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Archive for the ‘Thrifting’ Category

While packing up and selling things off, I remember telling Mom that I was worried about getting rid of too many things and having to spend a lot of money to replace them. Having done this before, her advice was to just take time to piece things together slowly. Take the essentials. “If you have to live without an ironing board for a while, you will make do”.

And it’s true. Many of the spaces in our home are not “finished”; and although it’s sometimes hard to wait (today’s society is not good at delaying gratification), I like the idea of a work in progress. Our book nook is a good example. When I shared this post, I was very happy to have it close to the cozy, reading corner I wanted for the girls. I faced many dilemmas when looking into making a bean bag chair and I also wanted extra lighting. I knew I could go shopping for those things, but I refused (again) to pay Copenhagen prices for non-essential items.

Eventually, a bean bag (a girly one, no less) came for sale on one of the expat forums I joined. I think it was about $8. Then, just after Christmas, someone posted tree lights for FREE on the free-sharing page I joined on Facebook. I also made a couple of extra pillows using items we already had here at home (fabric and old stuffing).

Call it luck, if you must, but I like to think that being patient and resourceful  pays off.

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Try saying that 10-times fast! 🙂

Nothing complicated or innovative here…just another skirt, made from a shirt.  This time, from one of my guy’s tossed aside, yet ever-so soft and comfy t-shirts.  I like skirts like this to wear over leggings in this rapidly changing, rather fickle, Scandinavian weather.

You could, of course, make these for kids, but this one was for me!  Another thing for me!  Wow – I guess I’m feeling a bit self-indulgent lately!

I have been meaning to try my hand at shirring (gathering fabric by sewing with elastic thread), for a long time and I thought this was the perfect project to experiment with.  It makes for such a comfortable waist band on a skirt like this.  I knew what I needed to do, but this tutorial on shirring, was a helpful reminder.

Cut a men’s t-shirt just below the arms.  I also cut off the short sleeves to use as headbands.

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I had to cut a couple inches off the side because shirring only subtracts about 2 inches from your width, so the skirt would have still been too wide for me.

So measure your waist and add 2-3 inches and cut the width to match that circumference. (For example if you need 28 inches, cut 14 inches across, since it’s folded.)  Then sew up the back with a simple seam.

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Wind elastic thread (loosely, by hand!) onto an empty bobbin.  The top thread can match your fabric.

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I only sewed 3 rows of shirring.  You could do more, but I didn’t think this skirt needed it…and I was feeling stingy with my elastic thread.

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Simple and comfortable…and notice the matching headband! 🙂

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In this apartment of ours, the bedrooms are connected to the main living room, separated by glass-paneled French doors.  This may not seem ideal from a privacy aspect, but I actually love the layout.  Since 99% of the time, it is just the four of us, it makes us all feel very cozy and connected.  When guests visit, they will have a room in the back of the apartment, which is very private and has it’s own balcony.  (It’s cute and comfortable, come visit!)

So, although I love the cozy, connectedness that has us moving freely between all the rooms, there was no doubt that these doors needed to be covered, to add just the right amount of privacy.

Behind Door #1 – At my favorite nearby craft store, they sell 2nd-hand fabric.  Everything from pillow cases, shams, blankets, sheets and duvet covers.  I found this lovely duvet cover and turned it into curtains with some super simple cutting and sewing.  The best part about using a duvet cover for this project is that there is printed fabric on both sides, and in this case, the colors tied-in nicely with both rooms.

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Behind Door #2 – I used a curtain panel that I bought at a thrift store months before leaving the country.  I loved the print and knew I would find a way to use it.  I cut it in half to make two panels and sewed a hem on the raw edges.  This one was not printed on both sides, which was fine, because the pastel flowers didn’t tie-in, quite as well, with our living room décor.

Oh, how I love a girly girl’s room!  And I adore the wall sign that you gave us a few years back.

I Believe In Make Believe

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We moved to a different area of Copenhagen, not far from where we were, but far enough to explore new streets and use a new grocery store. We will need a new favorite coffee hang-out (there is already one in the running) and we will undoubtedly discover new shops for things we need.

Yesterday I found this jem-of-a-store about a 15 minute walk from home. It sells an eclectic array of mostly second-hand fabric, beads, buttons and craft supplies (and of course, yarn).  I could spend a very long time looking around this shop.  Today, as the rain fell sideways, I did.

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Summer has arrived.  It’s official.  There is virtually no need for a single warm article of clothing in this house.  It will be hot, stay hot, then get hotter.  I will whimper and complain and beg to move back to the northwest.  Then, after a few more last-gasp heat waves, things will cool down again.  Though, for the time being – life is about shorts, sandals, skirts and sunscreen. 

I’ve been busy rejigging the closets; trading in all that wool & fleece for cotton & linen.  And since these girls seem to grow faster than our student loans – it’s nice when switching out their wardrobes doesn’t involve a major shopping expedition.  

I’ve found that a pair of pinking sheers (and, if available, a sewing machine) can turn an entire collection of old/ripped/scruffy/outgrown leggings and long-sleeve shirts into a great collection of shorts and t-shirts. 

So…essentially…these pajama bottoms…

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become these shorts…

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I’ve run these through the wash several times, but thanks to the zigzag cut of the pinking sheers, we’ve had no fraying (yet).  They’ll likely fray eventually, but I’m sure they’ll make it through one, hot summer.   I’ve been shocked to find that I can take baby leggings (sized 6-9 months), snip off the legs and they will still fit my 2.5 year old perfectly around the waist. 

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For a more lasting hold, try stitching.  First cut with regular fabric scissors, then zigzag stitch right across the bottom. 

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The knit fabric will stretch as you sew and create a ripple across the bottom.  So this…

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after a zigzag stitch, becomes this…

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These ruffled shorts look really cute under dresses and/or will work as pjs.  {I guess a basic hem might work best for boys?}

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By combining the two methods, you can have a stack of new shorts/PJs in no time. 

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Cut the arms off t-shirts for the same results.  Or,  consider turning shirts into bibs or art aprons.  (Note: grown up shirts work great for big sisters & brothers)

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Finally…we’ve been using the scraps (all those arm & leg pieces) to make quick headbands and a (perhaps excessive?) collection of doll hats.  Wouldn’t our zero-waste, war-era ancestors be proud? <smile>

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Stay cool.

love-s-210[1]

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Homemade Gift Idea #8

Packaging.  It’s something I can’t help but notice… as an environmentalist …a mom…a crafter…a consumer.  I appreciate and am drawn to packaging that looks different…earthy…and of course, homemade. <smile>

This year, even though I’m behind on lots of things (such as…gifts to go INSIDE packages!), I’ve decided it’s high-time we paid a  bit more attention to how we package Christmas morning.  So…while it may not qualify as a “gift” (exactly), I thought I would include it in this lineup.

The best part of this little endevour has been all the fun I’ve had collecting fabrics (most of them thrifted) — curtains here…pillowcases there…and turning them into colorful, long-lasting gift wrap. 

An example?  Here’s a photo of the gift I just sent off to one of the loveliest, most unique and precious women on this earth (…our mama). <smile>

Stumbled upon this eccentric t-shirt that reminded me of our colorful mamita at a local thrift store.

Only took a moment to turn it into a nice little drawstring bag (and gift wrap)

Inside were several goodies…including a book, wrapped in this:

A Paris t-shirt and recycled ribbon

Wish I could be there to see her open it…but, knowing our resourceful mama…I suspect she’ll enjoy the wrapping almost as much as the gifts inside. 

Tell her I love her next time you see her. <big smile>

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Here are three things I’ve loved about today:

1. Finding 2.5 yards of this cooler-than-cool fabric at one of our local thrift stores.  Still don’t know what to do with it…any suggestions? 

2. Letting Wynn decorate the house for Halloween…complete with Fairytale Pumpkin.  (Note: she made the candy-catcher out of an old Trader Joes coffee tin — I HATE throwing those away!)

3.  New life for small socks!  Found this idea on-line: http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/sock_gloves   It took five minutes (seriously!).  Wynn loves them.  Imagine how sweet they’d be if I’d bothered to use cute socks and matching thread…  Plan to keep a pair in the stroller, the car, etc.  For glove emergencies…

Neat stuff…and it’s only 2:30 in the afternoon!  What else might this day have in store for us?  Off to find out…

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