Before & after category

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belt bag pouch hip

Small pouch purse

I am all about being hands-free and reducing the weight on my shoulders. I use a lumbar bag instead of a backpack for hiking. Being an asthmatic, taking the load off my shoulders makes a world of difference. Any chiropractor will tell you that carrying a heavy purse on one shoulder can cause misalignment, strain, and injury, so I wanted to find a fashionable belt bag for everyday use. But, aside from the infamously hideous fanny packs of the 80s, I had yet to find one. That’s why when I came across these fabulous hip pouches on Etsy, I was excited.

The North Face - Sport Hiker (Black) - Bags and LuggageRecycled Leather Hip Bags by Happy CowStow All Unisex Pocket Belt in GreenRecycled Black Leather unisex Hip pouchHappy Cow Urban Travel PacksBlack Gold Utility Wear Pocket and Belt

Clockwise from top left: The North Face Sport Hiker, Recycled Leather Hip Bags by Happy Cow, Stow All Unisex Pocket Belt in Green, Black Gold Utility Wear Pocket and Belt, Happy Cow Urban Travel Packs, Recycled Black Leather Unisex Hip pouch.

Then I thought there might be a way to convert a regular purse into a pocket belt. To make one as cheaply as possible, I combed thrift stores for the right purse. I bought this black fabric pouch purse for $3. Converting it to a hip pouch was a cinch. This one is great for casual T-shirt-and-jeans days, but now I’m on the hunt for a more dressy, leather version.
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Frame within a frame - after

Thrift store frames

I absolutely adore this “bird cage” illustration by Emma SanCartier. And I wanted to make this small piece of art stand out. I could have mounted it in an up-sized frame with generous matting. I decided to make a frame-within-a-frame instead, mostly because I already had all the supplies on hand. The frames were thrift store finds, and the fabric was a scrap I picked up from Fabmo. To buy your own “bird cage” print or any of Emma’s other gorgeous prints, go to her Etsy shop. Read more »

Wallpapered dressing table - after

Wallpapered dressing table - before

Introducing a new guest nester! Australian Abby Matthews blogs about the things that inspire her at Two Little Dicky Birds. Abby’s remake of this tired, chipped pine dressing table reminds me of my wallpapered cart, but she used an entirely different (and better?) process, so I had to share it with you. Abby writes: “I was inspired by Bryonie Porter’s wallpapered furniture, but wasn’t confident that I could carry off wallpapering the entire table, so I decided to just apply the paper to the top. It was just as well, as I botched the first wallpaper application and used up the bulk of the paper the second time around. The wallpaper I used is a Florence Broadhurst design from an offcut won on eBay. It’s currently used as a writing/computer desk in our living area and is definitely my favourite piece of furniture.” Thanks, Abby! Read more »

Patchwork pin board - after

Salvaged bulletin board - before

Pottery Barn Style Tiles

Compare to Pottery Barn Teen's fabulous but expensive Style Tiles

Whenever I speak to my dad on the phone, he always asks, “Miss me?” This past month I’ve been getting concerned emails, so apparently some of you missed me—or at least my weekly blog posts. I’ve missed you too. I think I just needed a break. But I’m happy to say I’m back. I’ll be posting every week again. And sending long overdue responses to your emails and comments (my apologies!). This pin board project started with a friend’s broken, holey bulletin board and some free fabric samples. I just added copious amounts of hot glue and some white paint. It reminds me of Pottery Barn Teen’s Style Tiles—which are $340. Mine only cost me about $7. Read more »

DIY reusable gift canisters

Chocolate canisters - before

Here’s a last-minute idea for us last-minute gift wrappers. I felt guilty about discarding those round, sturdy cardboard canisters that hold nuts, cocoa, and other foods. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think they can be recycled (aluminum + cardboard?). But they definitely can be reused! Here, I covered them in gift wrap and tied on ribbon—and they can be reused year after year to hold anything from cookies to socks. Or you could wrap them in everyday decorative paper and use them as pencil holders or storage containers. I just thought they were too cute to toss. (The blue and green is for you, Carolyn!) Read more »

DIY tank top headband

Tank top headband - before

Remember my tank top totes from a few weeks ago? Well, I just had to share this tip. The piece I cut off the bottom of the one of the tank tops made a perfect—and super comfortable—headband. My friend Rhean did a beautiful job modeling it for me. So, save your scraps. Mine is about four inches wide, but nearly any width works. Skinnier = headband; wider = head wrap. They’re ideal for pulling your hair back to wash your face or apply make-up too. Read more »

Maria's table and decorations - after

Maria's table and decorations - before

Our new guest nester, Maria Romvari, transformed this corner of her house for her Hungarian blog A Hoover-gáton is túl, and she’s sharing her tutorial with us! Maria used ordinary thrift store items—side table, vase, and mismatched frames—totaling $10.67 to create this stunning vignette. Another $17.75 spent on paint, primer, and a brush bring the total to less than $30. Add some of her own photos and candle holders, and she was ready to start the transformation. Maria loves the clean, fresh look of white (a girl after my own heart!), but her husband wasn’t keen on the idea (he said white reminds him of hospitals), so he suggested staining the tabletop. It all came together beautifully, don’t you think? Read more »

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