Monday, June 30, 2008

Before and After Thrift Store find

Before and After Pictures

My Thrift Store Find



Exactly what I did:

  • First I washed the pillow and laid it out in the sun for the day.

  • The chair was sanded and spray painted glossy black. Since this chair swivels, I sprayed some lubricant on the movable parts.

  • The chair pad was then re-covered.

I purchased a few yards of fabric (used my 50% coupon) and paid less than $15.00 for the 2 yards. I pinned the fabric around the pillow, right sides together. From there I cut away the excess fabric. When I was pretty sure that it would be a good fit, I pulled out the pillow. I sewed up around the edges, pulled it right side out and hand sewed the opening.

Total cost for completed chair:

About $28.00. For this money, I think I got a great chair.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Help with the Photo CD coasters

Help With the CD Coasters

I have received lots of email from readers who were particularily interested in making the Photo CD coasters.

Please see:

I mentioned that you could download free photo software from:

It's free, easy to use (with a little practice), quick to install and boot up. My daughter introduced me to this software and showed me a great little trick. Use a color photo, change it to black & white, and keep one item colored. Many of you emailed me about this so I decided to provide my own directions. Here is what it does.
Above is the before photo.

Here is the photo after. Notice I left "one" football jersey orange. I could have left them all orange has well. This is just one great feature that the software offers. Here are the directions.

  • Download the free software
  • Get yourself a colored photo and put it onto your desktop where you know exactly where it is.
  • Open Photofiltre
  • Go to FILE, click on open. You should now be looking at your photo.
  • Go to SELECTION and click SELECT ALL
  • Now RIGHT CLICK on your photograph and click INVERT SELECTION
  • Go To the right of the software and grab the lasso (you know the one, it looks like what the cowboys use)
  • Bring that over to the part you want to color . Use the cursor and outline the item. Please don't worry about getting it perfect, the software will fix it for you in the end. Just try to get it the best you can and the most accurate.
  • Go the the top tools and click FILTER, Go down to COLOR, go over to grayscale.
  • Now go up again to the top and click on SELECTION, go down to HIDE SELECTION

You are now finished. I love this look on the coasters.

Here is another site that show you step by step instructions.

This free software also does so much more. I'm still experimenting with it and having some fun.

I hope this helps all of you that had questions about this software. Please feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Covering Pillows For A New Look

There is so much you can do with fabric. The selections in the fabric store are diverse in terms of design and texture. The local fabric/craft store here (Joann's) drops a coupon for 50% off on one cut of fabric almost every week. This allows me to save so much money and give one area of my house a completely different look.

I have four chairs on my porch. The pillows that are needed for this set are round. It's almost as though round seat pillows don't exist and I haven't been able to find them in years. There was only one solution-make my own. It's a challenge in some repects, but with patience and some sewing skills it can be done.

First I drew out a circle onto a piece of paper. The circle had to fit correctly onto the chair and it had to be 1/2 an inch larger for a seam. I decided that the pillows should be open on the bottom so I could slip out the foam and wash the covers easily. This required cutting the bottom template even larger. I purchased four, 3" thick foam squares, applied my template and cut out my circles.

Then cut four perfect fabric circles-18" plus 1/2 have an inch for a seam.

-cut four three inch bands and added a 1/2 inch on either side (total=4")

-cut 8 half circles for the bottom, adding 1/2 inch for a seam

-constructed and sewed my pillows together without sewing together the half moons on the bottom so I could easily remove the covers to wash.
I added the little back pillow to make the chair more comfortable and give it some more character. Since these pillows will get lots of use, I re-sewed all seems for extra security.Above is a photo of all the bands being cut out.
Above are two completed chairs.
Here is the set all finished. I have spray painted all the furniture and recovered all the pillows, although these I had to make from scratch. The other set of wicker on this porch also had the pillows recovered and spray painted. Everything has been finished and the porch has a new look. The fabric I used for these four chairs cost me under $30.00 with the coupon. Great price for a "new" look.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Creating A Kitchen Nook

You don't realize all the quirks that are in your new home until you've lived there for a few years. When my home was built, they placed the stove top in the open. In other words, when you make red sauce it splatters onto the chair in the den. It never made any sense to me but I wasn't the one who designed this place. I finally decided to address the issue by building a breakfast nook. It serves two purposes-it catches the splatters and provides a great little area to have breakfast or lunch.
The photo above shows the bar with two chairs. I purchased a four foot long piece of solid Oak in Home Depot. The board cost me $50.00. A lot of money, but a beautiful piece of wood that was very visable in the room. I cut a curve at the end of the board so there would be no sharp edges. I sanded the oak, stained it and applied several coats of clear polyurethane. This little bar was going to see plenty of action so the more coats of poly, the better.
I actually had these decorative wood brackets in my basement so I faux painted them to match my cabinet.
I also had the wood molding shown above which I "velcroed" to the counter so it could easily be removed for cleaning.

From this photo you can really appreciate where the stove top is and how I had to battle all the splatters. Now, it's not a problem . The chairs I looked long and hard for. I finally found them, brought them home and realized they were too tall. I had a very neighbor hack off the feet so the chairs would sit right under the bar. I placed rubber foot protectors on them to protect the hard wood floors.

A great solution to a problem.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Being Creative

A few years ago I decided it was time to buy a new headboard for my bed. I wanted something very special and was fortunate enough to find the perfect piece. The day it was delivered I was not at home so I had my brother in law handle the delivery. When I arrived home later I discovered that two of the four wood "posters" where dented. I called the company and they delivered two new ones the next day. Fortunately for me they left me with the two original ones. So what could I do with these pieces? They were too nice to throw away so I took some time to think about it and this is what I came up with.

Each post unscrewed into three pieces. A finial on the top, the long fluted section in the middle and a decorative carved piece on the bottom. I decided that I would make a two tables with the long pieces and two lamps with the bottom
Here is the table completed. I purchased two pine rounds at Home Depot (under $10.00) and the bottom piece I found at the craft store. I used a painting technique referred to as marbling. It's suppose to really look like marble when all done. This involves painting the wood solid black and adding shades of blue -green. After it dries you take a feather, drink 10 cups of coffee and make little, fine irregular lines. The coffee really helps here! A clear, glossy coat to finish it up.

I had enough to make two tables which now sit in front of two separate windows in the bedroom.
Next were the lamps. I have a friend who does some handyman work and he helped me drill a very, very long hole through the wood. I needed this hole so the wiring could come from the bottom all the way to the top.
I added harps and shades and placed them on either side of my bed (not pictured here). It takes some time to think these things up, but the end results were gratifying and functional. Oh, and did I mention "thrifty". 01 02 12

Friday, June 13, 2008

Today's Thrift Store Finds


Another hot day in Atlanta! Too hot to go out and too hot to stay in. All the more reason to visit the local thrift store for some bargains and new projects. The beautiful vase above, which certainly fits into my decor, was only six bucks! Not a chip, scratch or flaw on it.


This custom framed print with three layers of matte board was only $12.00. The frame has a few nicks and scratches so I'll have to do some work on it. It's just a matter of sanding it a little and then giving it a coat of paint. This sweet little print has three bears with hats that say "Harrods". If you have ever been fortunate enough to take a trip to London, you know that Harrods is a huge department store which happens to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city. It has 7 floors, 300 departments, 20 restaurants and bars and averages 35,000 shoppers per day. A very busy place! I love this print and really appreciate the fact that I got it so cheaply. It's signed by the artist, Elspeth McCreadie, but I'm not able to find any information on her. If anyone has ever heard of her, please let me know. It saddens me that people throw these things away, but I'm happy to give it a new home.


Four little ramekins in stellar condition. A perfect addition to the table when serving up some Mexican food.


My favorite find for the day is this chair. It swivels and reclines and will go great in my son's living area. I'm going to sand this, paint it brown and cover the pillow with a funky animal print. Wait to you see it all done.

I'm adding the frame and chair to the long list of projects I currently have going. Hopefully I'll be able to muster up the ambition to complete them!

I really believe I could decorate an entire house with thrift store finds.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

What Can You Do With An Old Window.

Here's an old window that I took from my home in New Jersey. We replaced it many years ago and I kept the old window in hopes that some day I would find something to do with it. I finally pulled it out of the basement a few weeks ago.

I have a long, narrow screened in porch with the perfect place to hang it. The idea is that if you have a mirror hanging on one side of a wall across from another window, it will reflect the light and give the illusion that the room is bigger. This really works! I had a friend many years ago that had a very long, narrow kitchen with one large window and a wall right across from it. She hung 6 small farm windows on the opposite wall and her room actually looked larger.

I took out the glass and replaced it with mirror. I actually found a cheap mirror in Lowe's for $9.95 (the kind you hang on a door) and cut it into squares. The window was then sanded and painted. I used small squares of some great decorative tissue and Mod Podged them onto the perimeter frame. The centers of the frame were painted green using acrylic paint. I brushed on a clear coat sealer to protect it.
When you look at this window, you see the reflection of the opposite screened in area. When you now enter this porch, it really looks bigger!
Here is a closer photo of the Mod Podge/tissue on the frame.
These old windows seem to be very popular these days, available in thrift stores and sometimes garage sales. Sometimes you can get them very cheap and other times I've seen them marked up way too high. They are "old", used windows after all.
Originally I was thinking about creating a photo table or even a piece of wall art. Both these ideas appealed to me, but I decided this would suit my current needs.
Fortunately, I have a few more hidden downstairs. 01 02 12

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Photo CD Coasters

There are so many great ideas out there in cyberspace. I love looking around and finding ideas that I can use myself. I have mentioned before. They look around at other blogs and pick the best ideas to bring to all of us.

I found this a few weeks ago and couldn't wait to try it. Thanks to Anitra's coffee-pot-people blog for this great craft idea. I've tried it out and am real happy with the results. My directions may differ a little, but the end product is the same.

Here is what you will need.

  • Old CD's or DVD's and some great family/friend photographs. You can scan some old photo's as well.
  • A computer and good printing paper
  • Printer
  • Adhesive spray
  • Clear, stick on vinyl (I purchased mine in Joann's Craft store in the fabric/notions department
  • Good, sharp scissors

Thanks to my youngest child (age 15) I just downloaded a great FREE photo program. It's very user friendly and gives you the ability to turn your digital photos into real art work. You can try it yourself: .

I used this photo program to make my color photos black & white and was able to turn only one specific part a color. I really love that effect on a photograph.

Start by printing out a photograph. Make sure it is large enough to cover a standard CD/DVD-about 5", but measure yours to be safe.

Print out the photograph ( here is mine below).
Get your old CD/DVD ready for "glue" spraying. I suggest putting down a piece of newspaper because that glue goes everywhere. Quickly spray the CD and apply your photo to the sticky side. Make sure it is aligned and centered. That's a little tricky, but I managed. Take that CD off of the newspaper with the photo attached right a way otherwise, you will have the newspaper stuck to the back. (don't worry if this happens, you can just cut it away.Here is my CD stuck to the back of the photograph. Now take good, sharp scissors and cut around the CD. Trim, trim, get a nice clean edge.
Here is all that trimming going on.

Now get your clear vinyl. Pull apart the stick -on vinyl from it's paper and apply onto the top of the photograph. Rub it onto the disk with your fingers and trim. Don't worry if there are a few small wrinkles. You will be ironing them out so the disk becomes "laminated."
Next, fire up your iron onto a medium, wool setting. When it's all heated up, place paper over your disk and hold down the iron for 8 seconds. Then move that iron around all over your disk. Your photograph is now laminated. This will protect the photograph from drinks that you will later place on your coaster.Mark the felt, cut it out and apply to the bottom of the CD/coaster.

Here are three finished coasters. Notice the one on the lower left. I used the new photo program to make the flowers on the hat colored. The rest of the picture is black and white. I happen to be fond of B&W photos, but color would probably look very nice as well.

Some ideas for these coasters:

  • Great gifts for friends, family and especially for teenagers. They love collecting photos of their friends, so why not give them as a gifts.
  • A great summer craft for teens to do. Instead of spending all day on Facebook or Myspace, they can download their photos and get to work.
  • I'm pretty sure you could drill into the disks (no, I haven't tried it yet) to make them hangable.
  • Wall art! I could see these CD's filled with family photographs and applied to to a wall as a "border". What better way to let everyone view your family vacations, graduations, etc...In this case, you would not have to apply the felt and could use Velcro squares to hang each one.

An easy craft to accomplish and fairly inexpensive to do. I already had the spray glue, the CD's and the printer paper. I had to purchase the contact paper and adhesive felt which didn't cost much.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Thrift Store Makeover

I'm back from a wonderful and restful vacation at the beach. The week was great despite the four foot long shark that appeared at my feet in the water. I have to tell you that I have never seen a shark in the ocean before this! It's a first and hopefully the last for me.

It didn't stop me from enjoying the ocean though. Not even Mr. Shark would keep me from enjoying that water!

I'm back now and ready to finish up some unfinished projects and of course, clean the house, do some laundry, get some shopping done and deal with the three "finished with school" teenagers.

Today I bring you a Thrift Store Makeover. I found these three "candy" containers or canisters for $2.50 at the local thrift store. They would work great for my daughter's college apartment. She needed a place to store coffee, sugar and tea bags. They were in perfect condition. Three glass containers with plain wood lids and a little rack to keep them in position.
Since these were going to be in a "young" persons apartment, I decided to hand paint them with colorful, fun look. I used a pencil to draw out the designs and painted them with acrylics.
When they were all dried, I sprayed them with a high gloss clear coat. My daughter was delighted with them. Just another great find for a very "thrifty" price.

Today I was looking around the Pier One website and they had a great page on "how to decorate above your cabinets." This topic comes up a lot on the decorating forums. Everyone is always looking for inspiration and this article gives some great ideas to work with. If you are looking for a fresh new look check this out: 02 12