Thursday, October 29, 2009



Just a reminder that next Thursday, November 5 is Thrift Store Thursday! It’s a linky party for everybody to join and show any treasures that you’ve found lately at the thrift or consignment store, garage sale or anything second hand.

It really doesn’t matter what it is: big, small, fabulous or funny. You know I love a bargain! I’ve found quite a few things in the past month, so I’ll just pick and choose some of my highlights.

Grab my button and spread the word!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thrift Store Marriage

It’s DIY day at Kimba’s!

I regularly show you my thrift store finds and tell you that I’m going to do this or that with it.  However, it is often so long before I do anything, if at all, that you may wonder if it ever gets done.  I’ll be honest, sometimes it doesn’t.  But sometimes it does, even if it is months later.

Back in February I found these Pottery Barn panels at Goodwill for $4/pr.  They were only 63”, so I said I’d do something to fix that.  IMG_2104

Then in September I got this fringed bedskirt for about $7, and said I had plans for it.

The two came together as one.  Here is the “before”.  (The thing on the wall which appears to be a large lizard is artwork made of leaves that Skippy gave Pinkerbelle for her birthday.)IMG_3862

And here is the “after”.IMG_4327


And yes, I’m only showing one side because that’s all I have done so far.  The point is, I did something.  So, $11 for what will be a pair of custom curtain panels.  I could make all kinds of excuses, like I know it looks a little heavy on the bottom, and I wanted to put the ruffled bedskirt part at the top but it was much, much easier this way, and that I know I should try to find some kind of fancy trim to put at the joining seam.

But you know what?  Sometimes it’s okay to be content with “good enough”.  I don’t call  myself a lazy seamstress for nothing!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fun With Scrabble Tiles

If you ever come across a Scrabble game at a thrift store or garage sale for a couple bucks, be sure to grab it.  There are so many fun things to do with it besides just play the game.
When my sisters were here during the summer, we made Scrabble tile pendants.  Wendy had the idea  to make a bunch of them without the bail (the part that allows you to hang it from a chain), and just display them grouped in a bowl or apothecary jar.
That would be so cute, and fun to look through.  Here’s an idea I just came up with:  what if you saved some little scrap of pretty paper from every vacation or other special event and made a tile with it.  Then you could have a display of little mementos.  I love that idea!
Currently, I’ve made a message center with my game.  I glued two of the racks together and put them on a table along with a pretty milk glass bowl full of the tiles.  To begin, I spelled out ‘leave a message’, and we were off.  It’s hard for anyone to pass by it without changing the message.
Sometimes the message is fun, sometimes comical, sometimes encouraging, and to be honest, sometimes not so nice.  Yesterday I put “sing and be happy”, someone changed that to “be happy”, and someone (you know who you are) changed that to “be UNhappy”.  I’m trying to discourage that kind of thing, even if they are trying to be funny.
It’s getting the family communicating in a fun way, and that’s a good thing in my book!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Definite Maybe

I’m not sure where this picture originally comes from, but as soon as I saw it I thought of my new table. (Don't you just love the chair too, with the sweet little skirt?)

vanity table


I really like the look, but I’m not sure about introducing yet another color into my collection of furniture finishes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Patience and Persistence Pays Off

There is a little stretch of wall in the walkway between the living room leading to the family room that I have been needing a table for. Because it functions more or less as a hallway, the table had to be narrow, not more than 12-13”.

This is the table that had been there until now. It was too small, and it was wobbly, making it an unsafe place to display much of anything. (The frame was temporary.)


The last several weeks I had really kicked my search into high gear. Hours were spent on craigslist, special trips made to antique malls, and of course the regular thrift shop rounds. I saw several that might have worked, but it had to be cheap. I saw several that were super cheap and might have worked, but weren’t exactly what I wanted.

This week, on one of my regular consignment store stops, there it was. It was long side-to-side, but it was only 12” front to back. Price check: $65. Doable. I was standing there looking at it and measuring it, and another lady came up like I wasn’t even there and started running her hand across it. As soon as she backed away, I picked it up and took it to the front. Things go really fast at this store, and I couldn’t leave it to chance.

Look how well it fits in the space.


More importantly, it’s not a hazard to passers-by. You can see how anything much more than 12” deep would have been in the way.


One of my wishes was a little bit of storage, at least a drawer, at the very least a shelf on the bottom for display. I got the shelf. Maybe I could put some of those displaced pantry baskets there. What do you think? I don’t know.


Oak furniture is not typically one of my favorites. In fact, when I first got this, I was thinking paint. I still might, but I’d almost feel bad to do it, because it does have a very nice finish, even if it is oak.

Either way, it’s a perfect fit, it’s sturdy, and I can display lots of things on it. Including Aunt Maggie, a family heirloom clock, which I never had a good place for before. I’m so glad to have her familiar tick-tock, tick-tock and on the hour and half-hour her Bong!Bong!Bong! . It sounds like home.IMG_4281

I’m sure I could have found a perfect table much sooner if I had been willing to pay a lot more. In fact, I saw an ideal little chest of drawers at an antique mall, but it was $400. Out of the question.

Time after time, patiently continuing to search has turned up the right item at the right price. I guess that’s why it’s called bargain hunting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Start ’em Young

Back in September (exactly one month ago today, actually) on one of the nights it was Pinkerbelle’s turn to set the table, she did this:


We all had one. She came up with it and did it herself. I’m not sure where she got the idea, because I certainly don’t make us place cards. She wanted me to take a picture and put it on my blog; got the photo, but didn't blog it until...

Today, I was over at The Shabby Nest looking at Wendy’s beautiful table setting. Guess what she did? Scroll down to the second-to-last photo.

Apparently I have a future decorator on my hands!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pantry Labels

Thanks for your encouraging words yesterday...actually, I like it better too!

Yesterday I spent about an hour wandering around Hobby Lobby trying to figure out how to make the labels for my new pantry bins. I wanted chalkboard, but I wanted it fast.

I looked at wooden tags that would involve painting. I didn’t want to wait for that. I looked for chalkboard vinyl paper. Couldn’t find any. While perusing the scrapbooking section, I decided just to buy one 33cent sheet of black cardstock.

At home I had some burlap. For a sturdy backing, I used a piece of cardboard that they put in the bag at Archiver’s to keep the scrapbook paper from bending. Any scrap of medium cardboard would work fine.

This photo shows a progression. Cut the cardboard to the desired size, glue it to a larger piece of burlap, then fray the edges of the burlap and trim to about 1/4”.


I used Fabri-Tac glue that I got at Hobby Lobby for applying my sons’ Boy Scout patches. It’s heavy duty stuff. You could probably just use regular glue, but it would take longer to dry. This stuff adhered almost instantly, like a glue gun without the burned fingers. I applied the glue right around and up to the edge of the cardboard so that the burlap wouldn’t fray beyond that edge.

Next , I cut the black cardstock slightly smaller than the cardboard pieces. I used regular chalk to write on it, which worked fine, but obviously you can’t erase it, so you’ve got to get it just how you want it the first time (or have an endless supply of black cardstock, which I didn’t).

The thing is, it smudged if you touched it. I needed some kind of fixative. I tried hairspray.


At first the chalk nearly disappeared, but once it dried, it looked fine again, and it didn’t smudge!


At this point, I consider the cardstock a temporary solution, so I just used a little piece of tape to stick it to the burlap tag. That way I can easily change it if I want to. (I know that technically you’re not supposed to store onions and potatoes together, but I’m a rebel.)


Rats. This morning it smudges.


Well, like I said, temporary. Liquid chalk or a white paint pen might be the solution here.

There you go! You get the idea. Cute labels for your pantry.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


A few months ago, I reorganized my pantry. We spent a Saturday afternoon driving around to different Walgreens stores so I could get enough of the baskets I wanted.

The thing is, even at the time I had a little feeling in the back of my head that the baskets weren’t right for the job. I suppressed it, though, because I had seen lots of pantries with baskets around the blogs, and I wanted my pantry to look pretty like ya’ll’s. And I wanted it to be blog-worthy. I wanted to impress you.

Act like a high-schooler much? Um, yah.

So here’s the basket-ed pantry. It looks nice, but as I suspected, these baskets weren’t practical. They didn’t slide well on the wire shelves (the wicker sometimes snagged), and they were too tall to easily get things in and out of without sliding. You also couldn’t easily see what was in them, and in reality, they weren’t quite big enough. Are you impressed?

So, a couple weeks ago I sucked it up and went back to Walmart and got the Sterilite bins that I originally rejected. Today I got around to redoing the whole thing.

Here it is now, much more functional, and you know, it still looks pretty good. Plus, I still have all those baskets to do other things with. Tomorrow I will tell you about how I labeled them; I think it helped cute-ify it.


The moral of this story is this: in your home, do what works for you (do not apply this to moral decisions about life in general). Don’t do something just because you think the bloggers will like it. For the most part, none of them will ever be in your home anyway, and none of them will have to live with it on a daily basis. And you'll be happier in the end.

Here endeth the lesson. I’m probably the only one who needed to learn it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Over the Top

My friend Amanda at Serenity Now (love that name, though I’m more on the “insanity later” spectrum) has bestowed me with the “Over the Top” award! Thanks, Amanda! This one looks fun: I have to answer each question with just one word. (A few of the answers may make more sense if you know that I wrote this at 10 pm last night.)

1.Where is your cell phone? purse
2.Your hair? reddish
3. Your mother? heaven
4. Your father? preacher
5. Your favorite food? sweet
6. Your dream last night? strange
7. Your favorite drink? iced coffee
8. Your dream/goal? contentment
9. What room are you in? dining
10. Your hobby? blogging
11. Your fear? cancer
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? happy
13. Where were you last night? home
14.Something you aren’t? outgoing
15. Muffins? banana-chocolate chip
16. Wish list item? deck
17. Where did you grow up? Ontario, Canada
18. Last thing you did? snack
19. What are you wearing? pajamas
20. Your TV? ancient
21. Your pets? exhausting
22. Your friends? scattered
23. Your life? repetitive
24. Your mood? reflective
25. Missing someone? sisters
27. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
28. Your favorite store? thrift
29. Your favorite color? red
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? forget
32. Best Friend? Craig
33. One place that I go over and over again? bed
34. One person who emails me regularly? Dixie
35. Favorite place to eat? Rendezvous Cafe

I’m going to pass this on to anybody who wants it, anybody who needs material for their blog today, or anybody who just thinks it would be fun. Leave a comment and let me know if you do it, because I’d like to read it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Total Overhaul

Today I became quite…intimate… with my seam ripper. It was a rocky relationship; tempers flared. But in the end, we were able to pull it off.

I totally started over on my felted wool bag.

I liked it, but I knew I wouldn’t use it because the straps were way too bulky. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going, but I knew the straps had to come off. I cut pieces off, I ripped out seams, I sewed new ones.

And ripped the new ones out again, and sewed them up again. My sewing machine is having tension issues. If you sew, you know that bad tension can really mess things up. And in turn, give you tension issues, like screaming and slamming things down in disgust.

But I digress. I turned the two straps into one long one. I made a lining out of scraps of drop cloth. When I was, at last, finished, I decided that I needed some closure.

No, not the kind you get by burning your ex-boyfriend’s love letters, although there were moments when I definitely considered doing the equivalent to my sewing machine. Whatever that would be.

What I needed was a button. At the antique mall last Saturday, I bought two bags of vintage buttons. I found one that worked, sewed it on, and made a little strap to button up the bag.

And here’s the finished product:


I think the butterscotch-colored button adds a little pizzazz. And look, I even have a pocket for my cell phone!


Okay, so the inside’s not too pretty. I still have a little clean-up to do on dangling threads. But it’s functional, and I really like the outside, and I will definitely use this second reincarnation of the wool sweater, which was the whole point in the first place.

Oh, and here’s a tip for you from Dixie. Shaving your felted wool will greatly reduce the fuzzies.IMG_4217

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Recycled Wool Sweater Becomes Tote Bag

Last year my friend Dixie (happy birthday, Dixie!) introduced me to Betz White and the concept of felting wool sweaters for repurposing. I even picked up some sweaters at the thrift store for that purpose.

Then I recently saw Wendy’s sweater tote, subsequently found one at Canadian Living, and decided a tote would be my first felting project.

I found a men’s large 100% wool sweater on the dollar rack the thrift store. I liked the tone-on-tone stripe.IMG_4144

After two trips through the washing machine on hot with high agitation, and machine drying, it shrank down to this (use the couch cushions for size comparison).IMG_4186

I cut it apart:IMG_4187

The above linked instructions just used the shoulders as the handles, but I wanted longer straps to be able to carry it over my shoulder. So, I cut two basically equal pieces from the sleeves.IMG_4196

I pinned and sewed across the bottom (wrong side out). The instructions show turning it so that the sweater side seams are down the front and back; I didn’t do that since I was changing it up a little. I did sew a gusset, as shown on the Canadian Living diagrams.IMG_4197

After turning it right side out, I pinned the pieces of sleeves to the shoulder sections (which I had cut apart at the seam) and sewed straight across. There were two of these, forming two straps. IMG_4205

Felted wool will not ravel, but for a finished look, I turned all the raw edges under and sewed around.

Here’s the finished bag!IMG_4214

This was fun (other than the sewing machine giving me fits; I think it may be on its way out), and the end result looks pretty good, but I learned a few things.

1.The two wool straps are too thick and bulky to comfortably carry on my shoulder. Next time, I’m going to modify it to a single-strapped bag.

2. A lining would make the bag more functional, and neater looking on the inside.

3. Hand-sewing certain sections would make for less frustration while topstitching on the machine, and a nicer looking finished product.

I plan to try this again and will show you any improvements I’ve made.

Edit: Go here to see how I remade this bag.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Project

I know with absolute certainty that I took ‘before’ and ‘during’ photos of this project. However, they are nowhere to be found, and judging by a few of the surprise photos I found on my camera, I think they were most likely deleted by a certain young man.

**Edit:  I found the pictures; they were on a different computer.

Our master bath was very like this:


Double sinks with a big plate mirror above. Our vanity does not have drawers like this one, and there was no real convenient place to keep all the stuff we use every day. All the contact lens paraphernalia, toothbrushes and paste, face wash and lotions, etc. were constantly spread out all over the counter.

It was a hot mess.

On our first walk-thru, I had them replace several of the kitchen cabinet doors, but I kept the old ones. The cabinetry is the same all over the house, and I thought they might come in handy one day.

And so they did! Some time ago I got the idea to make medicine cabinets using two of the cabinet doors. While my dad was here, he and Craig got to work and executed my plan.

First, they built two boxes with shelves out of 1x4 boards. medcab

The cabinet doors were attached with hinges.


After some trial and error with stain, and unsatisfactory results, Dad suggested color-matching paint to the cabinet doors, and just painting the box. It worked out very well, and you really wouldn’t even notice the difference if I didn’t tell you.IMG_4203

We had some mirror cut, first at Lowe’s, then at a glass shop. Take my advice if you need a precise cut, and just start with the glass shop. The mirror was glued into the inset of the cabinet.

My vanity area went from this (the hinged box was intended to keep stuff in, but it wasn’t convenient or big enough):bathroomb4

To this:


I love it! It’s easy to keep everything put away, and my vanity actually looks tidy! It’s just as I envisioned it.


Fabulous job, guys! Thanks!

Look at A Soft Place to Land for more DIY projects.