February 28, 2011

Guest Post: Ballard Knock-off

{Ballard knock-off print}

hi everyone, I'm Alison from

Stuff and Nonsense

i'm happy to be
guest posting here on thrifty decorating
and i crafted this project just for the occasion
i called it my
ballard catalog print knock-off
when the last ballard designs catalog
made it's way into my mailbox
one of the items that
caught my eye
was this glycee print on canvas

and i wondered
if i could make something similar
i culled my raw materials from around the house
instant coffee
pages from an old and unloved book
a canvas board
decoupage medium
black construction paper
using the original as a guide
i cut out my book pages into shapes

i mixed the instant coffee with hot water
to dye some of the paper strips

and let them dry for a bit

then i dry fitted the paper pieces onto the canvas board

when i had them just right
i carefully began pasting them down
and covering the entire board with decoupage medium

after drying a couple hours
i second coated the whole thing
the next step
was to 'age' the art
with a mixture of
decoupage medium
brown paint

which was too dark

but after a few more tries
i got the desired color

i brushed the tinted medium on
and let dry


i spray coated with a clear glossy coat
for the shiny finish i wanted

the total cost: $0
since i already had the materials

time spent: a lovely afternoon

payoff: total thrifty satisfaction

Visit my websites: 


Thanks so much for sharing!
Alison has other amazing ideas over at her blog Stuff and Nonsense!  We went to the same college way back and she still lives in our college town in a 100+year old home lovingly called the Duff House that she is restoring.
Here are some of her amazing transformations!

I also like how she turned this:

....into this!

I love Alison's crisp, fresh style!  (and she homeschools, too!)  If you get a chance, check out some of her ideas at ......

Stuff and Nonsense

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February 27, 2011

Closet makeover

{20 Minute Closet Redo}

Organization is truly my nemesis.....yesterday I cleaned all the floors, hung up all the coats, put away all the mittens and mopped.......then my kids decided to play outside!

I was left with piles of coats, boots and mittens......all in about 15 minutes!

So when it comes to organizing closets....drawers......cupboards.....many times I get the attitude of "Why Bother?"......it's going to get undone faster than it took me to DO IT!

So when I decided to tackle the bathroom closet, I gave myself 20 minutes!  This was a project that I needed to do for ME because if my hubby can't find the children's Tylenol at night......You-Know-Who has to come in for the rescue!

So this is what I was starting with and I'm warnin' ya......it ain't pretty!

and more.... (of which I apologize for the spotlight on the "feminine hygiene products"....I really need to learn a thing or two about STAGING!)

(and yes....that gallon of paint contains the original green on the walls of my $20 bathroom makeover!)

Cleaning the linen closet is like an atomic nuclear chain reaction.....as I begin in one spot, it just spills into the next pile....

.....and the next......and the next.....which is why I gave myself 20 minutes!!  I was going to do this without it taxing my time or costing any money!  I didn't need "matchy-matchy" baskets or bins......I just needed convenient access to stuff!
The first step was to PURGE!!  My husband holds onto 80's cassette tapes, I hold onto blankets, sheets and towels......it's this weird compulsion that I feel that I will be saving my family from imminent disaster if I have enough linens....

As I pile them to give away...thoughts like...."What if a giant blizzard knocks out our power for days and we have no heat and the only thing that saves us is piling on multiple layers of flannel sheets???"  (I'm just being honest!)

So I started by emptying the closet.......and making piles to keep, give away, and trash....

It was hard.....I kept having to rip linens from my hands! 

The next step was organizing my sheets! The way to organizing my sheets was to make "packets".......I saw this in blogland somewhere and it's a GREAT idea! 

You put all of your sheets of ONE set into a pillowcase.  That way, if you get a horrendous case of the stomach flu in the middle of the night (which never happens in our house!)......you can just grab a complete set at one time and you're not fumbling for that matching pillowcase.....BRILLIANT!

I then decided to organize our medicine.....priority went to the children's pain reliever!  I have kids that grow an inch overnight, so leg pains are constant.....and they come at 2 AM with a child laying in the hallway writhing in pain.....the sooner we find the meds.......the sooner we get back to sleep!

I just used containers and bins that I already had and grouped "likes" together!  Quick and easy!

And the 20 minute reveal..................(and really....I did keep it to about 20 minutes!  I had piano lessons coming!)


And it didn't cost a thing!

Happy organizing!

Updated:  to correct the gazillion typos!!!  That's what happens when each family members interrupts me 500 times while I'm typing!!
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February 25, 2011

Don't miss this great deal.....

{Adorable Chalkboard Decals}

Over at GroopDealz they are running an awesome deal!  For $4 and FREE shipping, you can get 4 adorable, oval chalkboard vinyl decals!

I want to use mine on some terracotta pots to grow herbs on  my windowsill!  I just ordered 2 sets! 
Click HERE to get your set at that amazing price!

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Jenny's Tutorial.....an embellished t-shirt

{Embellished T-shirts}

Finally.....part 3 of Jenny's TuTu Skirt Tutorial!
You can find Part 1 HERE....the skirt......and Part 2 HERE....the flower pin.
Materials Needed:
Decorative Fabric
Fusible Web
Image for shirt

Take your image and cut it out.  Cut the fabric just a bit larger then the image. 

Iron the fabric onto the fusible web.  Trace the image onto the back of the fusible fabric.  Make sure it is turned the opposite way.  I learned the hard way and ended up with a backward letter!  Cut out your fabric with the fusible webbing on the back. 

Peel off the back of the paper and place the image on the shirt.  Then iron on to the shirt. Make sure it is how you want it.  I like to play around with it at first. 

Once you are finished I like to use a fabric fray on the image.  Or if you have better sewing skills then myself you could stitch around the edges.  I used ribbon and buttons as embellishments.  Just use the same technique for the image, on the ribbon and sew on the buttons. 

Thanks so much, Jenny!  We've really enjoyed all of your tutorials!

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February 23, 2011

Spring is coming!

{Ceramic Tiles...a spring version}

My friend, Melissa, made some decorated tiles for spring....

Love...love.....love the cute button embellishments!  Wouldn't this be a cute end-of-year teacher gift?

And how about this one....

I'm lovin' the hot pink!!  It's melting the snow....wishfully thinking!

In case you missed it, here is another tile idea as a photo holder that I made for my nieces:

To make it a photo holder, I just added a clothespin that I mod podged the purple paper on and then hot glued the clothespin to the tile....

And a gift for a music teacher:

I'm so ready to start thinking spring and flowers and warmth and birds.......
Over Christmas, I posted ideas for how to decorate inexpensive tiles to use as gifts.  All you need is some pretty paper, a printer and mod podge....the tutorial can be found HERE.

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February 22, 2011

Preschool Lapbooking.....(it's not just for homeschoolers!)

I stumbled across the idea of lapbooking because of my friend, Carla.  She showed me a lapbook that her son had done on Knights and I was hooked!  Truthfully though, it is my daughter who adores making a lapbook!

Here are some that we have made....

This was made by my (at-the-time) 4 year old daughter.....

It has been so long since we did this, that I don't remember where we got all of our printables.....but you can see that I just used clear wide packing tape to tape a piece of yellow cardstock to the center as a flap.


HERE is a DLTK site with some Thanksgiving printables.....

At this time, we were working on colors, so I just found a leaf pattern and had my daughter paint the top leaf and then we did each color on an individual leaf. She really enjoyed this activity!

Another idea:

One of the books that we read for preschool was A House for Hermit Crab.....a very fun book!

Homeschool Share has this entire lapbook for free HERE!

We learned months of the year, our address, types of shells and even did letter "H" activities.

For the alphabet activities I used 2 websites....Homeschool Share Free Alphabet Notebook and First School Alphabet printables. 

I also used those 2 websites to make an alphabet notebook for each letter, too.  I would just take a piece of cardstock and we'd glue the printable activities on the front and back of the cardstock for each letter.


This is a view of the back of the folder and, actually, it looks like I just glued her alphabet notebook page to the back of the Hermit Crab lapbook....

HERE are amazing directions with videos for how to make the folds and the mini-books for a lapbook!! Honestly...it took me a while to figure out how to fold the file folder....

Two of my favorite sites for lapbook ideas, direction, and FREE supplies are: Homeschool Share and Jimmie's CollageJimmie's Squidoo Lenses are invaluble!!!  They are just packed with information, worksheets, ideas, resources....

We didn't just do lapbooks and alphabet notebook pages for our year of preschool.  I also supplemented my daughter's preschool year with Get Set for the Code Books A-C.......

....and Math K5 by Bob Jones....

Truly....the time it took me to do this daily was about 15 minutes!!!  Many days, I would quickly print off a paper from one of the sites and have her work on it.  These resources gave her such a head-start that we are about to being first grade 1/2 year early.

If you'd like to see ideas that I've done with my older boys, let me know and I can do another post......we've done ones mainly in science and history!

Linking up with: 
Hip Homeschool Hop Button
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