this isn’t your grandma’s coat

Alright, y’all. Today we’re doing the unofficial Mackelmore Thrift Shop challenge with Young House Love! (If you haven’t heard this song, you need to. It’s hilarious! You can find the cleaned up version here.) The rules are simple! Go thrift shopping, $20.00 in yo’ pocket, find something awesome, and document said awesome-ness with gratuitous photos of your ‘ghetto’ face.

So, last Saturday, I headed to “Thrift Town” which is right down the road for me and set out for greatness. Oh boy did I find it.

thrift-shopping-challenge-1For those of you who might not know, “greatness” can often come in the form of acid washed denim jackets. I know it’s not part of the song, but I really think Mackelmore himself would be proud to don this!

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Really though, I found this awesome desk lamp with a pop of bright green. The first thing I thought of when I saw it was Emily Henderson. I could totally see this beauty being worked into one of her amazing rooms. It was only $9.99 and in great shape, but I resisted the temptation. Truth be told, I don’t need another lamp and after a solid 5-7 minutes of pacing around it, carefully balancing the pros and cons of stylish lighting, I backed away slowly.

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Luckily, I was distracted by fate. My greatest find was this gorgeous, vintage pink pitcher for just $4.99!! Not a scratch, dent, or ding on it and now, it’s all mine! It’s smaller than a standard picture but I think it would be perfect for summer cocktails for two on our patio, as a vase for fresh flower, or it might even live in our bedroom to save us late nite trips to the kitchen for a glass of water. It’s the only thing I purchased with my $20 bones but I am mighty proud!thrift-shopping-challenge-3

And, I just couldn’t resist giving it a little fashion show after I got it home and cleaned up.

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A stack of books, a flower, my  pitcher, and some fun fabric all in pink just makes my day!! Plus, on this first day of February, it is quite appropriate! (PS. You’ll also be seeing this fabric come back into play with an upcoming project!!)

Did you participate in the thrift shop challenge? Or do you just have any awesome/hilariously un-awesome thrifting finds to share? Let’s hear it!!

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make this: the lazy girl’s diy bedskirt

I’m not afraid to admit that in the past, I have been quite vehement about never ever having a bed skirt. Traditional bed skirts just aren’t my thing, with their ruffles and often dusty colors. No. But when we moved into our new apartment, 816, we opted to sell our huge bedroom set in order to have a little more space in the boudoir. Because, even though our new bedroom is actually larger in terms of square feet, it’s basically a perfect square which means things just fit differently. So, we sold our first “grown-up furniture” to our newly married couple friends and picked up a cheap, metal bed frame from Wal-Mart. The extra space is glorious! The tacky, brown metal bed frame, not so much.

The first thing we tackled was making a DIY Upholstered headboard to frame out our sleeping quarters. Next, we picked up some new plush bedding. Then it was finally time to address the under belly of the beast.

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My focus with any project (as with any!) was to keep it looking like something I purchased and to complete it with as little hair pulling and money spending as possible. For this super simple, straight bed skirt, all three objectives were accomplished!

To achieve a similar look you need just a few things! First of all, fabric! I chose white tone-on-tone polka dots. It introduces a new pattern to the room but there are no crazy colors to clash with what’s already going on. Now, as far as measurements go, all I did was measure the three visible sides of our queen size bed which totaled 220” (60+80+80), which equaled just over 6 yards. Then I divided that in half! When you buy fabric, you usually get cuts that are folded in half. I figured I could just cut right down the fold and get the perfect amount of fabric for half the price! I would advise getting ¼ – ½ a yard extra, just in case!

You will also need iron-on hem tape, scissors, safety pins, an iron and an ironing board!

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The first thing I did was send my fabric through a wash cycle. It’s best to start out clean! Then I cut my fabric in half long ways to get the length I needed to wrap around the three visible sides of our bed.

All you do then is hem around the edges! When you’re done hemming the long sides, use your no-sew tape to hem the two pieces together, making sure the pair up the “nicest” sides (that way you get the best bottom edge for your skirt. I used two strips of the hem tape for extra durability.

Now, we dress our bed! Since we basically just created a wrap-style bed skirt, you don’t have to remove the whole mattress to put it on! All I did was scoot the mattress over, start in the back corner and safety pin the skirt to the box spring. I moved all the way around, safety pinning about every foot or so and then moved the mattress back into place!

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For neat corners, just wrap around and fold the top over. Pin and it’s perfect!

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And done! Easily completed in an afternoon. And the best part is, it’s easier to remove than traditional skirts, it’s customized to our décor, and the entire project cost less than $20.00!!

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Plus, it just makes such a huge difference! Here’s the before:DSCN1617

And then the after:diy-no-sew-bedskirt-copy

And, if you’re wondering about those cute yellow chevron pillows, “the lazy girl’s custom pillow” is coming up too!

Now that we’ve finished the office, we’re going to be spending a lot more time in the bedroom (in a purely decorating sense, people!). We’ve got plans for some big, DIY art and some major styling all on the cheap (but awesome) plan! So, stay tuned for that!

What sort of fabric projects have you been working on lately? Maybe curtains like our bleach pen designed curtains or our bold, striped curtains? Or something else? Share below!!

that’s a wrap: office reveal

So, the office is done. Well, mostly done. There are still a few finishing touches I have planned, but for the most part this room is finished. You might remember what it looked like just a few weeks ago but now, it’s clean, it’s organized, you can actually walk through it without fearing for your life. Overall all, I’d call that a success.

Now, let’s take the tour!

The most obvious change is the fact that you can actually see the floors! (Carpet! Who knew?)

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I finally hung up all of the art and frames that we own. There’s still quick a bit of empty space (and yes, that one frame still has the advertisement photo in it), so we’ve got room to grow, but stuff is on the walls which is the main focus! When Josh and I graduated from college, his dad got us a double frame which now houses both of our diplomas which is pretty cool.

ffinished-office-makeover-4By the window is Josh’s workspace. Being a first year teacher, he is in here a lot, so it doesn’t stay neat for long, but he did put in some creative storage solutions like the hanging file folders and wire shelving next to his desk.finished-office-makeover-5

Here, you can see the curtains I designed with bleach pens and also one of the Christmas presents I got for Josh, a signed Source Fed poster (which is a news program we watch on YouTube that is hilarious, but still super informative!!)

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On the opposite wall is our family calendar (which we snagged on etsy) and more art.finished-office-makeover-1

This small bookcase serves as storage for binders and all office supplies.finished-office-makeover-7And, in the last turn, we’ve got the door and Josh’s keyboard. You can also see that we hung the curtains super high which makes the ceilings look taller and also takes up that empty visual space about the window and doors.finished-office-makeover-2I do want to add something in that space around the rest of the room, but I’m just not sure what yet. Maybe giant confetti shapes or something fun like that!

And that’s our office! Finally functional and a little bit stylish. Like I mentioned, there is room to improve and add over the duration of our time in 816, but just the progress we’ve made is so worth sharing!

Have you overhauled any rooms lately? Discovered any floors you didn’t know existed?

make this: bleach pen design curtains (+ office sneak peeks)

The office is nearing completion. Finally!! I’ve still got a few final touches to make but in the mean time I want to share, what I think, is a pretty dang cool project. You see, our office needed curtains. And bad! During the afternoon, the sun is blinding in there. It makes the room hotter and it is in the prime position of creating a glare all over Josh’s workspace.

The criteria for the curtain search was as follows: not girly, dark in color, not expensive. I checked out a few options at Target but ultimately I knew this was going to be a DIY challenge from the get-go. I already had a black queen size sheet that I had used as a table cloth for an event a while back. It was just gathering dust, not being used, so “bingo”! There is my material. But I didn’t want just plain black. That’s not how we roll.

So, how do you dress up black? Well, here’s how I did it! Bleach pens!!

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Yes, people, I used bleach pens to create a design on this fabric and then turned it into curtains. It’s probably one of my proudest DIY moments because I actually thought up this one (of course, that’s not to say that it might not have existed somewhere else before this, but I didn’t see it on Pinterest and recreate, I just did it!). And the best part is, this project was pretty easy.

So, if you’re interested in whipping up some of these bad boys, here’s what you’ll need: dark fabric (yardage will depend on the size of panels you’re trying to create. Like I mentioned, I just used a queen size flat sheet), bleach pens (two should do the trick), iron-on hem tape, iron, & ironing board. Yes, we went the no-sew route, which we have successfully used several times throughout our home decorating careers. You can find a great tutorial for that method here from Young House Love!

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The process basically boils down into four steps.

  1. Create your design. Layout your fabric on the largest flat surface you have (I just used our dining room table) and go at it. It is important to note that you’re dealing with a gel so you’ll need to work in sections. Let each section dry for a while (until you can see the bleach working and it starts to look a little crusty), then just slide your fabric to the next empty space.
  2. Wash, dry, and iron your fabric.
  3. Follow the no-sew tutorial steps. (Or, if you’re a bad-a, feel free to whip out your sewing machine and get all fancy).
  4. Hang and enjoy. I picked up two packs of those curtain rings that just clip  on the top and it was all good.

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Seriously, I love the way they turned out. I’d even go so far as to call them hip. But you know what’s not hip? Having to censor your photos because the mess could make your lovely readers run away in terror! Thank goodness for big black circles, right? You’re welcome! (And don’t worry, that mess is gone now!!)

In the finished office reveal, I’ll give you the full, head-on shot, but it’s hard to photograph windows well in the early afternoon, so now you have something to look forward to (right???). Oh, and if you’re feeling funky and you want to keep on the curtain train, you can check out this post on our DIY bold striped living room curtains!

Have you ever made DIY curtains? Do you have any cool tips or tutorials on awesome techniques? I’d love to see them!

make this: diy embroidery hoop mobiles

Good morning and happy Monday! We’re another week into the new year, and for real, I am blowing through my to-do lists and resolutions. The office is coming along quite swimmingly and we’ll get the details and reveal up towards the end of the week! But today I’m sharing another super easy project that plays up my new true blue obsession! Last weekend, I decided it was time to take down the falling leaves installation we put up before Thanksgiving and replace it with something fresh and new.

And thus, these embroidery hoop mobiles were born! Ya’ll these are so easy to make but they look insanely cool. They’ve got a hint of mid-century cool mixed with a modern, fun color! They play up our big canvas art perfectly and I’m in love with them! So, I imagine you’re now asking yourself how one would go about creating the awesome-ness that is these mobiles. Well, have no fear because I’m going to tell you and in about 30 minutes you’ll have your own!

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All you need are embroidery hoops in 3 different sizes. You actually get two pieces from one embroidery hoop, so these are super inexpensive to make. I think the whole project cost me about $5.00.

So, I bought 6 embroidery hoops total from my local craft store to make four orbs and everything else, I already had at home. But, to complete the project, you’ll also need a hot glue gun, ribbon (for hanging), and craft paint and a paint brush

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First up, I took the embroidery hoops apart, removed the little screw that keeps the two hoops together, and hot glued the split hoop so it was one complete circle.

Next, I painted one of each size in a bright blue. I wanted to leave the majority of the hoops with the natural wood finish and go with just one pop of color for each orb but you could easily paint all of the hoops one or several colors depending on the look you’re going for!Embroidery-Hoop-Mobile-(9)-copy

Then just hot glue your hoops together. I tried to make sure the brackets were at the very top of the orbs so you wouldn’t be able to see them jutting out while they hang. Start with your biggest hoop and hot glue the next size down to the very top at a perpendicular angle. Go down to your smallest hoop and turn it in a different direction so you get the orb effect.

Then just string them up! Keeping the brackets on the tops of the orbs makes this super easy! Just string ribbon of your choice through and attach to a dowel or shapely stick!

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Now, you’re ready to hang and admire! Another easy-peasy, inexpensive project in the books!

Since we’ve moved into our new apartment, 816, I think I’ve swapped out the hanging decorations in our dining room more than any other décor! It’s just so fun to think up new things to hang! First we had our no-sew paper strip mobiles, then the falling leaves, and now these fun embroidery hoop orbs!

What kind of hanging décor do you have in your house? Mostly light fixtures or do you get creative? I’d love more ideas and inspiration so share below!

easy paint projects to add some color!

In the midst of tackling all those big new years resolutions, I felt like it would be nice to share something easy. Just a simple, quick thing that can be easily accomplished without all the planning and stress of a big project (like our office!!). So, here are four effortless paint projects that can bring a little color into your home on the cheap!!

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1. Remember these easy wood disc ornaments I made for our Christmas tree last year? Well, swap out the hook for an adhesive magnet and you’ve got something cheery to add to your refrigerator! (We accidentally discovered that our door is also metal, so we started putting reminders and inspirational snippets there too!)

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2. My mom bought us this knife set when Josh and I moved into our very first apartment in 2009. It has definitely seen better days but new, fancy knives aren’t a priority right now, so I grabbed our basic untreated wood knife block and painted it a bright cheery blue! (Tip: I used a more glossy craft paint for this to keep it looking polished and keep any kitchen messes from staining!)

Easy Paint Projects (11) - Painted Cans copy 3. Recycling cans as storage is no new concept, but I think that giving them a ‘dipped’ affect by painting the bottom portion is an easy way to spruce them up. You could easily match your kitchen colors and make them a decoration, too! We use ours to store plastic utensils which we take with our lunches. (Tip: Stick your cans in the dishwasher before painting to make sure they don’t smell like last night’s dinner!)

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4. Truth be told, this little Eskimo couple is not a thrift store find. It was actually a little gift from my Grandma. Originally it was a dark gray stone, but I thought an icy blue would be just as appropriate and fit in a little better on our bookshelf.  So, the next time you’re at the thrift store and you see some funny, oddly colored figurines, ask yourself if you would like it in a different color? Just add a couple coats of spray paint in whatever hue you desire and you’ve got something inexpensive and customized to adorn your shelves!

Ah! The satisfaction of an easy and cheap project!

How are your new years resolutions going? Are you feeling the mid-January motivation slump? Or are you still going strong??

diy: falling leaves installation

Yesterday, I shared our fresh take on fall décor and now we’re back to share the tutorial on the amazing Falling Leaf installation we created to celebrate the autumn months! Seriously, this is probably my favorite holiday project to date.

Here’s what you’ll need to create a similar version!

  • Dollar store silk leaves (Since you’re painting them, they don’t have to be high quality. I just looked for a shape that I liked.)
  • Craft paint (I used a plum and burgundy color)
  • Paint brushes
  • Mod podge
  • Glitter
  • Fishing line
  • A cool looking branch (You could probably get a nice, smooth decorative one from a craft store, but I just tracked mine down from outside. You can’t beat 100% free.)

The first thing I did was paint the leaves. Most have two coats so they show a solid color but I did leave a few the prettier ones with just one coat to get that marble-y colored goodness.

 For the glittery ones, I used a foam brush to apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the leaf and then pressed it into a plate full of glitter. With this, you’ll want to make sure to push all of the edges into the glitter to make sure everything is covered. I stopped here, but if you wanted to add a layer of anti-glitter rain protection, you could use a clear spray sealant to keep the glitter in place.

After all my leaves had dried, I used a needle to thread a length of fishing line through the leaves. I tried to mix up the location of the string so that the leaves would be ‘falling’ in a more whimsical fashion (not just all point straight down).

 Once you finished stringing your leaves, you can start tying them to your branch. The easiest way to do this is to hang the branch somewhere temporarily and then add the leaves. Less tangling and it’s easier to see make sure your leaves are spread out.

Now, it’s time to hang! We used our track lighting to our benefit and hung the branch from there using more fishing line and binder rings! They just slip right over the light. You could also use ceiling hooks to create the same affect. The whole project weighs less than a pound so it’s not creating a huge strain on the light fixture and it can easily be removed after the season ends.

 Isn’t it lovely? The leaves sway lazily in the breeze from our AC and the colors just scream autumn!

The only purchase I made for this project was the leaves which I snagged from the Dollar Tree for $2.00. Everything else I had on hand. It took a few hours total and, since I’m pretty lacking in the height department, my super awesome husband helped me with the hanging steps.

 And it’s done. A pretty easy project with a huge payoff.

 Do you ever use outdoor materials like branches, leaves, or maybe pine cones in your home for decoration? What are some big impact projects you’ve done with tiny price tag? I’d love to see them!

a fresh take on fall decor

I am wasting no time getting into the spirit of fall and Thanksgiving. Of course, for me, the hour after Thanksgiving dinner is when Christmas decorations start being flung all over the place, so if I don’t get moving on fall themed decorations, they won’t stand a chance.

Fall has always been the hardest season for me to decorate around. It’s by far my favorite time of year but I’ve always had a hard time finding a style that I liked. Usually, I stay away from the muted and/or dusty colors but this year I was determined to find something I liked. In the past, Josh and I have always stayed in our home for Thanksgiving because the holiday is too short for us to justify traveling. So, I cook up a scaled down meal and we spend the evening together, but, for the first time since we’ve lived on our own, Josh and I will be having guests this Thanksgiving! Josh’s sister, Rachel, and her boyfriend will be joining us and that really put a fire under me to get moving on the decorating front.

Using Pinterest as my most-trusted ally, I found some color combos that I loved and some projects that I could easily adapt for the season and, well, I think I’ve found a Fall look that I really love!

I think the end result is a very modern take on the traditional colors and themes.

Our rotating empty frame now houses a super fun garland using different shapes to keep it interesting. And, I made the garland using the same method I used on the paper strip mobiles that usually hang in the dining room!  Next to that I put an adorable print in a surprisingly nice $5.00 Wal-Mart frame.

And, without a doubt, the main feature of this room now is this falling leaves installation that I DIY’d for $2.00. Yes, two measly dollars turned into something so awesome I can’t help but smile! Cranberry, plum, and gold glittered leaves are falling in the dining room and they just make the whole space feel more festive!

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing the full tutorial for this project, and it is so simple so be sure to stop back by! All together, I spent under $5.00 for all of my fall decor. Seems like that home spending embargo kind of stuck!

What’s your favorite holiday to decorate for? Is there any holiday that you have a hard time finding styles you like! I’m curious! Share below.

celebrate the holidays: simple and cheap rag doll costume

Halloween week is here! This holiday is huge at my company so, this weekend, I put on my costume in full to make sure I was all set. We’re still in the midst of the Home Spending Embargo of October so I set out to spend as little as possible on my costume. After seeing this adorable idea on Pinterest, I decided to go with Rag Doll.

I made the essential red yarn wig following the tutorial over at  A Beautiful Mess and put together the rest of the costume by shopping my own closet. I did purchase the ruffle-y under shirt from the Wal-Mart clearance rack for $5.00. Everything else I already owned and since matching was not a concern, choosing was a pretty quick task. A white and blue polka dot dress, a vintage red apron, and black tights make up the base of the outfit and then it was time for accessories! I fashioned a big bow from a spare piece of floral fabric I had and pinned it to my top. A bright blue bow and black and white stripped stockings (which you can’t see in the photo) finish it off!

The make up was made easy by just upping my normal routine. I added some freckles, bright pink blush circles, and some heart-shaped doll lips. Easy peasy! All together I spent $7.00 on the costume (for yarn and the top) and this Wednesday, I’ll be rocking my adorable and darn-cheap costume at work. Who knows? Maybe I’ll win a little prize!

In other Halloween news, we carved our pumpkin this past weekend. It’s a little late but we had fun making another spooky face! Plus, I used this recipe from A Subtle Revelry to roast some delicious Olive Oil & Sea Salt pumpkin seeds! Yum!

Are you ready for Halloween this Wednesday? What are you and your family planning to do? Share your fun plans and Halloween posts below!

celebrate the holidays: practically free halloween decor

I can’t believe how quickly October is flying by! Next week is Halloween and I just can’t believe the holidays are right around the corner! Today, I’m sharing this year’s Halloween decorations! In the true spirit of the “home spending embargo” of October, I spent a grand total of 25 cents on these decorations and, in my humble opinion, they look just as spooky and fun!

First up, the dining room. I’ll divulge the 25 cent splurge right away. The only think I purchased was this creepy sign. After seeing the quote on Pinterest, I whipped up a similar one with photoshop and had it printed at Staples on a nice, thick paper to keep it looking good for future Halloweens. I filled our large empty frame (hung specifically for rotating decor) with a huge spider web. I found this tutorial and loved it! Super quick and super cute! The purple yarn we had on hand and I love that it brings some unexpected color to my typically all-black October color scheme.

A cute little ceramic pumpkin keeps my beloved mixer company this month. Josh and I painted this pumpkin a few years ago in our very first apartment because we didn’t really have a space for a real pumpkin. A perfect little touch of the holiday for the kitchen.

Probably my favorite Halloween decor is the bat swarm. I’ve seen a few of these on Pinterest (like this one) and I thought they looked so cool! About an hour spent cutting bats out of cardstock is all it took. Originally, I had planned to stick with all black, but I ran out of black paper. To keep it free, I rummaged through my scrap paper stack to find other colors that would work. I settled on navy, lime, and orange.

How fun! I mean this is ‘Two Live Colorfully’ after all! Some bright punches of color are a perfect compliment!

I also cut out some adorable little mice to haunt our baseboards. I know that Martha Stewart sells a version of these but I just googled ‘mouse silhouettes’ and traced them onto black card stock. 100% free and 100% adorable. Our rat, Scribble, now has some shadow friends!

Lastly, I added some creep to our bookshelf with some decor we already owned.

The spooky birds and birdhouse fit in perfectly and the bright colors of our bookshelf keep things fun.

How did you decorate for Halloween? Did you do any free or super-inexpensive projects to save money? Share below!