Life. After 24 hours here is how they looked:

Scarves 4 fixed

I also used some left over wood stain on the wooden dowels, and drilled into the ends so my knobs would be easy to screw in. To put the dowels up I had to screw a knob into one side slide the dowel through the eyelet and then screw the matching knob into the other side. I think if I was going to do it again I would have picked all the same knobs instead of a different set for each dowel. I think it looks kinda messy, but here it is all set up without scarves:

Scarves 6 fixedI arranged my scarf collection on them, which took by far the longest time since I kept changing their positions.

Scarves 9 fixedI have had it up for months now, and it really is a great way to store them. They stay ready to wear and in sight so I remember all the ones I have. I ended up moving the bottom dowel up to the top so the whole thing is taller: Scarve complete fixed

Which I did mostly to give the Zantedeschia aethiopica or Calla Lily my grandparents gave me more room.

Calla lilly fixed

Brass Light Fixture Terrarium

Not so long ago I bought a Selaginella Emmeliana, even though I knew they were hard to care for. Here is a picture of one, looking deceptively low maintenance.

He lived in my bathroom where he would get plenty of humidity, and for a few weeks he looked fantastic. Then all the edges of those lush fronds began to turn brown and my research lead me to believe that he required even more humidity than I was providing. Which began my search for terrariums. Terrariums have been super popular in home decor lately. I love these geometric ones from Restoration Hardware:

Faceted Glass Terrarium

After some searching I found this post from Sugar Sugar House in which they created a terrarium out of an old brass light fixture. I went to a few local thrift stores and was lucky enough to find this one the same day:

Brass 1 fixed

At $30, I think it’s high on the list of most expensive things I’ve ever bought at a thrift store. I took it home and began to dismantle all the actual light fixture parts. Here are all the parts I didn’t end up using (for this project).

Brass 3 fixed

The top finial pieces weren’t attached to each other so I used E6000 to glue them together. I used tin snips to cut a hole in the top of the brass so you can open the terrarium for misting and the finial closes it back up. Here is the finial spray painted:

Brass 2 fixed

I cleaned the brass and used painters tape to protect the glass. I had a picture of this but managed to delete it somehow along with the pictures of spray painting it. Oh well, close your eyes and imagine what spray painting looks like and:

Brass Done 1 fixed

My finished geometric glass terrarium (or is it a greenhouse if the plants are in pots inside it). I added the copper platter so I can move it without releasing all the humidity. Unfortunately even this stylish home couldn’t save my Selaginella which died. Ugh, sometimes I swear plants lose the will to live and even daily pep talks can’t save them. I will have to add new humidity loving robust plants to my greenhouse but for now I stuck my Sansevieria inside for this picture:

Brass Done fixedI am keeping my eyes out for other nice brass fixtures, I think a grouping of them would be lovely. At $30, plus the $20 for the platter this is also a third of the price for the Restoration Hardware ones and I think better looking anyway.

 

 

Cheap ~ Easy ~ Comfy Tent Dress!

Turn a Maxi Skirt into a Dress

I buy a lot of skirts at thrift stores. They’re one of the few articles of clothing most second-hand stores have a great selection of. I suppose it’s because a nice skirt is something a woman would buy, wear a few times and then never wear it again. On another note, it’s sometimes hard to guess why items end up at thrift stores, in this skirt’s case though I don’t have to guess… I know. This skirt bleeds dye, lots of dye, and did the first time I washed it and does it still many washes later. If it wasn’t a favorite dress of mine, I wouldn’t bother to hand-wash it separately every time.

I digress. Anyway, I bought this silly hippie skirt specifically to turn into a tent dress. I don’t know if that’s the technical term for a dress that has no waist, but it describes the style perfectly. This dress is pulled on over the head and has two lace straps and hugs the chest right above the breasts.

To turn your own maxi skirt into a tent dress is crazy easy, I barely measured any part of this and it turned out great. It only took me a half hour to complete, and the only supplies I used were thread, scissors, a sewing machine, and lace for the straps.

The first thing to do if you would like to make your own, is check to see if the waistband of the skirt fits snugly at chest level. Mine didn’t, so I cut up the length of the skirt turning it into a rectangle of fabric:

I removed about 6 inches of width, and pulled the drawstrings and elastic out of the waistband casing. Since the dress will be pulled on over the head, the opening can be fitted to the chest without zippers/drawstrings/elastic. With the new width of fabric correct, I sewed the seam back together. I would recommend a french seam, to conceal the raw edges.

At this point the dress is done, it just needs some sweet straps. I used a length of hot pink crocheted lace that I dyed for this project, but didn’t end up using. To make attaching the straps extra easy I pinned scrap ribbon to the dress until I liked the placement and length, then cut into the pink lace for the real straps.

Since this dress was so casual anyway I didn’t really bother making the straps very neat. In less than 10 minutes the straps were on and I was wearing the dress. I sewed the two pieces of lace together at one end, and attached them to the wrong side at the center of the back.

 

I lined up the other end of each piece of lace to the wrong side of the front and attached those as well.

Bam! Cute dress, for nothing but a couple bucks and a half hour. I will forever be looking for more simple skirts to turn into ultra comfy tent dresses. The same thing could also be achieved by sewing plenty of pleated fabric to a “waistband” and adding straps, but I like to save fabric for more intricate designs (it’s so expensive LOL!)

Vintage Beaded Clutch Refurbishment

Refurbished Vintage Beaded Clutch

I made a resolution about a month ago, not to take on any more projects. I have far too many as it is. On the whole it has been great, I’m finishing plenty of old forgotten things. Unfortunately, a few days ago I saw a small, beat up, beaded clutch at an ARC thrift store. I tried to resist it. I swear to you, I tried. I looked it over, it need bead work, the lining was terribly stained, it was misshapen. I didn’t buy it, I walked out of ARC and spent the night thinking about. The next morning I went back, and bought the damn thing. Here it is:

It was missing quite a bit of beading along the top. It was also discolored. The lining was terribly stained.

However, I could see how beautiful and glamorous looking it would be if restored to its former glory. So I jumped enthusiastically into fixing this bedraggled clutch.

Firstly, I removed the metal hardware from the bag, then the terrible old satin lining.

 

 

At this point I cleaned the beaded outer shell in tepid water with a bit of soap and minimal agitation. I did all the cleaning and rinsing in a bucket just in case I lost some beads. I also cleaned and polished the metal hardware. If you have an old beaded bag you want to clean, make sure there is no cardboard inside the lining, use tepid water and minimal soap. A soft toothbrush can help remove dirt and grime from between the beads. To dry the bag use small hand-towels inside to maintain the right shape, and check occasionally to insure it is drying correctly.

Back to my bag, the outer shell was missing plenty of beads, most from the top where someone would grip the clutch. There were three types of beads all an opaque milky white, but the only ones I could find at Hobby Lobby that matched were the tiny 11/0 seed beads. I decided to change the pattern on the top designs and fill them in with the tiny seed beads. In this way I could remove the remaining large beads and use them to fill in the pattern on the rest of the bag. Here are my beading supplies:

As you can see I bought beige colored cotton thread, because the original thread was discolored and this matched better than bright white thread would. Here are a couple of links that explain how to bead onto fabric:

  • A pdf from Timeless Creations, which explains the basic procedure and supplies to bead on fabric: here.
  • A video, and link to printable instructions on how to bead from Beads East: here.
  • Another pdf, that goes over types of beads for sewing with and other tips from Sewing.org: here.
  • Instructions for crocheting with beads from Dummies.com: here.
  • Instructions for cross-stitching (scroll down the page a little) with beads from Thread Needle Street: here.

One tip that really saved me from frustration, was to apply tape to one finger on my left hand. It makes picking up and threading multiple seed beads infinitely easier.

Here are close up shots of one of the top medallions that I re-beaded.

 

 

It took a couple of days to finish re-beading the bag. I was very happy with the results. The new bead configuration is hardly noticeable and all the beads are tacked down securely. Plus I have tons of seed beads left over… beaded tank top neck maybe??

For the lining, I used the old pieces of satin as a pattern and cut new pieces out of some lovely houndstooth patterned wool I bought second-hand a few months ago.

I chose not to add pockets, partly because the clutch is so small I feared pockets would pull at the sides too much and because wool pockets would be very chunky. In the next pictures you can see I reinforced the sides of the lining with fusible interfacing, but I hated the way they shaped the bag, and I removed them later.

 

Here the lining is pinned and then hand-stitched to the beaded bag shell.

  

The metal hardware was originally covered with satin and then the satin was stitched onto the bag. To make the task roughly a billion percent easier I wrapped the metal with thin black ribbon. This way I didn’t have to sew on fabric, or cut holes for the clasp, or anything! I just hot glued the end of the ribbon on to the metal and started wrapping.

The hardest part of this refurbishment by far, was hand sewing the hardware back into the bag. It required a lot of re-positioning, since I couldn’t pin it to anything and the bag had to be stretched as I sewed to cover the metal correctly. However, in the end I managed it. The finished clutch:

 

I love how just a thin line of black can be seen when the bag is shut, and I love the luxurious feel of the wool lining. Another plus about the wool, it’s so plush that you can’t see the shape of the items in the bag. I can’t wait to carry this thing around with me, hopefully it will serve the dual purpose of reminding me not to take on anymore superfluous projects and being absolutely gorgeous.

Love this project? Like vintage beaded bags? Trying to fix one of your own? Tell me about it, by leaving a comment!

Gloomy Skirt Minus 6″ = Gorgeous Skirt

Another skirt from a thrift store. This one was a bit expensive (for a thrift store anyway) at 14.99, but you can’t go wrong with a nice black skirt. It’s got a a crochet like top layer that is so pretty, and adds a lot of depth to the plain black:

When I bought it I thought it was a good length, sitting just over my knees. However, ever time I tried it on I couldn’t escape the  feeling that it looked more funeral-y than flirty.

Once again I broke out my scissors to do some reworking. As you can see in the picture above the crochet pattern changes about 6 inches from the bottom. I decided to try to chop off the bottom and give the skirt a new hem.

When I cut off the bottom I was left with the edge shown below. The right half has been trimmed, leaving just the loose threads.

The loose ends were actually loose, and had to be sewn down by hand.

Here is the edge, once all the modifications were done. It worked out better than I could have hoped, the edge has a pretty scallop and the length is just right.

I also had to bring up the underskirt, which was a simple enough hem. I just cut off all the extra fabric, ironed a double folded to encase the raw edge and sewed it up.

How to Make a Bow Ear Cuff

Bow Cuff Tutorial

As you might have noticed, ear cuffs have been super trendy lately. I’d seen tons and tons of pictures all over the web of wire cuffs with bow, but no tutorials. So I thought I would add my version of instructions to the information highway.

For this project you need to make this cuff, and add the wire bow to it. Stop before bending the cuff blank into shape, so it is easier to attach the bow. Here are all the supplies I used: 1 black 20 gauge cuff blank, 26 gauge gun-metal colored wire, wire cutters, round nose pliers, and a pen to shape the cuff.