Hello 2011 - Happy New Year everyone!

Ah goodbye 2010... This was one big year of transition but well worth it. And 2011 - you are going to be amazing! Why? Because this year was full of FAB projects, kewl peeps and some pretty nifty milestones. Next year will be better!

FAB Projects

Here are my favourite projects from 2010:

Stenciled cork boards...

Funky iPhone sleeves...

My kewl pillows for kewl peeps project...

Pillow covers from an upcycled skirt...

My refinished dresser along with the rest of my bedroom set...

This super fun chalkboard end table...

The one of a kind office chair update...

This update of a $1 chair in 24 hours...

Kewl Peeps

Lots of neato crafters/upcyclers/entrepreneurs out there whether I've met them in person or via cyberspace. I've met a few people locally and then through my blog, Twitter and Facebook. It's super inspiring to connect and to see what other people are up to.

Carol @ http://carolbrowne.com
Cynthia @ http://cynthiaf.ca
Lysa @ http://redspottedpatch.blogspot.com
Carol @ http://www.favouritegifts.ca
Suji @ http://www.bowwowhaus.ca
All the ladies at the Happy Cat Haven Garage Sale
Barb at Gibsons Recycling Depot

Nifty Milestones

This year I got a teeny tiny bit serious about TBD by doing the following:

I registered my business name, Thrifty By Design, and launched my site, http://www.thriftybydesign.ca...

I designed TBD MOO MiniCards to use as hang tags...

And then I got a few of my craft pieces into local stores like these doggie stockings...

That's 2010... Here's to the new year and all it has to offer!

Best wishes for 2011 to all my family & friends! And to all my new crafty peeps out there! Thanks for making 2010 a FAB year. :-)


There's tons to be excited about

What a week it's been! I'm off work this week so have been playing catch up... Working on freelance gigs, finishing up some sewing projects, etc. I designed my Thrifty By Design site this week too! Phew! It's a phase 1 launch for now. I'll be adding a few more pages in the next week or so. I thought I would create a page called 'Local Haunts' featuring my regular stops - thrift stores, craft stores, hardware stores... Always handy to share inside info!

Visit my new site at http://www.thriftybydesign.ca - send feedback if you feel inspired... Suggestions, improvements and/or accolades are always welcome!

Other things to be excited about are... Drawer pulls! Yup I am darn excited about drawer pulls. I couldn't believe my luck today - drawer pulls are 50% off at Windsor Plywood. That's a big deal considering the ones I wanted for my cabinet update are regularly $14/each! Eh gad crazy, isn't it?

Today was a gorgeous sunny winter day so I took off on some errands. First stop Windsor Plywood so I could get my drawer pulls then be able to update my cabinet this weekend. I was pretty giddy once I found out about the sale. I budgeted $100 for 8 drawer pulls but left with 12 drawer pulls and only spent $85 including tax. I'm sure the guys at Windsor Plywood probably thought I was a bit wacky but I got some FAB drawer pulls and I was super happy about it!

These are the drawer pulls I'll be using on my cabinet...

I also picked up these drawer pulls - I might use them for my magazine rack and my night table since they match the drawer pulls I used for my dresser update...

If you live in North Vancouver, you should drop by Windsor Plywood - they have lots of drawer pulls to choose from...

My other fun purchase today was some more Pyrex bowls from the Salvation Army. I picked up 3 mini bowls - one of which came with a lid. The white bowls were $4/each and the green bowl with the lid was $5.

Tonight I'll do some work but tomorrow I am sanding and staining my cabinet! Then adding the new drawer pulls... I can't wait to refinish some furniture!


Form over function

Hope everyone had a wonderful Xmas! I was sewing up until 5pm on Xmas eve... Talk about cutting it close! December 24th was all about stockings... 1 dog stocking, 2 cat stockings and 1 giant human stocking. I'll post photos soon. The big stocking turned out well so now I have a pattern for next year!

Next is to work on my Thrifty By Design site and get back into furniture updates. I think I may take the plunge and have a housewarming next month. I know I moved mid-August but timing is everything! So if I do have the housewarming, I have furniture to update and paintings to finish in a jiffy... My walls are still a teeny tiny bit bare!

Yesterday I met up with my new buddy Hiron who owns Kiri Kids Clothing, a kids clothing company based in Vancouver. We met up on Commercial Drive and had a lot of coffee and checked out some of the stores along the Drive.

I fell in love with some fabric at Dream Designs... It's gorgeous! And expensive - $32/metre. Quite extravagant for me! I thought it would work with the stools I want to update.

Last night I did a test run on updating one of the stools. I'm not sure the fabric is as sturdy as it needs to be. The stool looks FAB but is it completely functional or is it just about looking good? Here's the before and after shot of the stool - I still need to tweek how the fabric fits.



If I decide to go for function over form then I'll try using canvas for the seat and stenciling it. I had a couple of ideas for the stenciling...

Not all will be lost if I don't use the fabric for the stools - I can use the fabric to reupholster these chairs...

What do you think - should I go for form or function? :-)


Merry Xmas everyone!

Best wishes for Xmas... May your day be filled with peace, love & joy! To my family & friends - thanks for giving me TONS to be grateful for! xo

(And thanks to Martha for her collection of holiday gift tags and labels... Aka my above Xmas graphic!)


It's all in the stitching

I am so close to finishing up my 2010 sewing commitments... I'm ready to put my little Singer away and focus on other projects for a bit. This weekend I made some pillows for Favourite Unique Gifts and Accessories. I used my grey wool blend from Dressew. It's always the floss that stumps me... It's all about the right colour for the stitching especially the script. I used a lighter floss on both of these pillows. I really like working with the lighter grey wool!

Here's my 'ORANGE you great' design...

And my 'You are BERRY sweet' design...

What a busy weekend it was... Pillow covers, cork stenciling and next I'll be finishing up a Xmas stocking for a friend. I have some good news too... My MOO MiniCards arrived today! They arrived 2 weeks earlier than the estimated delivery date. I love them!! They're super nifty! :-)

The countdown is on... 2011 is going to be a great year! I've got big plans!


Could stenciling be addictive?

Today my uber wonderful Dad came over and we hung the completed cork boards. I wanted them right by my desk. Once they were up, I started placing business cards on them. Wow - they look great! Stenciling things is fun!

I picked up 2 more wood panels since I have 2 cork boards left. I'll stencil the cork boards over Xmas for a friend. I've definitely gotten a lot of positive feedback on this project... And it really was a super simple update!

Recent Finds

I actually picked up a couple of collapsible stools this afternoon at the Salvation Army for $4/each. I need to do a quick sanding and oiling of the wood and then I want to replace the fabric. I was wondering what patterned canvas I could use then realized I could do something a bit different with this update. I have plain canvas that I could... Stencil! That's why I wonder if stenciling is addictive! I want to stencil everything now!

I'll have to sketch out some ideas for the stencil... Should I use words or a word or a pattern? I love these pieces by Knack Studios.

I am super pumped about working on furniture in January. I have the stools and my cabinet. I hope to make it to Windsor Plywood this week for drawer pulls. Man I can't believe how excited I am about picking out drawer pulls... Kookie I know! :-)


More fun with stenciling

I've now completed the 4 cork boards - all are stenciled and mounted onto wood panels. Next will be hanging them... That'll be Monday's project.

Here they are!

I think the stenciling works well with the cork. Thanks to Peter at work for donating the vinyl! I'll be stenciling like mad since I still have quite the stash of vinyl.

I'm looking forward to getting them up beside my desk and adding business cards, photos, etc. Next I'll get back to sewing... I have some pillow covers to make, more Xmas stockings and I might even make some felt applique Xmas ornaments for a friend.


Fun with cork and stencils

Ages ago I acquired six 12" x 12" pieces of dark brown cork for free. I wasn't sure how to display them but I knew they would work well on my walls for setting up an inspiration board, etc.

One thing I figured was that I could definitely find a cheap solution for mounting the cork. That proved to be difficult! I thought I could find some secondhand frames... No luck! Oddly enough square frames are hard to find especially secondhand. Then I thought I could find another cheap alternative but nothing cheap came along. I finally decided to purchase 4 wood panels from Opus Framing & Art Supplies for $9/each. It seemed expensive at first but they really were the perfect option.

Now that I had the cork board and wood panels, I was ready to glue the cork to the panels and then hang them. But then I decided to add something else to make them more interesting. Why not stencil something onto the cork? Crazy... Not so much. I found some great examples of stenciled cork like these DIY cork coasters.

Last night I took a break from sewing and stenciled one of the boards. I'm stenciling a word on each board - one will say 'peeps' for things related to friends like business cards, one will say 'ideas' for things that inspire me, one will say 'wants' for things I really want and one will say 'needs' for the items I actually need.

Here's board #1...

Here's how I created my personalize cork board. First here are the cork boards I started with...

Next I used the free vinyl I got through work for the stencil. I printed out the words I wanted, taped the paper onto the vinyl then used my X-Acto knife to cut out the letters...

The vinyl had a sticky side that adhered perfectly to the cork. Once I stuck the vinyl onto the cork, I used a sponge to add my white acrylic paint...

Here's the stenciled board on the left and my wood panel on the right. Next I added white glue to the wood panel and placed the cork board on the panel...

I actually stood on the panel initially to help adhere the cork to the board. This got boring fast so after about 10 minutes I replaced my body with books.

This morning I checked on my project and it turned out perfectly...

This weekend I hope to finish up the other 3 boards and then hang them beside my desk... Finally I'll have stuff on my walls!


Rainy Sunday projects

It's a typical December day in Vancouver... Lots of grey, lots of rain! So it's the perfect day for sewing and catching up. I already made some tweaks to the lay out of my blog. Notice the new domain name? I managed to get my TBD domain set up. I created a subdomain for my blog - http://blog.thriftybydesign.ca. Next I'll design and build a site for http://www.thriftybydesign.ca. That's my Xmas break project!

But today I am sewing! I made a set of pillow covers this morning. I wanted to put a design together that would work with the charcoal grey wool I picked up last month and the turquoise felt. I did my usual trolling of Dafont for ideas. I grabbed this font, Damask Dings, then modified one of the designs to work with my 12" x 12" pillow form.

Here's the draft pillow design...

Here are the finished pillow covers...

Instead of hand-stitching the design, I used my machine then sewed the front and back together using a orange-pink thread. I like having the seam show when using wool.

Now onto more pillow covers! :-)


Becoming a grownup... Sort of

This weekend I designed and ordered some MOO MiniCards. MOO MiniCards are pretty nifty - they are 2.75" x 1.10" so much smaller than a regular business card. You can have as many different designs/photos for the front as you want. I went with 5 different designs - I just modified the floral design along the top. I ordered 200 cards for $40 - not bad!

I want to use these cards as part of my hang tags. Next I'll design secondary cards that specify the materials and any care instructions. So yes I'm getting a bit grownup and serious about this crafting thang!

Here's the front design...

And here's the back design...

I also registered my business name, Thrifty By Design, and am in the process of setting up my domain name, http://www.thriftybydesign.ca. My Xmas to New Years project is to rework my blog, set up the domain name and add a few extra pages (about, contact, featured products, etc). It helps to have print and web design experience!

2011 is going to be pretty darn FAB! :-)

To buy or not to buy

Does anyone else have guilt about buying stuff from a dollar store? I do... Should I buy local for everything, buy secondhand as much as I can, dare I avoid dollar stores altogether? I try to buy local as much as possible, buy secondhand when I can and really I don't buy just anything... Even if it's a great deal at a thrift store. I don't like to have a lot of stuff so usually I make something then pass it on...

On my way home last night, I stopped into a dollar store looking for some blank paper. I thought I could make some quick and dirty hang tags for the projects I'm hoping to sell. No luck but I did find a couple of gorgeous mats. One is for my front door and the other is in the kitchen.

The front door mat is lovely. A nice royal blue with a FAB design for $5...

The other mat is grey with a leaf motif for $3...

The mats work perfectly! So now no more dollar store purchases for awhile. :-)

Recent Finds

I've made some great thrift store purchases lately. No furniture but home stuff. I have this affinity for bird designs these days! I grabbed these Pyrex bowls last week. Pyrex is like teak - if you see it and it's in good shape then grab it! It seems vintage Pyrex is popular. Someone actually had Pyrex envy when they saw the bowls I found!

I paid $3 for the small bowl and $5 for the large bowl...

I also found this container for $6...

Project Update

All of my Xmas stockings are complete. I'm taking a breather from stockings although I have a couple of cat stockings I should make for a friend. Maybe in a week or so I'll revisit stockings...

Don't forget you can find Thrifty By Design on Facebook and Twitter or feel free to email me at denise@thriftybydesign.ca.