Archives For November 2011

About two days after ordering my new sofa, I discovered that I had no business doing such a thing. Faced with state budget cuts, my wonderful boss had a choice to either lay off one third of her staff or to cut pay by 10% across the board and reduce the amount she contributes to the cost of our health coverage. She chose door #2. Sooooo, maybe I shouldn’t have just spent $500 on a couch, but I had saved up for it and the deed was done anyway, so no use crying over lovely white sofas already on their way to my door. I did decide, though, that I would try to make my Christmas more cost-effective.

One of the ways I minimized stress and spending last year was by avoiding wrapping paper like…I don’t know, I don’t have a simile here. I used brown craft paper instead and put my energy into adorning each box with a pretty bow. My biggest expense, though, was ribbon, and it did add up. So this year I decided I would only use things I already have. I’ve got some ribbon left over from last year, but I’ll be getting creative in what else I use to pretty up my boxes. Here’s my first endeavor in crafting something pretty out of crap I already had lying around:

I present to you, the wax paper pouf.

Sorry I didn’t take a more glamorous picture of it. I probably should have stuck it on a fake box or something to give you some context. If you can’t tell, it’s about the size of my fist and just purrrfect for adding charm to a brown paper package tied up with string. I added the cat reference there because it would also make a lovely cat toy. Here’s how I made it. First, I gathered my supplies. Wax paper, string, amd scissors. You could use wire instead of string, but the string was handy so I just went with it.

Roll out two roughly square pieces of wax paper.

Cut them each in half.

And in half again, giving you a stack of eight small squares. I had to trim mine a little bit to get it looking more square-ish. No biggie.

Stack your squares neatly and then begin folding them all up together like an accordion.

Then, trim the ends to the shape you desire. You can make them rounded for a softer look, or pointed for something a little more funky. I went with rounded edges.

Tie a bit of string, or twist a bit of wire, around the middle. No need to squish.

With your wire or string holding it all together in the center, start spreading out your folds.

This is the most important part. Carefully peel up one layer of paper on each side. Do a really good job of pulling it up nice and straight because you don’t want the dividing line to be obvious later.

Don’t follow my example here. I should have done a better job of pulling them up all the way, because I had to do some squishing later to camouflage the center.

Then, just keep pulling up layers. I knew I’d be using this on a gift so I kept the back flat, but if you think you might want to make a garland or hang them in the air be sure to distribute your fluffiness evenly all around.

And finally, ta-da! My completed pouf. Took only a few minutes and zero dollars.

There’s a bit of string sticking out the back side that I could tie some fishing line to and hang it up, if I so desired. Or, I could use a needle to thread a bunch on a piece of thread to make a garland. Lots of possibilities here!

Since I’ll be using this on a gift, I’ll probably just stick it on there with a bit of hot glue. And speaking of hot glue, I’ve always struggled with getting tape to adhere well to craft paper in the past, so I’m thinking I may use hot glue this year instead. More money saved, since I have a giant bag of hot glue sticks in my crafting stash and I always have to run out to get tape at the beginning of the holiday season.

I made like five of these in thirty minutes while watching TV. I’ve got a ton more ideas for decorating boxes with stuff I’ve already got, so I’m really excited to see how it all turns out. I’ll probably make more poufs like this out of book pages and tissue paper. I wonder if it would even work with scrap pieces of fabric?

Look what showed up on Saturday!

Believe it or not, there’s a sofa in there! The smaller box held the slipcover. And remember all that talk about the $60 gift card I’d get thanks to Ikea’s sofa sale? BlueBag, the Ikea delivery company, just took that money right off my invoice total since they can put it towards stuff they purchase for other customers. Turns out, though, that BlueBag has increased their prices since the last time I shopped with them and they now charge an extra sixty bucks to deliver to your house (as opposed to picking up at their showroom in New Orleans). That’s okay with me because I worried before that they might go out of business with their old pricing system. I seriously thought about saving myself the delivery fee by going to New Orleans myself, but I figured I’d spend probably half that just in gas to get there and back, plus nearly three hours of my life would be wasted round trip, and I wasn’t even sure the dang thing would fit in my car. Nick and I decided that since the couch was discounted by the exact amount that delivery would cost it was meant to be. So we spent Saturday puttering around the house and let the delivery guys worry about driving in the rain.

We weren’t completely off the hook, though. We still had to put it together.

We found the instructions tucked into the springs on the bottom. In traditional Ikea fashion, they were needlessly complicated and unclear. We followed them only halfheartedly.

Really all we had to do was screw on the legs, unfold the main part of the couch (the seat and back were hinged together), and attach the arms. The hardest part was stuffing the cushions into the slipcovers.

Ta-da! But alas, do you notice something missing? There were no back cushions! We called the guys who delivered it to make sure they hadn’t left another box in the truck, but they said that everything should have been in the one box and that is must have been a packaging error on Ikea’s end. They said they’ll talk to Ikea and pick up some back cushions for us on this week’s trip to Ikea Houston.

This room is still a graveyard for unwanted things, like our old dishwasher and that purple end table with the paint peeling off. And I’d be lying if I told you that there isn’t still cardboard strewn everywhere from that giant box. But this couch has given me hope that someday it will be the relaxing and inviting space I’ve been dreaming of.

PS: Thank you all for your kind and supportive comments yesterday! To my complete shock and awe I woke up this morning to find that I’d already sold my first item! It’s shipping out today and I feel like a real life businesslady. Thanks for your support!

Good morning all! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was delightful. Nick and I went home to spend time with family and friends, then spent the weekend mostly hanging out together around the house. Somewhere in between eating leftovers and watching the Hallmark channel, I finished photographing items for my shop, uploaded and edited the photos, wrote descriptions, and set prices and shipping costs. Whew! I’m glad that I spread it all out over a few days so as not to feel overwhelmed. Just a few minutes ago I logged into etsy and clicked “publish,” effectively opening my shop for all the world to see. Care to take a gander?

Ahhhhh! I’m so excited! Just looking at it makes me want to go out thrifting for more treasures to sell. I know that there are tons of sellers on etsy and it may take a while for me to make a single sale, and that’s okay. I’m proud of myself just for taking the leap of faith. Also, I’m super nervous about being able to ship items quickly and efficiently (seeing as I work full time and all), so I’m okay if it takes a while for me to get to that step.

Thank y’all for being so supportive of me throughout this process. I don’t know if I would have done it if I didn’t have y’all telling me I could (plus the built-in accountability of having announced publicly that today would be d-day kept me from using fear and laziness as an excuse to delay it). Y’all are the best!

If you’re interested, you can check out my shop here. Feedback is welcome, as I’m a total newbie. Thanks again for reading my blog and being so awesome!

I can’t believe that another year has flown by and the holidays are already here! Over the next week or two I’ll be dragging all my Christmas decor out of storage and decking the halls. For the past two years Nick and I have snapped a family photo in front of the tree and sent out cards to friends and family. I’m really excited about this year’s photo. I’ve learned a lot about photography from this little ‘ol blog and this year’s photo will be taken with an actual camera and a tripod, as opposed to an iPhone and a friend (not that I’m not grateful to you, Cassie, for playing photographer the last two years!). In 2009 I knitted a Santa hat for Harold, complete with little bunny ear holes, and a sweater for Sheila. This was in our rental house with our tiny little fake tree.

2009

By the time last Christmas rolled around we were in our new house and had a new kitten, Pistachio. I was too busy decorating the real, live tree we got (and keeping the cats out of it) to bother with knitting accessories for three animals.

2010

I was considering knitting kitten mittens this year, what do you think? I’m kind of slow at knitting, maybe sewing or crochet would be quicker? And there’s always this for Juliet:

Amazon

I don’t know. Do you think it’s cruel to dress up pets? Sheila hated that sweater so much that I felt a little guilty, but not enough to stop me from sending a picture to everyone I know.

I’m taking the rest of this week off from posting to be with family. I hope that you are filled with gratitude tomorrow and always, and that your holiday season is kicked off with cheer. Happy Thanksgiving!