23 February 2010

More El Cheap-o Decor: Thrifted Sweater Pillows

Do you ever page through the Pottery Barn catalog or website and covet? I do. But, as we all know, I'm cheap. The only things I own that actually came from Pottery Barn were either gifts from someone else, or purchased on major clearance. I, like many other cheapies, use Pottery Barn for inspiration rather than actual shopping. Sorry PB.

One of the blogs I read regularly is Homebody Holly. Holly is the queen of thrifting creativity. Recently she posted a series on gifts you can make from thrifted items. And they're not stupid cheap looking things you wouldn't want for yourself. Genius. The one I decided to try for my self was her sweater pillows. These were inspired by Pottery Barn's Sweater-Knit Pillow Covers, retailing for $39, and that doesn't include the inserts.

I like these, but we can do better, my thrifty creative friends! 

A trip to the Salvation Army scored me these $2 cable knit sweaters. The darker one is 100% wool and the lighter one is 100% cotton. I really wasn't interested in using acrylic (like the PB ones that are a cotton/acrylic mix).

The wool sweater had a couple of holes in it, but after I washed it in hot water & threw it in the dryer to tighten it up, those holes were easily fixed with some brown thread. Just don't look super close at the finished product - my thread doesn't match perfectly. But who's really going to be looking that close? Not me.

My parents gave me money for my birthday, and this is what I bought with it. I've wanted a real sewing machine for a years. I bought one at a garage sale several years ago. Bad idea. This one works so smoothly - I didn't know that's what sewing machines were supposed to be like! I suppose I should take the Project Runway sticker off. Looks a little ghetto. Thanks, Mom & Dad!!

For the innards of the pillows I used some old pillowcases that were either stained or ripped. I cut them down to squares, filled them with fiberfill & sewed them closed. You could use store bought pillow inserts, but why, when I can make them with stuff you have around the house? If you don't have stuff around the house, you can also buy throw pillows at the thrift store that you can use as inserts.

For the sweaters, I cut them to use the most of the sweaters as possible. I'm left with sleeves & weird looking v-neck sweater dickies.

Remember turtle neck dickies? I never had one, thank goodness. Hmmm. What do do with those...you know I can't throw away something that might become craft fodder in the future.

Anyways, back to the pillows. I sewed up three sides on each, stuffed them with the homemade inserts & sewed up the fourth sides by hand.


What do you think? I'm pleased. Please at how they look and pleased that they cost me $4 in materials.

Are you taking time in your day to be creative? It doesn't have to be something that takes hours and hours and lots of money. Maybe it's just rearranging some furniture, or moving artwork around your house. Or maybe it's finding a way to repurpose something you've had laying around for years (like your 1990s sweaters!).

There's something therapeutic about finding a creative outlet during your day, don't you agree?

19 February 2010

What to do with your paint chip collection: El Cheap-O Art!

I'm getting tired of having no art on our walls. We moved into our house right after Thanksgiving, but a lot of our stuff is still in storage behind my parent's barn, being held hostage by SNOW and MUD. I just can't get myself to do any real decorating when I don't have my whole stash of decor items (& furniture!) to work with.

But forget that. Last night I decided to do a little art project. Seriously, it took me maybe 10 MINUTES to assemble it. Prep took a little longer, but that doesn't matter. :)

Remember this barn wood frame I picked up at the local thrift for a mere $1?


I used that + an old piece of cardboard + a scrap of burlap + an old family photo of some gals I wish I could have known + a bunch of butterflies I punched out of paint chips from the home improvement store.

Punching out & folding the butterflies took the longest of anything, but I enjoyed it. I bought two different sizes of butterfly punches from Michael's & used paint chips that were all similar but not exactly the same.

I laid out the burlap & the cardboard on the floor, then cut the burlap out with about 2 or 3 inches extra on each side. I folded it over & duct taped it to the back, making sure that the fabric was pulled tight but not too tight. A little more duct tape fastened the burlap covered cardboard to the back of the frame. Lovin' the duct tape. Kinda like fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants crafting. Know what I mean?

Don't these ladies look like they've had a fun day? I have no idea who they are, but I think I'm related to some of them.

Laying out all the butterflies and the photo on the burlap before I attached them was really helpful. I moved them around a lot & removed a lot of the butterflies before I was happy with how it all looked.

I bought my first glue gun ever! And it was from the Dollar Tree. Extra nice. I discovered that I need to work on my glue-gunning technique. The butterflies were covered in shiny webs of glue when I was done.

I must admit that I didn't come up with this idea myself. I've had this photo in my idea folder for a long time.

I have no idea where it came from, but I like it. I have more burlap left, so I might look for a smaller shadowbox frame (with glass so the butterflies don't collect dust!) and make one for my office.

What do you think? Have you made anything cheap/free & crafty lately?

So is it still creativity if you steal use someone else's idea??

While you're in blog land, check out my friend Mary's new home staging blog! Mary sold our last house for us and helped us get our current house. She was one of the few people who saw potential in this little place. I love her style. She's a realtor but also a home stager.

Have a great weekend!