Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Repurposed decorating: bathroom edition

Every since I can remember, I've been finding gems at Goodwill. My dad calls them junk, but with just a little bit of love, an eye for design and some slight repurposing, you have amazing one-of-a-kind items to decorate your home!

Decorating your home is an easy way to start being more "green" and avoiding new manufactured goods. Going to Target, Walmart, or Bed Bath and Beyond, and buying crap that is mass-produced for decorating doesn't do it for me. I just don't see character in those kinds of things. I've always thrifted to find my wall hangings, candle holders, furniture, all the littles things one needs for the home. Sure, there is a lot of crap at thrift stores, but there is also amazing things you can't find anywhere else. People buys things, they sit for twenty years, never used, houses get cleaned out, those things are donated, and you find them for ridiculously low prices at thrift stores. 

As I've mentioned before, I recently moved into my apartment in downtown Augusta. It's a two-bedroom, one bath, approx. 1000 square ft apt, the entire second level of a house built in the late 1800s. Located in Olde Town, this is the original neighborhoods when Augusta was founded. I spent weeks looking for the perfect apartment. I walked into this one and I knew within a minute that I would call this home. High ceilings, huge rooms, 60" wide windows, a winding staircase, room for kitties to run, and downtown. Sure, it's not perfect in terms of quality, it's old, the plaster on the walls isn't perfect and I occasionally find creepy bugs (but this is the south). It's historic, restored, but it's home. And I love it.

The only thing I didn't like about my apartment was the massive white walls. Huge white walls. I felt like I was in an old hospital. I've so far painted two rooms, my bedroom and the bathroom. I'll eventually showcase all my thrifted finds, converted rooms, and beautiful apartment, one room at a time. I'm starting with the bathroom!

Before I even moved into my apartment, I found these at the Goodwill in Evans. Three plastic wall hanging from the 1970s. A bouquet of flowers, a bunch of roses, and a bustle of grapes. Originally gold, they are poured into a mold, hollow plastic, and so awesome! Someone, somewhere along the way painted them white. The paint was chipping off but immediately I saw and them and snatched them up.

Only painted on one side.

Slightly chipping.

Made in USA. Copyright 1971. $1.51 each.
$4.53 + $5 spray paint = less than $10 project

So with a can of pink spray paint, my wall hangings, and a gallon of mistinted paint from Sherman Williams, and ta-da:::


My bathroom

High ceilings



The main inspiration around decorating my bathroom was this vintage shower curtain I bought at Goodwill in Michigan for $3 before I moved down here. It was still in it's original packaging, never used, and from the mid 1970s. It's clear with a white and peach flowering bush all over it. 

Matching towels, repainted wall hangings.

Finger hooks purchased on Etsy for my headbands. I painted the fingernails red.

My favorite wash cloth. Purchased at a thrift store in Lansing, Michigan about 5 years ago for about 25 cents. It's an oxpecker bird sitting on top or a hippo. These birds survive by eating the parasites and bugs off the hippos back. It's screen printed on the super soft washcloth. I mostly use it just for display. I don't feel right getting it super dirty cause it's so cute.

Still has original tag. It had never been used with I bought it. Came with price tags still attached. Copyright 1975. And it was made in Georgia!

Vintage hand mirror. Finger hooks. The soap dish mounted on the wall acts as a little towel holder. Vintage glass canisters. Soap stand from an estate sale ($1!), prescription glasses in polka dot case I made, makeup pouch I made from an old placemat, recycled hand soap dispenser. It's hard to find new things in my bathroom. Everything has a history. Notice I broke the faucet handle. Oops. Need to get the maintenance man to fix it.

Cute little speakers for when I take a bath. Old candle tin for odds and ends.

I love how this color turned out! One gallon of mistinted paint covered all the upper walls. You can find mistinted paint at most paint stores for a fraction of the cost of normal paint. It's discounted since it wasn't originally mixed properly, wrong color, or wrong finish for the customer. Instead of throwing it away, it's sold for about $5/ gallon. The only drawback is you can't get more. So you'd need to paint smaller rooms or coordinate different walls, different colors.

New haircut. I have baby bangs. It's been years since I've had a bathroom with an exterior window. I'm in heaven when I get ready in the morning. 

No makeup, hair not brushed. Oh well... hello everyone. 

Due to some family things back home, and the Navy not sending my sister off until September/October, she's moving in with me for a few months. I moved most of my sewing stuff into my room and she's moving into my sewing room. She'll have to live with a wall full of fabric though. But the rooms are massive, so there's plenty of room. It's silly for her to stay in her three bedroom house all by herself for three more months with a huge rent payment, crazy utility bills when she can just stay with me. Four cats in one place though... hmmm.. we'll see. Clementine isn't going to be happy.

We have to go back to Michigan soon, and it makes more sense to have everything here in one place. I was going to go yesterday and come back by Wednesday, but couldn't arrange travel plans in time so we're moving Rachael out of her house instead. We'll probably go home in a few weeks. It's all so up in the air right now.

Hope you all enjoyed a little peek into my home. I can't wait to finish the rest of my apartment! It's a slow process since I work too much but it's coming along nicely. Most people think it's silly to paint if it's only a year. But I'm an artist and I need to enjoy my surroundings. I can't function with white walls. It makes such a difference to love where you live and love what you have. I am so happy here. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pink Dipper!

After our 90+ degree photoshoot the other day, Rachael and I went home and changed, then treated ourselves to Pink Dipper, the cutest ice cream parlour, located in North Augusta, South Carolina. I currently live in Olde Town, in downtown Augusta, Georgia. Since I'm from Michigan, and only recently moved here, the heat is quite an adjustment. I find myself going to ice cream more than my waistband would like, but I just can't resist. 
Pink dipper has the best butter pecan ice cream and they make their own waffle cones! I've only had butter pecan ice cream here, but regardless, it's the best. And their banana split, ohmigoodness don't get me started. I'd go there everyday if it didn't goes straight to my thighs. Oh being 25 and suddenly your metabolism changes. 

Check out the cute necklace Rachael is wearing that I can't quit pry away from her. It's a man and woman dancing. I keep trying to steal it, but she won't have any of that. I have the matching clip-on earrings I need to make into something.
Rachael and I being silly taking pictures. Doesn't that waffle cone look so yummy?!
After we finished our ice cream we did some "outfit" shots. I am very proud of myself for sticking with my 2010 oath of not buying anything new. And I'd like to start sharing some of my outfits that I put together from thrifted and repurposed clothes.

I'd have to say the thing I miss the most about buying new clothes is buying white clothes, tank tops especially. I live in tank tops with the built-in bras. I used to have a million and I'm the biggest clutz on the planet. I touch something and it spills. So as the ones I already own have to be retired from overwearing and discolorations, I struggle with finding new ones. 

Luckily, there is a Plato's Closet in town, and I found this tank top for $5. It was an extra large but so pretty and white, I had to buy it. I took up the straps at the shoulders about 3" on each side; it's still nice and roomy. I paired it with an "Old Cottage Inn" skort I purchased at Goodwill for $3.50. I never thought I'd ever purchase another skort after the 6th grade my friend Sarah found it. Definitely way too perfect to pass up. It seems like a little mini skirt but surprise!, I can still move around and not have to worry about exposing anything inappropriate.
The headband I'm wearing, my Sarah made from an old clip-on earring and a navy blue band! My favorite! I bought it from her the day we met when we were both vendors at First Friday. We were instant friends. She's amazing! Sarah's giving me some goodies for my next giveaway, she makes beautiful repurposed jewelry. And she's expanding her inventory on her Etsy shop, Cribbledy Goodness.
I've had this belt for a million years. I bought it at Valueland in Muskegon, I think.
My Pretty In Pink clutch. I made it from a pair of women's shorts, that in hindsight I wish I hadn't cut up. They were amazing, high-waisted, pleated, pockets, oh... so cute. I bought them because I loved the fabric about two years ago. Made the purse a year ago, and it was in my Etsy shop the entire time. Never sold. At the last First Friday where I was a vendor, I wasn't selling a thing, sitting there, growing more and more frustrated. I looked at that clutch and said, "Okay, I've had it, this is my summer purse." I ripped off the price tag and transfered everything into it. 

I never treat myself to new handbags. I only wear what I make and I feel bad wearing my new stuff so inevitably I had an old clutch that gets thrown around so much. It was time for a new one. And this clutch is perfect.
Oh! I almost forgot about my jail shoes! Underwear and shoes are excluded in my 2010 rule, but I still try my best to not buy anything unless I really really need it. I have plenty of shoes and more underwear than I can fit in my dresser, but when I saw these shoes I had to buy them! Rachael and I were at Big Lots a few weeks ago when I was buying curtain rods for my new apartment when I found them. They are just like the shoes you get in jail (not that I've gotten shoes like this in jail)! They are completely plastic, poured into some kind of mold. Think crocs, but for super poor people. They were only $5! And I can't get them dirty! They're amazing.

Tank top: $5 Plato's Closet.
Belt: thrifted, vintage
Skort: Goodwill, $3.50
Shoes: $5 Big Lots
Headband: $10, Cribbledy Goodness
Purse: my design, www.sallyannk.com
Jewelry: vintage

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cheap & Chic - Tutorial #4 - Sound of Music


When I first moved to Georgia, my sister, Rachael, was deployed. I moved into an extra bedroom in her three bedroom house in Evans. The room was furnished and there were little treasures throughout the room she left for me to find. This dress was amongst those things. She left a sticky note on it telling me she bought it so I could cut it up and use the fabric for purses. She'd bought it at a local Goodwill. It sat in my closet for months until I was bored one day, tried it on, and realized how amazing it could be with a little work!

Here is the dress:

Just past the knees. High neckline.

Beautiful v-neck in the back. 

Awesome puffy sleeves. But very dated.

Beautiful bodice and waistline. And it had pockets!
(these pictures were taken in April.. I can't believe how much my hair has grown!)

I just love this pattern! It's a navy blue heavy cotton with irregular shaped dots all over it. The pleated waist detail make the entire dress! I also love the V in the back. The sleeves have to go and the neckline is very constricting. Also it's too long. This dress only requires a few simple alterations to transform it into a wearable summer dress.

First, I cut about 9" off the entire skirt. I did this first so I could use the spare fabric in the next step.

I removed the interfacing on the front of the neckline only. Set this aside.


Using tailor's chalk I drew the new neckline. You can double check by trying the dress on. Cut along line. Using this piece you cut off and the interfacing you removed, cut a new front interfacing that is about 2 1/2" wide from the scrap fabric from the skirt. This may be tricky for beginning sewers. Pay close attention to how the dress was initially constructed and sew this into the dress. Top stitch the neckline.

Remove the sleeves. I used scrap bias tape, sewing it along the edge of the sleeves and then top stitched it (not pictured, sorry). But this is quite simple.


Last step, hem the bottom of the dress. I did a 1/2" rolled hem. I really need to get a 1/4" rolled hem foot for my machine. Any hem will do as long as it is less than a 1/2" or the fabric will pucker.

The end result:

A stylish, updated version.

Kept the same neckline in the back.




Scoop neck is much more flattering than the one before.

In 100 degree weather, the dark fabric was a little hot but perfect for summer! I adore this new dress. And it only took a little over an hour. A similar project may be a little longer for beginners.

This dress is for sale in my shop!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Denim mini dress from grandma's creation.

I barely have time for a really quick update. Today was strange. I haven't really been sleeping lately. Stress, nerves, anxious all the time. I don't know what my deal is. Just overall blah. After work today, I stopped at Salvation Army to get out of the 102 degree weather (in dress pants and a button up doesn't help when it's that hot) and perhaps find a few gems in the rough.

And then I spotted this dress. It is handmade, and probably by someone local since it was at Salvo. It was mid-calf length and about 10 sizes too big. I took it in almost 6 inches at the zipper (I was too lazy to take in the sides and change the arm holes and straps). Cut off 11-12 inches and angled the straps a bit so they were at exactly 90 degrees like a bib. It was a little shorter in the back than the front but oh well, it's just me wearing it. You can't beat $5.49! 

On my porch. Thanks Sarah for taking the pictures. She showed up at my house with spaghetti tonight to brighten my day. She knows I've been a little moody lately. What a friend. AND I used her camera since mine still isn't functioning properly.


I think I've been bummed out a bit because I haven't had time to actually make things. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my job at David's Bridal. And I love sewing all day. But when I get home from a long day there, I don't feel that inherent need to sew at home. I usually relax, check emails, and then have to clean my apartment and then it's dinner and time for bed. It takes a bit out of me when I'm only altering things other people created and not creating something from nothing. 

I sit at my desk and really enjoy sewing, I love the people I work with, and I love dealing with the positive people in the store. But I also sit there and my mind wanders to all the projects I'm planning, and I get so motivated and excited. Then I get home with no energy to do them. I need to work on finding more "Sally Ann" time. Not just "Sally at work" time.

I don't function at a normal level unless I'm making things. Some people have to work out. Some people have to go to a boring job everyday. Some people have to have cigarettes or coffee. I need to sew at home. I'm proud to say that is my only vice. And I finally got my fix today.

I need to stop procrastinating and finish organizing my sewing room. I can't wait for another free day. My apartment is finished except for that terrible mess of a room. I can work in it, but not at an optimal level. I feel like I'm just ranting. My brain is mush. Cutting this blog post short.

Time to go back to my machine and make custom felt board pouches. The night is young!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Felt Board Characters


Since my Miss Priss pouch was featured in the Etsy Reclaimed To Fame blog, I've had lots on inquiries on what other felt board characters I have for custom pouches. These felt boards are from the 50s, and were used for story telling in Sunday schools and classrooms. I found a bag of them at a thrift store in Muskegon and I love them! I sew them on like applique and they make such interesting little pouches or bags.

Here are pictures of what I have available for custom orders:


Cow and barn, couch, dining room table, kitchen table, hearth, and stagecoach with horses.


Animals. Fox, cat, dog, turkey, rooster, bird, duck.


The family. Grandfather, grandmother, sister, and brother. I used "man" and "wife" in a pouch still in my shop. The woman's title was "wife", not "woman". Don't you just love the 50s.

Storybook characters. Left to right. Farmer, creepy prince, angry woman, gunman, princess, servant, cinderella, brunette princess, fairy godmother.


Man and Wife Recycled Pouch for sale in my shop.

I'll be doing claiming of these characters for custom pouches won a first come basis. Email me (keisersa@gmail.com) or comment below. Include desired size and color scheme for the fabric that will be used. I'll use all sorts of recycled fabric for the pouch. And the zipper will also be recycled!