Welcome to my blog!

Up until recently I blogged mostly based on local photos about my neighborhood or Washington DC or other places I visited. But I took a break from the blog for a few months and find myself now posting about crafts and sewing projects I have done or are doing, with most involving recycling, re-use and other frugalities. I've left up the previous blogs. May your days be blessed with miracles, surprises and creativity too!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Cheapo Chalkboard for the Kitchen

Inspired by all the chalk paint projects on Pinterest, I decided we needed to have a blackboard in the kitchen for lists and notes and stuff.  So I picked up a cardboard-backed picture at a Salvation Army thrift store for $4.99 and lugged it home. After giving it a good clean -- and it was very dusty -- I took apart the picture from the frame, pulling out the very old and rusty nails that held the picture to the frame. After re-gluing the frame corners with E6000 super glue as they too were on the old and rickety side,  I then sprayed several coats of some left-over green paint on the frame, letting them dry overnight. Then using the spray chalkboard black paint I coated the picture over several times, during the course of several days, letting them dry overnight. All of this I did outside as the fumes were plentiful. I then re-glued and tacked the image back into the frame and hung it up in the kitchen for our use. The hardest part of this project was hanging this at the right height so we could easily write on it without it wobbling about!  It's great to have a chalkboard in the kitchen for shopping lists, notes, etc.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Wreath Made of old Rags and Fabric Scraps

This wreath is made completely out of scrap materials, including the frame made of twisted wires braided together. I tied on loads of ribbons made from little pieces of fabric left over from other sewing projects. For instance, since I've lost about 25 pounds in weight over the past 18 months and gone from a size 10 to a size 4 (!), I've had to take in the side seams on many dresses, tops and blouses over these past two seasons. In some cases, there are hems I've had to cut off also as skirts have gotten shorter lately or I've had to hack and trim to make things proportional. Other fabric pieces are just left-overs from some other sewing projects as I bust through my fabric stash making pillows, blankets, cloths, bags, table napkins, and children's clothes.  I don't even hem or finish the scraps for this wreath, I just make sure they are long enough to at least knot once around the wire frame. Now it's finished this wreath is hanging up in the kitchen but I'm thinking of putting it on the front door later in December as the colors seem kind of wintry.  I suppose I could add some Christmassy things to it -- maybe some shiny silver baubles I recently made by spray painting used light bulbs, or a big red ribbon -- but I'll think about that. But it's nice to make use of some fabric bits that would otherwise have ended up in landfill. And I can still keep tying bits of fabric over what's already here and change it's colors that way.  Sort of a continuous wreathing project..... And I move it around a bit.  This week it's hanging on the back of the kitchen door.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Easy Peasy Pencil Pen Scissor Holder

This little project took me almost no time at all, except for the paint drying part. It starts with a nuts can -- cashews, peanuts, mixed nuts come in this packaging. Once you've eaten the nuts (!) rinse and dry out the can. Take off the plastic lid and spray paint the can with whatever leftover colored paint you have. I used the apple green left over from some other projects. While the paint is drying, punch half a dozen slits in the plastic lid with a scissors blade and then cut across them to make X-shaped openings into which you will push pens, pencils, scissors, etc.   Once the paint is dry, you can decorate the outside of the can however you like -- in this case I had some gold-colored duct tape (an amazing product you should snap up every time you see it on sale in the Dollar Store or a hardware store).  I then weighted the can with some stones and put the lid on it and stuck in the pens and pencils.  Hey presto change, another item kept out of the landfill and made useful in my kitchen through recycling and re-use.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Transforming Cargo Pants into Small Cargo Bag

There seem to be a lot of jeans in the fabric stash, so once again I stitched together a bag using an old pair of my son's khaki cargo pants that were horribly worn in the knees and way too small for him.  I just hacked off the pieces that had the wonderful big pockets on them and made those the sides of the bag after opening up the pant seams and stitching two big pieces together.  I then made a strap out of the rest of the leftover fabric and found another piece of fabric in my fabric stash to make a lining. This fabric was something I'd hacked off the bottom of a pink dress that I had remade into a shorter version -- you can tell I hang onto all kinds of bits of fabric!  I then embellished this bag with some brown grosgrain ribbon left over from some other project and stitched in some Velcro snaps in the top so the bag could be closed. And, hey presto chango, I had a small cargo bag.  Now, this became a gift to my sister who thought it very useful to carry all those extra things she wants to take to work with her, like shoes, or make-up or lunch.  She noted that the outside pockets were great for cell phones or keys.  I said "the whole thing is washable too!"  I just love hacking through my fabric stash with these types of useful recycling projects!
Pink floral lining and Velcro "snaps" at top of bag

Spray Painting Trash Into Treasure

Several months ago I picked out of the trash from the alleys around here a little round wooden table and a plant holder. I've been hanging on to them and nearly threw them back out again (nope, I'm not one of them TV hoarders!) except I got some pink spray paint recently on sale ($2 a can!) and just knew what to do with it. After a quick wipe down, over about three days I spray painted these items outside with about three coats of paint, letting them dry overnight.  I put these items out on my front porch to join the other colorful chairs and plants there.  I'm quite happy about this recycle-reuse activity as I really did need a little table on the porch for cups of tea and cookies and that plant really did need someplace to belong other than the floor. That's the trick to not being a hoarder, you just have to do something with it right away!