Archives For August 2011

I went out of town last week to visit my PawPaw and his wife, Edith, in Amarillo, Texas. They knew that my parents were coming, but my sister and I surprised them by showing up as well. None of us had seen them since my wedding two years ago. It was so fun to surprise them like that and we had a really great time spending four whole days together!

PawPaw is the original DIY’er on this side of the family. Here he is with his woodworking tools he brought all the way from south Louisiana to squeeze onto their apartment balcony. He used to have a whole shop full of big ol’ tools and I remember hanging out in there while he puttered around.

PawPaw and Edith live in a really nice apartment building full of retired folks. Whenever we spent time there I kept finding myself distracted by some of the most awesome midcentury furniture and decor. I snapped photos whenever I could to remember the things that stood out to me the most. Some of these pics are from my iphone, since I didn’t always have my camera handy slash didn’t want to explain to people why I was taking pictures of their furniture.

Is this chair not awesome? It was soooo comfy too. And in near perfect condition.

I really liked this rocking chair too. I think it would be really nice in a bedroom or nursery. I’m even a fan of the color! That pinkish peachish coral-like shade is totally my cup of tea.

Apparently my great-great-Aunt-Jo created this oil painting. Wish I could inherit it because it’s 100% delightful.

This was in the apartment of this really hilarious lady Edith and PawPaw are friends with. It’s her spoon collection! But isn’t it awesome? I love how they’re all laid out in that starburst-like pattern on a black background and put behind glass. Takes it from cheesy collection to point of interest. I’m seriously considering recreating it on a smaller scale.

Here’s some more granny chic goodness I found via Pinterest…

Pinterest | Source

OMG. What a crazy genius way to use scraps of patterned fabric.

Pinterest | Source

I would never have the guts to actually get a pink sofa in real life, much less pair it with a green wall, but I love it. Plus I’m obsessed with all those pillows.

And can I just tell you that I am thisclose to teaching myself embroidery? I feel like it’s the next frontier of handicrafts for me.

I feel like if I had discovered my love for all things vintage and granny I would’ve totally been a hipster in college. It’s kind of hard to become a hipster after 25, since I’m kind of set in my ways and all. And I’m not really cool enough. Plus now that I drive an SUV it’s probably completely ruled out.

We had tons of yellow fabric left over after crafting those delightful flowers for my friend Sarah’s apartment, so I decided to try recreating a necklace I’ve been coveting from Etsy shop Pretty Things by Meg.

We’d stopped at Michael’s earlier to pick up some tacky glue for the flowers, and since this idea had been brewing in my head I went ahead and picked up some jewelry chain and a necklace clasp, as well. Fortunately, my friend Cassie is a jewelry-making expert (she’s even dabbled in doing it professionally) and helped me pick out what I needed.

I started out by cutting a long strip of yellow fabric (I just cut it the whole width of the fabric). I think I made it about 4-5″ wide, but I really just sort of eyeballed it. I think I may have actually made mine a little too wide, so if you’re following along at home you may want to go a bit narrower.

I folded my fabric in half lengthwise, then got down to figuring out what to do next.

It took me a while to figure out how to attach the chain. I thought about just attaching it to each end of the fabric, but worried that would put too much strain on the ruffles. I tried sewing a pocket in the top of the ruffles, but that meant my chain would get ruffled as well (necessitating a LOT more chain). Finally, I settled on using a needle and thread to literally sew the chain onto my fabric as I ruffled it. Difficult to explain, but maybe the pictures will help.

I would sew a few long stitches in the fabric, then take the thread through a link of chain and tug. Since I would sew a few inches of fabric for every few links of chain, there was more fabric than chain per inch after I pulled the thread tight, making a delightful little ruffle.

It’s worth nothing that I had 36″ of chain and left about 12″ hanging off before the fabric started, giving me plenty of freedom to adjust the length later on. I kept sewing and ruffling until I had what seemed like a good length to drape across my neckline (about 5 inches worth of ruffled fabric). I just kept holding it up and looking in the mirror until it seemed right, so definitely just experiment and see what works for you. I tied off the thread and snipped the excess fabric.

Cassie, jewelry extraordinaire, helped me snip the excess chain and add a clasp and jump ring (that larger hoop that the clasp hooks onto). She even added a little extra bit of chain so that I could adjust the length if I wanted to. I totally wish that I could tell you all how to do this but I have no idea. It looked like she was mostly just using needlenose pliers and a pair of wire snips, though, so I think it’s totally doable if you’re interested in figuring it out.

And voila!

And now for the tragic tale. It was about 11pm and I was not looking my best by the time the necklace was done, so a picture of me modeling it right away just was not doable. A few days later I put on a little makeup and my new favorite necklace to get a picture of it in action. After a few pictures I decided that the self-portrait angle just was not doing my chin any favors. Nick wasn’t home to help, so I placed my camera atop a tower of books and photo frames propped in a windowsill (for optimum light). Everything was coming along swimmingly and I was about to get the nicest picture of me and my new necklace when Pistachio came charging out of nowhere and leapt to the windowsill, which is totally normal catlike behavior and no cause for alarm except that SHE KNOCKED DOWN MY CAMERA!

To be fair, I have dropped my camera several times in the past three years, and it needed to be replaced soon anyway, but I was hoping to save up and replace it on my own terms. Unfortunately, this fateful fall seems to have done it in. I haven’t been able to turn it on since.

On the bright side, I was able to get my pictures off of it. This is the last picture I took before it fell to its death.

I think I need to trim the fabric to be a little narrower, but other than that I’m so so so so pleased. This necklace will be absolutely perfect for LSU football season.

And you know what else? I had a complete meltdown about my camera, with crying and everything, but my mom called me right in the middle of it and offered me a camera she’s not using anymore. She bought it when she was still working in real estate and it has–get this–a wide angle lens! How perfect is that for taking pictures of my house? I’ll be able to fit so much more of the room into each shot. I’m really excited. Here’s hoping it still does the trick for photographing step-by-step craft projects like this one! I’m still playing around with it, but hopefully y’all will get to see some pretty wide-angle shots of my little house soon!

I’m so excited to be featuring my first ever guest post! I’m trying to catch up on some stuff here at home after traveling out of town for three weekends in a row and my friend Caroline offered to write a post about an adorable mobile she just made for her baby boy. Read below to see how she crafted this awesome mobile using patterned paper and photographs!

But first, isn’t her little boy adorable?


Hello readers of Living Well on the Cheap! Since Charlotte has decided to play hooky, I’ve decided to take over for the day! I’m here to share a recent project that I took on for my new little addition, Stephen. He has an adorable crib but we haven’t been able to find a mobile to really fit the bill. And then low and behold, on my google reader, I came across this post from Photojojo and I instantly thought “YAY!”.

Note to dear readers: Please forgive the TERRIBLE photographs. Due to using an iPhone for pictures, lack of space, and a one month old who constantly interrupted my progress, the pictures are less than…picturesque.

Materials that I used (it’s a little different from the original directions):

  • Mobile pattern (you can get it off the website…it’s a PDF you can print out)
  • Craft paper
  • photographs
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue (the original directions say to use a glue gun…I don’t have one so I used a glue stick that seems to have worked well)

1. Cut out the mobile pattern that you want to use. You’ll notice on the PDF that there are two different sizes. I used the larger of the two.

2. Cut out the circles on the craft paper. You’ll need 20 of them. I used 20 different types of craft paper because I’m indecisive like that (trust me…minimizing it down to just 20 was an issue).

3. You can do this part one of two ways: the way the instructions tell you to or the way I did it. I folded the mobile pattern into a triangle (using the dashes on the pattern). Then, I placed the triangle in the center of each craft paper circle and just folded the circle around the triangle. Do this to all of the circles.

4. If you have paper punches, this would be the time to use them. Or, if you are like me and don’t, then cut out various shapes in the middle of the triangle you’ve folded into the circles (that makes no sense at all!). I have a handy dandy exacto knife so that’s what I used. Glue or tape the photographs on the back of the circles so that the picture peeks through the shape cut into the triangle.

5. Separate the circles into three groups: one of 10, two groups of 5. Taking the group of ten, line them up side by side, alternating point up and then point down. Glue these together in the line. Once they are all attached, glue the two ends together to create a ring.

6. Take the first group of 5. Glue all of these so that the points are up. Do the same with the second group. These will form the top and bottom of your mobile.

6. Glue the top and bottom to your middle ring. TA DAH!

Now, go wash the glue off your hands.

Is that not adorable? And since Caroline and her family live about 1200 miles away from Stephen’s grandparents, aunts, and uncles, it’s a great way to make the faces of loved ones familiar. To read more about Caroline, her little bundle of joy, and her general life adventures, check out her blog here.

I had so much trouble getting this post up for you all to see. I originally planned to publish it last Wednesday, the morning that I left on a plane to visit my PawPaw in Amarillo, Texas. Fate just wasn’t keen on the idea and for three days straight I kept making mistake after mistake in editing and scheduling it. Finally, I’m back home and able to publish this lovely post about crafting fabric flowers with two lovely ladies over a bottle of wine.

For two years in a row Nick has gone to visit friends in Houston in late summer for some fantasy football nonsense, and for two years in a row I have taken advantage of the free ride to visit my friend Sarah, who moved from Baton Rouge to Houston in Spring 2010. I love getting to catch up with her, visit Ikea, and pretend like I live in a chic, modern apartment in the city. This year my friend Cassie came too! Cassie and I are both married ladies so it was fun to gallivant around town with single girl Sarah and pretend we were cool and chic and routinely stay up past ten o’clock.

During our trip to Ikea last year, Sarah was intrigued by the small Ribba shadow box frame. She wasn’t sure what she would do with it so she just got one and figured she could go back to get more if she came up with a project.

When I returned a year later the frame was still sitting empty and shrink-wrapped all alone, but Sarah had a plan! She’d been intrigued by my fabric flower pillow and had the idea to fill three frames with DIY fabric flowers. Isn’t she so creative? The next day at Ikea we picked up a yard each of a cheerful yellow cotton and some translucent silver fabric for a grand total of only $6. When we got to the frames department, though, the frames like the one she had at home were nowhere to be found. Fortunately, Sarah and Cassie spotted some on a wall display and asked an employee, who said that the small frames had been discontinued. Total bummer until we heard him say that she could buy the display frames “as is.” And guess what the as-is price was? Two dolla each. Holla. We got two frames to add to the one Sarah already had at home and decided to craft flowers in three different styles to fill the frames.

It was dark outside by the time we got tired of lounging by Sarah’s awesome complex pool and eating delicious Tex-Mex, so please forgive the nighttime pics.

Flower #1: Ruffled and Rolled

Sarah cut 3″ strips of the yellow and silver fabric and folded each in half, then layered them together (using pins to secure). She used a needle and thread to make a long running stitch along the rough (not folded) edge, pulling the thread taut periodically to ruffle. When she got to the end of the strip she tied her thread off and rolled the ruffled strip up into a flower shape, using a few stitches and some tacky glue to secure.

Flower #2: Layered Petal Goodness

Cassie cut lots of random petal shapes from both types of fabric, varying the size and shape slightly for interest. She cut out about 15 of each color, then started layering them randomly on top of each other, using first yellow petals and then silver. She hand sewed a few stitches every couple petals or so to secure. After getting all the petals on there, she pinched the center of the flower in half from below and sewed a few stitches, then folded it the other way and sewed a few more, giving the once-flat flower some dimension. It’s too bad I didn’t get more pictures of the process because it really was such a creative concept, and so simple at the same time!

Flower #3: Gathered Flower

I shamelessly copied this technique from Emily at Jones Design Company. She’s a fabric flower genius. I cut 4 5″x3″ and 4 3″x3″ squares from the yellow fabric, then folded each in half and trimmed the sides to create a shape resembling the number 8. Once I had four large and four small petals, I sewed a few stitches across the middle using needle and thread, tugging it tight and tying it off to cinch the center of the petal. With all my petals cinched, I layered them on top of each other (first large, then small), securing each layer with glue. I finished it off with a small bead glued in the center.


We flipped over the paper inserts inside the frames (revealing a perfectly-sized blank page) and glued a flower to the center of each, then left to dry overnight. Here we are the next morning with our creations! This was right before we dashed out for breakfast a la Taco Cabana. One of the many joys of visiting Houston. (from left to right that’s Cassie, me, and Sarah)

Sarah chose to group the frames on a blank wall between her kitchen and entry. Aren’t they adorbs (the flowers AND the girls)?

Here they are close up.

I had soooo much fun on this trip. This is the first time since probably adolescence that I’ve done crafts as a social activity and I realized I’d forgotten how fun it can be! Makes me wanna have a monthly craft night with friends!

Thank y’all so much for your patience with my blog issues last week. It had nothing to do with WordPress or anything else outside of my control–just over-scheduling and poor planning on my part! I feel committed to putting up a quality post every weekday and I promise that I am back on track now. Thank you for coming here to visit my little corner of the interweb. You all have no idea how much you inspire and motivate me every day. You’re the best!