A large, sturdy box.
It was the beginning of my first DIY project.
As a little girl, I dreamed of a window seat, but after accepting the fact that a house built without a window seat remains a house without a window seat, I decided to make one myself using a large, sturdy box. Over the box, I had carefully laid blankets and when all was just right, I sat down. Allllll the way down, in fact. In the end, I found a cloth-covered Styrofoam ottoman which I propped against my bedroom’s full length window.
The window seat may have been a flop, but it didn’t hinder the rush I felt turning old things into new things. Twenty-four years later, I still feel giddy when I can create an item I want out of something I already have. Here are just a few of the items I’ve made over the past year using only the items I had on hand:
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Shop Your House
One of my favorite stores? The linen closet!
Also, the garage!
You’d be amazed by what you find when you shop your own home. Especially if you tend to stash stuff. 🙂
Sometimes, the best items to cross your path are gifts from friends, ie. this chicken coop my friend, Vivi, gave me:
Use Elbow Grease
Sandpaper. Paint. Elbow grease. The turning-old-things-into-new-things trifecta.
Just remember: If you sand, wear a mask to protect your lungs.
Also: If you paint, don’t forget your bikini.
And don’t forget that elbow grease!
Collect What You Absolutely Love
I once heard that if you collect what you love, then everything you have will go together.
It’s true! If I find that I don’t absolutely love an item, I get rid of it. On the other hand, if I still love an item, I’ll hold onto it until an occasion to use it arises. In the end, the items I keep all wind up complimenting each other.
Take for example this bedskirt fabric:
I purchased a few yards of this embroidered print in December 2011 at a discount fabric shop. At the time I wasn’t quite sure how to use it, but I LOVED it. So I wrapped the fabric in a plastic bag and set it back for the right time.
Then one day last May, I realized that I needed a bedskirt for our master bedroom makeover…and I knew just the fabric to compliment the espresso walls and brown toile accents.
Got fabric and an old, flat sheet? Then you’ve got a bedskirt! Here’s how to do it:
- Measure the lengths of the right, left and bottom edges of your box spring. These measurements will determine the length of your fabric “flaps”
- Measure the distance from the top of the box spring to the floor. These measurements will determine the width of your fabric “flaps.”
- Carefully cut out your side and bottom flaps from your choice of fabric. (Sturdy cotton works best.)
- For a queen or full-sized bed, use a twin-sized flat sheet as the base of the bedskirt. Overall, the sheet should just barely fit inside the dimensions of the box spring. (For a king, use a full-size sheet and cut to size if needed.)
- Sew the flaps to the coordinating sides of the sheet using a straight stitch.
And you’re done!
Be Patient & Specific
Another item I loved but couldn’t think of a use for were a pair of Battenburg lace pillow envelopes given to me by my friend, Gwen, my junior year of college. Sure, I used them on pillows for a couple years, but eventually I moved on to other decor. Still, they were worth keeping until, at last, they became the perfect solution to airy-but-sturdy bathroom curtains.
Not only does Battenburg lace iron and starch up nicely…
…it also contains clever little holes through which to thread ribbons.
These no-sew curtains only took 5 minutes…and 13 years to make. And I love them just as much now as I did back in 2002.
Pinterest to the Rescue!
While browsing my favorite antique shop one day, I stumbled upon a lampshade tied with fabric strips. I was instantly smitten, but couldn’t justify the purchase considering my stash of lampshade skeletons and fabric at home. So I tucked the idea away and when chance arose, I visited Pinterest for further inspiration.
I was bombarded with possibilities, but, in the end, I decided on a mixture of lace, burlap, cotton, toile and twill.
P.S. Your cats will LOVE this project and will try to help.
I’ve spent the past five years in this house turning old things into new things, but there’s still plenty to create! Now that our master bedroom makeover is complete, it’s time to move on to the kitchen. Nothing major, just a spruce up.
Want a sneak peak?
Shower Curtain Turned Tablecloth
I discovered this gorgeous Pottery Barn shower curtain at a consignment sale a couple years ago and just had to have it. After all, it’s pale blue and toile: my favorite things!
After ripping out stitches and cutting the fabric to size, I still had a thick strip of fabric leftover which was just the right amount for eight matching napkins.
Reclaimed wood island
Now, this beauty cost me (in trade) but the materials have a story…which you will hear about in a later post. 🙂
With the weekend coming up, I hope you are inspired to create a little window for yourself to create and have fun. Skip the tax-free weekend mayhem and enjoy shopping your own home