Thursday, December 30, 2010

Simple hamper transformation!

My favorite thrift store finds is the ones that require almost no work.  I found this cute hamper at the thrift store for only $4!  The outside is beautiful, but the inside fabric lining was very dirty and a bit moldy.  It had these cute little patina brass handles.

So I ripped out the fabric, left the handles on and turned it over!   Walla... instant plant stand!  This was so easy, I love it when a plan accidentally falls together.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Candles... Thrift Store style!

I like candles... they are great for ambiance, nice smell, and... well light.   So when I go to the thrift store, I find it odd that they have so many unburned holiday candles there.  But then I realize its a little creepy to watch Santa slowly burn over the holidays and it might freak out the kiddys.  So that is when I realized that there can be a way to reuse these guys.  Now there are many sites on the web that talk about candle safety and such so read up about that, there is no sense in burning yourself un-necessarily.  Also I am not a candle expert, just a experiment-or (an art scientist of sorts).

My supply list is such:
old candle jar
      that has been burned empty, from home
old holiday candles, $.20 each
pan to boil water, from home
newspaper, from home
skewers, from home
New wick a bit longer than your jar, $2
a metal bowl (that you will never use for food),
       thrift store $.50
long (12in) clamps or tweezers, from home

These candles were very cheap now that christmas is over.  I paid less than a quarter each for them!

Begin by filling your pot with water, and put it on the stove on high.  immediately put your metal bowl on top and don't touch it ever again (its gets HOT quickly).  Place your candle in and wait patiently while it melts... this could take a while.

Now is a good time to talk safety... there is a good website about candle making safety here.  The most important thing is that this is hot and messy.  Prepare your surface with newspaper, to protect it.  Don't do this when you are in a rush, this is a nice slow project.   Nor is this the time to start a good movie, or get distracted by something else, and forget.  Hot wax is dangerous, and even a fire hazard.

Poor Frosty... looks like winter is  coming to an end sooner than expected.

Now use the tongs to fish out the wick, and lay it on the newspaper.  be careful not to touch the bowl or wax. 

As it melts you will notice that some candles are colored with pigments and others are covered in foil... as in this little guy. So after the wic kis rescued pull out the pieces of foil.  I used 2 candles for this project because I have a large candle glass to fill.

Once the wax is completely melted you have the option of throwing in some crayons to add color if it turns out that the candle underneath is white.  But don't mix to many colors up, it will turn mucky brown color. 
My kiddo chose pale purple crayon.  it was just one crayon that we dropped in.

Now here is where my plan started to get crazy...  In theory it would be best to just get a new wick, and use this wick for a smaller candle project, because ideally you want to wrap wick around the skewer and center it in the candle.  So at this point... use the new wick instead of trying to prop this wick while it drys.

Be careful when you pour the hot wax, use all the protective gear and such, ensure you are well versed in the safety issues here, and again go slowly.   Wax cools and hardens even slower than it melts, so you have time. 

I used my extra long clamps to hold the wick, but wrapping a skewer is just as easy.  Then leave it all night to rest.

Tray Project

Well I found this project at a thrift store, and it is this tray.  Now I am not into the country look, however I did like the idea of a tray.  Recently our tv network started airing the Nate Berkus show, and I really enjoy his show, in fact an upcoming project I am working on is inspired by his show, as well as this one.  He talks about using trays alot, and since I don't have a coffee table but a large foot rest for my couch; I thought this would be perfect to be able to set my coffee on in the mornings instead of adding an entire piece of furniture in my tiny little living room.

Here I had already started spraying it... now I now that someone really spent alot of time and talent painting those flowers, but it just didn't fit for me.  I used some spray paint I already had in the garage which is a flat black paint.  This was an enamel spray paint for something else which is a bit overkill, but I didn't want to go to the store again any flat black paint will do. 

Once it is all sprayed and dried, I began with the distressing it with some sandpaper.  I am not really sure why but this was a total impromptu project, and it felt like the right direction to go in.  This was fairly easy, I didn't use hard pressure when sanding the paint and I used a medium/fine grade.  It was fairly easy to do actually, I did do it on the back porch just in case of powder flying. 

This is after all of the distressing is finished and the paint is completely dry.  I am thinking of adding a swirl to it in the center, but that requires a trip to the store for a thick marker in another color besides black.  The total cost of the project was less than $2.  Now if I had to by the paint, it would be more like $3 total.  Not bad!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tiniest Magnet Terrarium!

 One day while surfing the net, I found this cute little magnet planter, it was made from a pill bottle.  How fun is that, it is a little planter that has a magnet on it!   So with my recent new love for terrariums, I decided to modify this project.  It is a really fun project to do and very easy.  I already had the items so it took me about 5 minutes to put it together.

Here is the list of items needed: 
one small candy jar
tiny rocks
a tablespoon of soil
tiny plant cutting or sprout
sheet magnet (like for business cards)

The first step is to clean the bottle.  You can soak it in warm water, or use alcohol...  I did both, because I am impatient and it makes me feel like it is going faster.   I used the alcohol to rub off the adhesive that didn't quite come off after the soak.

 Once it is all clean you can drop in the rocks for drainage, and a layer of charcoal this is very important.  It is important to not overfill the bottle.  You must leave room for your plant, I like the plant to be not crammed at the top of the bottle.  This will not only leave some room to grow, it will also be more aesthetically balanced.

 The next step is to drop in some soil, I just pinched it in using my fingers.  gently smooshing out any clumps, or larger materials like small sticks, and any other f.o.d  that may need breaking down before going into the little jar.  Once the bottle is about 1/3 to 1/2 full depending on the size of your plant/sprout.  I used these instructions.

I choose a cutting from an asparagus fern plant that I already had.  It  reminds me of a tiny christmas tree.  Then I used the skewer to very gently push the cutting into the dirt and then cover it with the soil in the bottle.  Also use the skewer to push down any dirt that may be on the sides of the inside of the bottle.
I had leftover business card magnets, the kind where you peel off the backing and place your own business cards on, which by the way is also perfect for kid pictures.  I measured the part of the bottle that touches the fridge.  I used the whole area, since you can't see it, and I wanted to ensure there was plenty of magnet on the bottle, so it will stay really good.

I cut the shape I just measured out of the magnet sheet and peeled the paper off, stuck it to the bottle, and held it in place really tight for a good five minutes.  

Tar Tar (to quote Katie)!  Here is the finished product.  It hasn't required to much care... and I would only water it with a literal drop of water!

Monday, December 20, 2010

What an amazing idea I found!

This is absolutely amazing... its not my idea but I had to share this one.  I would have not seen this one coming at all.  She found a dresser in a field with no drawers and converted it into one amazing organizational area.

Maybe a couple of hours of work and $20 in baskets, paint, and such!  Some people amaze me with their vision.

This idea can be found at this link

Sunday, December 19, 2010


My latest obsession is terrariums.  It started with these two bottles, and exploded into craziness.  The first two bottles ia an old wine decanter and a gallo wine bottle, I bought them for a whole quarter each!  The plants are from Lowes and were $1.50 each, but filled many many terrariums.

This bottle neck poinsettia jar was $3 but the cheese plate and cover was only $2 and those two cuties were .25 cents each.  But stuffed with flowers and beautiful poinsettia's they are fabulous!

The apothecary jar is a project from one Dollar Store Crafts blog  (one of my favorites)  and though it was listed as a $10 and beyond project it was really only $6 because I picked the handle at the thrift store for .25 so all in all these are really inexpensive choices for these cute little bottles.

These were really fun and easy projects, just search terrariums for instructions.  Except rather than spending $20 dollars and up for jars, take alook and your local thrift store or even dollar store for ideas.  That fit the budget!

A giveaway....

There is a pillow pet giveaway at the following link...

I mean really who doesn't love pillow pets  I ask you...  especially chocolate moose!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Unusual source for new wrapping paper

I popped into the local thrift store to take a peak at their vessels (I am making my first bonsai tree).  So while there I noticed they had a huge christmas section.  So while perusing I saw they had brand new rolls of wrapping paper for a dollar!  When I say new, I mean still in its manufacturer's cellophane wrap and price stickers.  What a shocker, I figured on seeing most of the other christmas deco, but paper!  As it turns out most thrift stores that are non-profit types get donations from department stores, and sells them at thrift store prices.

Now these are pretty darn good, some were small but others were pretty huge like 60 sqft.  most marked 7.99 and up!  They did have some that were also partially used but still not bad if you are looking for a deal.

My store was Rescued Treasures, which has pretty good prices and great looking stuff, perfect for budget-minded, artist looking for sculpture materials, or people who like to wonder treasure hunt.  And they are a store for a cause, The Rescue Mission.

So don't forget to check those unlikely places for wrapping paper!