The same purpose…

So as frugal and eco-friendly people, we really love to repurpose things.  But does it really have to be a hugely different endeavor?  No way! 

IMG_2402 One of our eternal problems is storage, of course (us and the rest of the world, I know).  Nick’s office had little to no storage other than one small desk cabinet.  When I moved in, I brought a big box store laminate bookcase with me, but it didn’t survive the move in one piece, alas.  For a while, it sat in the office in a rather sad state, half undone and very wobbly.  After navigating the floor full of papers and computer parts for the LAST TIME, I declared that I would install some shelving in that room if it killed me.

Nick was actually rather amenable to the idea, and we decided that the bookshelf could still serve a good purpose in life, and continue on as wall shelves!  Why buy new chunks of melamine when we had a batch ready to go?  So after deconstructing the old bookshelf, I filled in the old holes and painted over the spots and edges, and had a batch of 8 black shelves, ready to go.

Another $30 worth of brackets from Home Depot and we were ready to go (with new shelves, we would have run close to $200).  We mapped out where the shelves should go, and started balancing and anchoring!  Finally, we have a delightfully organized and customized set of shelves for Nick to display his fun stuff, and store his work stuff.  Because there is a lot of stuff going on.  One tier was placed high, for displays, and a few other shelves were placed lower to hold books and CDs.  The shelves are VERY solid and are rated to hold up to 60lbs each.

Yeah, he’s still a little miffed that I won’t let him keep the Voltron on the mantle in the living room, but he’s a little happier now.

How’s your recycle/upcycle/repurpose project going?

What did you do for the holiday?

This is a little belated, but the Boy and I made a great wall feature over the 4th weekend.  It was the first project of it’s kind we’d taken on, and with new Ryobi circular saw in hand, we embarked upon a great adventure!


The Bamboo Flower Box Wall Art Feature!  Now with lights!

It is admittedly not a new idea; I pulled it from a show on HGTV, but the construction and application were all us.  The main component was the bamboo, which I happened to find a HUGE deal of at the Arc a few weeks beforehand, on a SUPER DUPER SALE. These reeds can be found typically at your localimage crafting/decor store.  We needed to make a long, thin box to hold the bamboo with, and since there was nothing available in the size we wanted, we decided to make it ourselves! Our trip to Home Depot brought us to the ‘remnants’ section of lumber, where we purchased four pieces of lumber for… $0.50 each! So just $2 for our lumber! Also, the reeds were on sale for $1 a package (we used about three… I still have three more left! 
Before we went shopping for our box-making supplies, we made some cursory sketches based on our measurements of the wall and the area where we wanted the feature to be (it’s next to our dining table).  We wanted it to be about 3 feet (the height of the reeds) by 4 feet, but very shallow, as to not take away space from the room.  And it IS intended to be a wall feature, of course.

We made the box with pine and poplar, and we discovered that poplar does not take well to screws, and tends to split.  In the future we’ll stick with pine! Construction was done with #6 1.25 inch wood screws and wood glue. The finished dimensions of the box are 3×3.5×48, open at the top.

imageWe also picked up the Ryobi set of cordless drill and circular saw, which was invaluable. I was going to ask for one for Christmas… XD But Boy decided we might as well have it now! It came in VERY handy indeed!  As you can see, we worked outside on our patio (we live in a townhome and have no backyard!) on my bulky fold up table, and we had a lot of success.  I was definitely concerned about our lack of outside space, but our small front yard and patio worked fine (pardon my dead plants ;_; Gardening is not yet a skill I have).

We painted with Krylon dark brown spray paint to contrast the blonde bamboo and coordinate a little more with the dining furniture. Just about two coats did it! A 1.5" hole was drilled in the bottom for the string of lights.  We put about an inch and a half of floral foam in the bottom to help stabilize the bamboo, and then set them in place. It was finished off with a layer of river pebbles from Hobby Lobby (about one and a half bags at $3 each). 
Et voila! Also it glows in the dark! XD We need to tack down the rope light a little, but otherwise not bad. So how did your holiday weekend projects go?


Lofty goals…




I’ve been struggling to find any and all neutral and aqua pillows to add a splash of lighter, brighter color to our beige and red-highlighted living room.  The Boy indicated one day that aqua was a color he liked, so I thought, why not?  Pillows aren’t a big commitment in any case, so I’ll try it out.pillow04

Alas, pillows brand new are prohibitively expensive!  Even when I started plotting to make my own, I was disappointed at the prices of pillow inserts!  Goodness, $20 for a 20 inch pillow?  That wasn’t going to fit within my nonexistent budget.  So what else to do but turn to my local secondhand shops?  On a trip with friends, I picked up several secondhand pillows – after confirming of course that they had separate inserts that could be removed.  I paid between $3-4 per pillow.  With two sets each of 20 inch and 18 inch, as well as an extra large floor pillow, I went in search of fabric.

I had some more neutral browns and soft grays in my collection, so I picked up remnants in the aqua color I was looking for.  Remnants are typically marked down at least once, and were on sale another half off their sticker price, so I saved a lot!  I’ve finished two so far, and have a few more to go!

pillowdiagram Want to try it?  It’s a piece of cake!  Get your fabric and sewing supplies, and here we go!  Measure your inserts from seam to seam, both ways.  Add an inch to each of those measurements for your seam allowance (that provides about a half inch for a seam allowance on each side).  Cut one side – presumably the front side – using those measurements.  Now hang on!  The opposite side – presumably the back side – can be cut differently, so we avoid any awkward seams.  For the reverse side, add about 6 inches to your original measurement for ONE direction.  Assuming your pillows are square, you’ll then have one square, and one rectangle.  Cut that rectangle in half.  Hem one long edge of each half of the ‘back’ pieces.

Now, on to the sewing!  Line up your pieces with all your right sides together.  The two back pieces should overlap each other a few inches in the middle.  This will be the pillow closure, but with the overlap, you don’t need any connections or hardware, leaving the pillow smooth and comfy.  Sew at a half inch from the edge, trip, and turn it out to the right side.  Fill it with your insert, fluff it up, and you’re done! 

I added a stripe to my second pillow there just by sewing in a contrasting color strip and then proceeding with the directions as regular.  The color – and the support – is a great addition to the room!  What’s your favorite fast and frugal room update?