Throw & Go

For me, the hardest part of making throw pillows is finding the motivation to get the sewing machine out of storage! I’m no expert by annnymeans, but I’ve learned a few things that I thought I’d pass on.

1. Use fabric napkins!

Picture this… you walk into pier one and walk to their wall of throw pillows…and walk away because you can’t find one for less than $30 (even the clearance).  Instead of leaving disappointed, head on over to where they keep the napkins for $1.50, pick up two, and sew them together!  You’ll probably even find a few napkins that are the same pattern and fabric as their pillows.  Plus – a lot of cloth napkins have texture on them, which gives the pillows a little something extra.

2. Use place mats!

Examples from target.

Though a little more expensive than napkins, place mats usually have awesome details!  Most of the time, you can even pull the seams out that are holding the front and back of the place mat together and stuff in a pillow!

3. Create a removable pillow cover.  It is so much easier to take off the pillow case and throw it in the wash, than to try to spot-clean a throw pillow. Thrify and Chic has an awesome tutorial for creating an awesome pillow cover.

4. Buy cheap ugly pillows.  Depending on the size and plush-ness, even insert pillows can cost over $10, so next time you see that super ugly – super clearance throw, pick it up and recover it!

5. Recover your pillows.  Going along with #3, instead of buying a new insert pillow every time you make a pillow, just recover a pillow you already have.  I mean – you can only have so many pillows before your guests have to start sitting on the floor!  This works perfect for holiday themed pillows, since they’ll only be out for a couple of weeks.

Photo wall

During college, I had a set of white photo frames, that moved from house to house with me.  I purchased the collection from walmart (I’m sure you’ve seen the ones for 3 or 4 bucks).  The frames were cheap, plasticky, and I spray painted them all white.  Every time they fell off the wall, a little bit of the paint would chip, so they ended up looking – umm rustic?

Needless to say, I threw them out as soon as I graduated, and moved up to a set of frames from Kohl’s. My pitiful attempt at a photo wall ended up with too few frames, and way to matchy – matchy.

Since I didn’t want to go out and purchase more of the same frames, I decided to hit up the Rustic Market (a goodwill type store) and picked up a couple wooden frames.

$7.35 and 7 frames later, I was pretty impressed with my purchases.  I tried to get various sizes, and frames to spice up my boring wall.  Since these were solid, wood frames, I wasn’t afraid of them falling apart either. Did I mention that the backs of my Walmart frames would literally separate from the front making them completely useless?!

But back to my new frames, I got to work taking out and cleaning all the glass, then took the frames outside to spray paint them black to match the existing frames.

Then came the fun part – picking out pictures and other fun things to put in the frames!  I had left over fabric from making the ottoman, so that was the first frame  I tackled.  I filled the other frames with anniversary cards, fun quotes, and of course pictures.

As you can tell, I still have more frames to hang up, but I was too excited to show you to wait!

The Next HGTV Design Star

Sometimes you stare at something in your house/apartment for so long, you forget its even there (or that it looks terrible!)  A couple weeks ago I purchased a painted vase from a homegoods store ($30 sale!) and its been sitting empty next to the TV ever since.

Nick finally said we need to give the poor pot some lovin’ when I dragged him into Michael’s.  He picked out three bundles of sticks and flowers (don’t worry – we used 40% off coupons!).  I will admit, I thought he was crazy when he selected some bright yellow flowers.

Nick informed me that the yellow color would coordinate with the other touches of yellow in our apartment, but I was skeptical until we got home and saw the final result.  Who knew!…I might sign him up for the next Design Star :)

Monogram Monday

I woke up Friday morning, and after getting my coffee, decided to spend my morning looking for new DIY projects online (even though I have quite a few half-finished ones waiting to be finished).  Not even ten minutes later I found this – a button monogram (I believe to be used at a wedding).  I instantly thought of making one for Nick’s soon to be niece, Bailey.  Since my friend Christina was visiting we decided to make two – both a little different – for her niece Ellianna.  Everything was purchased at Michael’s for this simple project. **The Michael’s by our house can scan coupons on your phone, so I don’t have to even print them!  Good thing because we were able to use TWO coupons each for this activity.


- Frames $10 (20% off framing coupon)= $8

- Cardstock (I have a ton from scrapbooking but you can buy it at Michael’s for $0.50) $0

- Buttons! You can purchased an assorted package for $5 (40% coupon ) $3

- Craft glue (already have!) $0

Total $11 per frame

First things first, dumping out the buttons (kind of went overboard, but now I have extras!). We got to work laying out the button pattern.  For the B we used a pencil to trace a B on the cardstock, and for the E we eyeballed it.  If you can get away with it, I would recommend eyeballing your monogram and just laying out a button pattern first. 

 Why is the pencil a pain you ask?  Buttons are round, and the pencil line is straight, so you end up having to add a ton of extra buttons to cover the pencil line. PAIN!

Two strawberry daiquiris, and one movie later we were left with two unique button monograms.

We used pink and yellow paper since they are for babies, but you could also use white cardstock, or even fabric for more dimension. I’m not sure I like how thick the B is, so I might experiment with making another one. 

The nice thing about a shadow box is, you can set it on a table or dresser, or even put something else in the base of the box. The possibilities are endless!

Meet Otto.

Time to update you on my most awesomely, creative DIY project to date.  The suspense must be killing you!

Oh the woes of a thrift store shopper.  The hardest part of this DIY project was finding the desk  to repurpose – honestly – and it even involves a saw.  I know, stepping up my game. After spending the better part of three afternoons at our local Goodwill-esk thrift stores I found IT. Otto, the lovely, if broken, coffee table.

I originally wanted a desk because it would be smaller, but then I got to thinking.  One day, when there is more that a foot of space at the end of the bed, I hope to put an ottoman there.  You know, to throw my clothes on ;) So I decided that this coffee table would work perfectly.

Want to know what was even better?! $12 – solid wood. I know! And it gets better.  The glass pane that originally fit into the coffee table broke and there was a pre-cut piece of plywood laying overtop.  It’s like Otto knew he was destined to be an ottoman and did all the prep work for me.

First step, I spray painted the legs (look at the detail on those babies!) black to match our other furniture.

I thought ahead and measured the dimensions of the coffee table, so I could have the helpful people at Lowe’s cut my 2 x 4s for me  I text my friend Sarah (Otto spent the night at her house – she owns the saw) after getting to Lowe’s and had her measure the dimensions for me.  The idea was to nail wood underneath the overhang of the top of the table (see picture below) to create a straighter side. I think it was meant to be, because a 12 ft. piece fit perfectly – not kidding, the table was 70 in x 22 in!

Nick nailed the 2 x 4s to the sides and we put that pre-cut piece of plywood that came with the table back on top.

Next came a big foam pad from Jo Ann Fabrics.  The nice lady who cut my foam told me that the $17 a yard foam I was buying today was on sale for $8 a yard tomorrow, and I could bring my receipt back and get the discount (as long at it was within a week of purchase).  Deal! I cheated and bought two layers and stacked them, instead of the thicker stuff. ($72 a yard, you have got to be kidding me!) A spray adhesive held everything together nicely.

After the layers of foam, I flipped the table over and stapled loft batting, wrapping around the edges. But, I forgot to take a picture – sorry!

I repeated the same flip, and staple technique with the fabric. 

I picked up some black furniture nails when I was at Lowes, and spent the next hour hammering them into the bottom of the ottoman to make a trim.  Voila! Meet Otto – the ottoman. He’s currently hanging out in the family room since he’ll have to wait until we move to go into the bedroom.

…you are my sunshine!

My baby sister is heading off to college (actually she’s already there now, but wasn’t when I made this for her), and I knew she would need something to spruce up her dorm room.

Enter the sunburst mirror.

I am completely in love with sunburst mirrors (or starburst mirrors) because each mirror is completely different – like this or this.

But everything I saw was too heavy and taste specific for a dorm room. Until a quick google search came up with these beauties from amazon and west elm.  Perfect! Light & simple,  and I knew where I could get all the materials – MICHAELS! (my home away from home).


- Silver spray paint (had this on hand) $0

- Mosaic mirrors, they come in a pack of 25 in three sizes smaller than 1 inch $2.50 each *4= $10

- skewers (like the kind you cook kabobs on!) $4 – I think I used 36

- Mirror for the center $3

- Hot glue and gun $0

Total $17

After picking up all my supplies I started sticking the skewers in a piece of styrofoam I had from a recently purchase blender, so  I could spray all around the skewers without having to touch them.  Two coats later I was ready to start gluing.

I started by tracing the center mirror on a piece of cardboard and cutting it out.  If I wanted the mirror to look more “store-bought” I probably would use wood, but since that would make it heavier and I don’t have a saw – cardboard it was!

I used my eyeball it method and one of the skewers as a ruler to break the cardboard into 16 sections (I didn’t take a picture of this, but I’m sure you can image a circle broken into 16 parts!)

Then I got to work hot gluing the skewers to the cardboard back, alternating how far I glued the skewer in so the mirror wouldn’t be perfectly even.

I couldn’t think of a better way to secure the top, center mirror – so I squeezed a ton of hot glue all over, and placed the mirror on top. *Note: two months later it’s still hanging strong!

Now for the time consuming fun part! I glued 100 of those tiny mosaic mirrors (averaging 3 to each skewer)- making sure nothing was symmetrical, and there were no repeating patterns.

Since I couldn’t exactly nail a picture wall mount to the cardboard, I went with plan B, hot glue! The whole mirror  is so light that I wasn’t afraid of the glue not holding.

I couldn’t resist hanging the finished product on my wall to see how it looked – and decided I had to make one for myself!

LOVE! I may have gone a little overboard with the mirrors, but I love how they reflect light around the room.

For the mirror I made to keep, I added  a simple circle cut out from foam to frame the (larger) center mirror, but everything else is the same!

Who likes painting?!

Growing up, my mom always let us paint our bedrooms.  Which means, at one point I had a ROYAL blue and YELLOW room (including the shoe molding around the floor, who lets a 10-year-old paint their floor trim royal blue – my mom!). Now my old bedroom is currently feather dusted white and pastel pink.  EVERYTHING used to be feather dusted in our house – if you’ve never seen feather dusting, you take an actual feather duster, dip it in paint, and stamp it on the wall. Super textured! And my mom loved it.

I guess I can thank my parents for my “painting attitude”.  I’ve never been afraid of painting ANY color on the walls, since I know with a little work, you can quickly paint over the old paint if you hate it!  In fact, my college roommates and I looked at over FIFTY places to rent because we wanted to paint our bedrooms, turning down some beautiful places. You live and you learn.

Now that we live in an apartment, anything that you paint has to be returned to primer white before you move out.

The extra work might deter some people, but not us!

I didn’t really like the darkness of the green, so we tried blue.

As you can tell, it’s definitely not a soothing color. (honestly, don’t know why we ever thought this color would work for a bedroom!)

Currently, our bedroom is the lighter blue-green that it is in the glue-tastic diy project but I’m sure that will change once we move.

The best part of painting – with an hour or two of work, you can completely transform a space without spending big bucks.  Thankfully Nick is here now to steer me away from royal blue and yellow color choices.  Oh, and to paint the trim, I dislike hate painting around the floor and ceiling. I would much rather eyeball it and hope for the best, but I’m sure you can imagine how that turns out!

Nick and I even had help last time we painted :)

Apparently paint smells good (?) , and Cooper couldn’t resist investigating…


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