The weekends have been nice around the beach lately so we’ve been taking our dog down there to play. There always seem to be an abundance of nice, big, unbroken shells at Dog Beach (probably because you don’t see many little kiddos running around with their pails full) so I’ve been picking up the pretty ones and saving them for a craft. As most seashell decorations tend to not be my favorite, I wanted to create something that brought in my love of nature-inspired, textural elements.
I’m a collector of all notions crafty – when I head to a thrift store, discount store or garage sale (or even when someone does their spring cleaning and discards perfectly good items that could be repurposed!), I’ll take home things that I might not have an immediate need for and save them until inspiration strikes. Such is the case with this twig wreath, which I found discarded on top of someone’s trash. It originally had ugly, fake flowers not-so-delicately hot-glued on it which were easily removed to reveal a clean and natural base. The lotus seed pods were found at a thrift store mixed in a bag with preserved leaves for $2 (but you can find them at any Michael’s) and my reindeer moss is leftover from some Christmas projects. I wanted another textural component, so used my trusty 40% Michael’s coupon to purchase these interesting dyed and dried mushrooms.
While I think the addition of succulents would be gorgeous, I wanted something dried so that I could hang it, then store it away with the seasons. So grab a hot glue gun, get inspired by your findings and leftovers, and get creative!
I found a pretty, though maybe slightly garish, vintage print fabric while perusing my local Salvation Army one day. While I always thought the material would create nice decorative throw pillows for either indoor or outdoor use, using the underside of the print, à la classic Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirts, gives it a whole different feel. Here’s a super easy and inexpensive way to add some vintage style to your home decor.
Here’s what you need:
- two 14-inch square pillow inserts
- about a yard of vintage print fabric
- ruler & scissors
- sewing machine & thread
Here’s what you do:
- Cut two 15 x 15 inch squares from your fabric
- Cut two 15 x 18 inch rectangles from your fabric
- Cut each 15 x 18 inch rectangle in half to create two pieces measuring 15 x 9.
- Fold over one long edge of the 15 x 9 piece twice and pin to create 1/4 inch seam. Sew.
- With underside facing in, pin pieces together, starting at the edges. The two 15 x 9 pieces should overlap and the sewn edges should be pointed in to create the envelope opening.
- Sew the two squares together, starting with the edges that parallel the opening.
- Finish edges (optional) and turn out. Insert pillow form and fluff. Picture below shows finished backside where pillow is inserted (right).
Tips: I purchased my pillow forms from Joann’s on a buy-one-get-one-free sale for $4.49 each. The fabric was a whopping $1 from the Salvation Army.
Cost: $10 for two unique pillows!
…tied up with strings, these ARE one of my favorite things.
Found vintage shelving paper finds another use as a decorative band, while remnants from a white canvas curtain are used to make a fabric ribbon and a whimsical rosette. Finish it off with contrasting jute twine and you have one fabulous gift to give.
Here’s what you need:
- Kraft packaging paper
- decorative paper (I used vintage shelving paper that I found at a thrift store)
- textural fabric scraps
- jute twine
- ruler and scissors
- hot glue gun and glue stick
- mason jar lid (or anything with a roughly 3-inch circular shape, like a glass or round cookie cutter)
- needle and thread
Here’s what you do:
- Wrap your package in kraft paper.
- Measure and cut a band of decorative paper to wrap around your box. I used a 7-inch wide band for a shirt box. Tape to box.
- Measure and cut a band of fabric to wrap around your box. I used a 3-inch wide piece of heavy-weight home decorator cotton for the ribbon. Snipping, then ripping the length of fabric creates the rough, feathery edge. Use hot glue to secure ends of fabric band to decorative paper.
- Cut a long piece of jute twine and wrap around the box a few times and tie in a knot at the center front of the package. Snip ends.
- Use mason jar lid to trace 15 or so circles onto remaining cotton fabric. Cut out circles.
- Fold circles first in half, then in half again. Use needle and thread to string folded pieces together tightly at the bottom corner, alternating direction of open edge with each addition to add dimension.
- Spread out and “fluff” rosette. Use needle and thread to reinforce the final position by sewing through the bottom edge. Use hot glue gun or safety pin to secure rosette to package.
One of the most important tenets of shopping at thrift stores is keeping an open mind. I always try to look at found objects as having a certain amount of craft potential – whether or not I realize immediately what that potential is, is a different story! Most times, I get my findings home and they sit for a while until inspiration strikes me.
Such is the case with this yellow floral retro shelving paper I picked up on a recent trip. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d use it for, but loved the vintage look of it, and at $1.99 a roll, I figured I’d eventually make something out of it!
Well, along came a baby shower for a friend of mine that needs some decor help. The cheery yellow floral of the shelving paper makes it’s craft project debut as a decorative facing for clothespins, used to secure cardstock-mounted baby pictures of the couple to a twine strand.
It is a modern co-ed shower, so I wanted to stay away from pastels and give it more of a fresh and bright feel. The couple is having a girl, and while pinks aren’t always desirable, I found a contemporary fabric at Joann’s that incorporates pinks, greens, oranges, yellows and browns and used it as inspiration for a color scheme (be sure to watch for a future post on a fabric bunting made with the inspiration fabric). I chose cardstock based on the inspiration fabric and added charming little clip-art tracings (that I got for free from Microsoft Word!), drawn with a white gel pen on natural butcher paper for some added whimsy.
Here’s what you need:
- jute twine
- 12×12 cardstock sheets
- color copies of old pictures
- glue stick
- white gel pen
- natural butcher paper (I buy mine at the 99 cent store)
- enlarged copies of clip art and a nice bright window (free!)
- rounded corner punch (optional)
- clothespins (purchased at Walmart for $1)
- cardstock or some type of material for covering clothespins ( I used shelving paper)
- hot glue gun
- paper trimmer (or use a ruler and scissors)
Here’s what you do:
- Use your paper trimmer to divide your 12×12 cardstock into six 4×6 rectangles.
- Use your rounded corner punch (optional) to round the corners of your 4×6 cards.
- Measure the height of your clothespin, cut a long strip of shelving paper approximating the height and use your trimmer to trim to the proper height, then cut your strip into same-width pieces. My finished pieces were 3″ x 7/16″
- Use your hot glue gun to secure the strips of paper to the clothespins.
- Use a window on a sunny day to trace your clip art onto the butcher paper with a gel pen. Loosely cut around tracings.
- Secure photo to cardstock and arrange clip art tracings artistically. (Note : my tracings are not fully glued down in these photos but they should be)
- Use covered clothespins to secure cardstock-mounted photos to strung twine.
Note: I purchased my Fiskars paper trimmer a few years back from Michaels with a 40% off coupon. I use it all the time for my paper projects and think it is an integral part of my crafting armamentarium – just make sure to buy one on sale! Cardstock often goes on either 4 or 5 for $1 sales at both Michael’s and Joann’s – stock up at these sales instead of purchasing them at $0.59 per sheet! And finally, I always purchase my jute twine, glue sticks and butcher paper (found in the office section) at either the Dollar Tree, 99 cent Store or Big Lots for $1 each.
Decorating with the pristine, pure white of milk glass is a refreshingly simple way to add some brightness to your home in the new year. And the best part? The vintage pieces are readily found at second-hand stores, which makes for a very thrifty decoration, indeed! Cheery florals, like bright pink mini carnations clustered en masse, provide a striking contrast with the chalky white and are a favorite of mine for bringing a splash of color into the home.
Hosting tip: Use this combination for a more modern twist on an upcoming bridal or baby shower, utilizing other brights like orange tulips, yellow ranunculus and lime green mums – each color in a different vessel – for a striking, yet simple, look.
While out thrifting one day, I came across these jute burlap sacks, whose original purpose, I’m guessing, was probably in agricultural bagging. When I spotted them, I had no idea what I would do with them, but they were only $1 each and I knew they, or simply their material, would come in handy somehow, somewhere!
As it turns out, I was planning for an outdoor dinner party later that weekend. I got the bags home and took a look at my patio chair Sunbrella seat cushions, which are roughly square. How easy would it be to simply slip a seat cushion into a burlap bag, fold the excess end under and – voila! – instant cushion makeover! Turns out, the width of the bag was a perfect fit for the width and depth of the seat cushion – the only excess that remained was at one end, which I neatly folded under.
No sewing or cutting neccessary! And the best part, when you want to go back to your original cushions, simply slip it off and use your burlap for another thrifty craft!
Cost: $4 for 4 burlap bags (19.5″ x 35″)