Button “Bouquets”

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I made a bunch of these button bouquets for a craft fair a few years ago (didn’t sell any).  I still have a few collecting dust at home and gave the rest away for Christmas presents that year.  This one is at my parents’ house.  The cool thing about it is that it has a bunch of vintage mother-of-pearl buttons from my grandmother’s nurse’s hats.  It has some tiny black beads in the little jar to hold it in with some small rocks on top.

ImageThis one is my favorite and sits on my mantle.  It’s in a cute little vintage pipe tobacco can. They’re super easy to make.  I used my needle nose pliers and a medium gage wire (heavy enough to maintain its shape but light enough to be manipulated and fit through the button holes).  I started off making a “trunk” with a few strands and left plenty of room at the top for the “branches”.  Then, I just found the buttons I wanted, strung them onto the wire, and twisted them up!  This one is held into the container with floral foam with some colored rocks glued on top.

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This one wasn’t made for a specific container, so I just topped it into this vase.  I like the red buttons and, properly placed in a room, can add some good chi in terms of feng shui.

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This one was also not made with a certain container in mind so I popped it into a brown bottle I had lying around.  It’s not very proportionate but it’s cute.

UPDATE:

I was checking out some other button bouquets on other blogs and found some great ones.  Here are my favorites:

http://justcallmemissdiy.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/button-bouquet/ – The woman profiled makes amazing bouquets… and the blog has tons of great ideas.

http://blog.mjtrim.com/2008/09/02/diy-button-bouquet/  – I love this store- there are so many cool ribbons and notions it’s hard to choose.

http://pumpkinandpye.com/2013/05/27/steampunk-wedding-bouquet/ – And this is my absolute favorite.  It’s not buttons, but the only thing better is steampunk!

I added ribbon to the “stems” of these two and it made them look pretty spiffy.  They’d make great boutineers, I think.

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Skirt/Pants Bags

photo-56I’ve been home with a sick boy for the past couple days so I was finally able to work on this project.  I got the idea from my friend’s Etsy store:  TheGreenCat (http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheGreenCat?ref=search_shop_redirect).  She upcycles anything and everything and is an amazing seamstress.  Me… not so much.  But I figured out how to use my sewing machine and nothing can stop me now!

photo-57This one was a thrift store find mini-skirt.  (Our Maggie certainly found it comfortable.)  I tried to contour the sides a little like they teach on the beginners sewing website, cutting it at a couple different angles and resewing until I ended up with a somewhat rounded bottom.  I put in a large snap closure and used the bottom of the skirt that I cut off to make the straps.  There was very little fabric left over, which I’m pretty proud of.

photo-58I really liked the pattern on this thrift store (what else) mini-skirt.  The other cool things about using pants or skirts, I discovered, is that the pockets can be preserved on the final product and who doesn’t love special compartments for their phone, keys, etc…  This particular skirt was cool because it had a pair of build in bike-shorts so it’s like it’s lined.  I did make sure to hand-sew over the zipper several times so that it wouldn’t accidentally unzip and spill someone’s stuff everywhere.

photo-59And this one is what kind of got me started.  I got a desperate text from my wife a couple weeks ago asking me to bring her new pants because hers had ripped (she won’t be mad at me for posting that because she promptly put it on Facebook).  It wasn’t the typical butt rip, though, it was ripped/worn on the inner thigh.  I couldn’t just throw them away, so I made them into my first bag.  I used a little of one of my favorite ribbons for a kind of loop/button closure.  I also like the look of the red thread on the khaki fabric.  It’s a little whimsical (not that a purse made out of pants could every be anything but) and it has a little good feng shui built in.

Here are some others I’ve found on blogs… so many cool techniques, so little time:

http://styleitpretty.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/upgrading-skirt-to-handbag/ – This one’s a great tutorial- and she really went all the way with a lining and everything.

http://liliandmums.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/how-to-2-part-1-mini-skirt-purses-full-tutorial-with-photos/ – Another one with a tutorial.  I love the use of the jeans skirt and linings!

http://cupandpenny.com/2013/02/20/this-purse-was-a-skirt/  – I love the bohemian shape to this one, with a fabric flower to boot.  Make sure to check out her tutorial on how to make a french seam.  Who knew?

And in case you’re interested, here they are in my Etsy shop:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/152056945/upcycled-skirt-purse

https://www.etsy.com/listing/152053178/upcycled-skirt-purse

THANKS FOR LOOKING!

Dresser Drawer Shelves

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It’s Spring!  That means Spring cleaning and people putting out unwanted/broken stuff on the tree belt!  That means fun new crafting items for me.  My latest adventure:  making shelves out of dresser drawers.

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I’ve found quite a few in various states of “distress”.  I haven’t taken any of dressers that seem to be in good shape (in case someone actually wants the whole dresser).  First, I cleaned them off and took off any contact paper in the bottoms of the drawers (I hate that stuff).  I decoupaged scrapbook paper to the backs of the shelves from my favorite handy-dandy scrapbook pad:

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The good thing about this pad (from Jo-Anne’s Fabrics, I think) is that there are 3 pages of each pattern so I could piece them together to make a single pattern in each drawer.  And I love this “Heirloom” look.  It seems perfect for this project.  For my decoupage medium, I just used a mixture of white glue and water.  It did bubble a little, but I kind of like the creases for texture.  If you want to make sure it adheres more smoothly, I’ve read that you can soak the paper in water to “relax” it first.

So… here’s what I came up with:

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For the dining room.  This one sits on the floor and I added the front from another drawer that was more broken to the top with glue.  Another drawer front sits on the floor, which seemed to give it a little more stability.  I drilled through the bottom of each drawer into the one underneath it and only had long screws so I put in chunks of 2×4 to screw into.  These drawers are a little more flimsy, so I thought that would be helpful, too.

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For the porch.  This one is for grill stuff.  I attached them to each other sideways so the knobs could be used on either side to hang things from.

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Another one for the porch.  This one is for gardening stuff.  I hung it on the wall by just screwing it in.

p.s.  I found the link for my inspiration for this: http://diyshowoff.com/2012/04/04/diy-drawer-shelves/  – I LOVE Pinterest and I love DIY & Show Off!

Here are a couple others I’ve found on WordPress blogs:

http://applesforolive.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/dresser-drawers-turned-wall-shelves-phase-1-installation/ – I love her arrangement and the way she set them up ahead of time using paper templates to get the perfect display.  All in all, one of my new favorite blogs!

http://thepearlowl.com/2012/08/20/drawer-turned-craft-shelf/ – I love this one.  The dowel and the jars make it the perfect craft material display case… and who couldn’t use more of those?

Update:  I just added a spice-shelf to the dining room one at my wife’s request.  Anything that helps her cook more delicious stuff for us is fine by me. 🙂

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Garden Planters

IMG_2602I love this time of the year because I can get outside and get DIRTY! I love gardening… To be clear, I’m not always the best about taking care of my plants after I plant them, but I love planting them. I also love upcycling, so my yard is my next frontier this year, I think. I saw the boots on Pinterest, I think (from which I steal all my best ideas). I’ve been searching thrift stores for the perfect rubber boot and I finally found some kids boots that were adorable! I planted two kinds of mint, and apple mint and a spearmint. I love having mint in my garden but it definitely needs to be in containers. We’ll see how long these last, but for now they look adorable.

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This is my little rag-tag suburban garden so far. We have the baker’s rack that I took from the curb after my neighbor put it out. A little purple and blue spray-paint brightened it up and (hopefully) made it a little more rust-resistant.

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The previous homeowners left a bunch of almost empty cans of paint, so I dried them out and spray-painted them green and blue. I put some holes in the bottoms with my awl and… voila: “pots” for herbs!

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Finally, I upcycled two laundry baskets that had broken handles. Some green spray-paint on the big white one (don’t try using regular spray paint on plastic, it just scratches off) kind of darkened it up and made it look a little less “laundry-baskety”. I took a bunch of pieces of wood from our fire-pit pile and used yarn to tie them around the perimeter of the basket. I was trying to cut wood down to similar heights but broke my saw blade half way through. Oh well.

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I lined both baskets with newspaper to keep all the dirt in before filling them. I call them my “salad gardens”. The plant markers were from our wedding- we used them as table markers and, of course, I needed to find something to do with them. I especially like that these baskets are kind of like “raised beds“. We have 3 dogs and no one wants dog pee on their lettuce.

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I know this one’s been done a LOT, but I couldn’t resist. It’s my boy watering the watering can planter. It has purple pansies in it… I hope they bloom.

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This, however, is my piece-de-resistance. I was going to donate my boy’s old castle but as I was about to put it in the car I noticed that it was full of perfect spaces for plants. The back was all open, so I cut out a piece of plywood, spray-sealed it, and then caulked it on the back. I filled the sucker with dirt and then stuffed plants in all the holes. The bottom one, with the drawbridge, has a left-over strawberry plant that I didn’t have room for in my fruit garden. This one is going to be a real test, though, because I’ll probably have to actually water it (as opposed to waiting for God to do it for me). We’ll see!!!

Update 5/20/13:  The pansies are blooming!

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Update 6/25/13: The castle has a strawberry (that I ate promptly after taking this picture).

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