Tag Archives: decorating

50 cents and 50 seconds later …

In my last post, you might have noticed the “artwork” housed in the niches of the living room. I put “artwork” in quotations because it’s hardly anything fancy and cost me a total of 50 cents.

If you’ve been in any of my old apartments, you know that those frames originally looked like this:

FrameThis was originally a project that involved cutting up paint swatches and organizing them in an ombre effect. Over three frames, the swatches would fade from gray to green to yellow, to match the color scheme in my old space. Needless to say, that was a much more involved project than what I’m about to show to you.

When looking to update the frames, I wanted to find something consistent for the two niches that wouldn’t compete with the oversized art that will eventually go in between them.

My first inclination was to find some black and white photographs that could still be meaningful but complement any other pieces in the room. After scouring the internet (mainly art.com), I ran out of patience and decided to get a little more creative with something that I could pick up locally.

Since HGTV always says to design a room around one piece – most of the time fabric, I figured this was the opportunity for me to buy some cool graphic fabric and insert it into the room. What I quickly found out, is that I have some pretty specific tastes, which considerably limits the fabric options available to me. That’s how I found myself at Michael’s going up and down the scrapbooking aisle where I finally found these:

Frame 3At 25 cents a piece, I knew this was the solution, especially since they already matched the colors in the room, were modern, and basically cost nothing. A little trimming around the edges and you end up with this:

Frame 2Voila! A 50 cent, 50 second project that can modernize any room. The best part is that you really could use fabric or even wall paper if you don’t find any scrapbooking pages to your liking.

What did you do this weekend? Any similar projects you’ve been working on? I went to an STL favorite so be on the lookout for a review later this week!

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The White Wreath with a Heart of Coal

I’d like to preface this post with a quick message: if you’re looking for a practical tutorial on how to create a garland made of paper leaves, this story is not for you. If you enjoy reading about someone embracing obstacles and eventually failing, you’ve come to the right place.

When reading Curbly recently, a popular DIY blog, I came across a craft for paper leaf garlands. Since I was looking for a cheap way to decorate the apartment for Christmas, I thought I would give it a shot. For this particular project, they say you’ll need:

  • A used book ($1 from the local bookstore)
  • Green paddle wire ($2)
  • Natural green wire ($4.50)
  • White card stock ($3.50)
Sorry to

Sorry to John Downton Hazlett for using your book as scrap paper. It had the whitest pages!

What they fail to mention is that you’ll also need:

  • A lot of patience
  • Fingers of steel
  • An aversion to carpal tunnel

This is how far I got into writing this post before I was faced with a dilemma: give you a step-by-step how-to for “the garland from you know where,” since I did manage to make one, or provide a brief parody on how painstakingly slow it was to put together a measly 2 feet of paper. There’s no doubt that it looks pretty cool but it at this point, the cons definitely outweigh the pros.

Some of the downfalls that have come to my attention:

  • You basically need 75-100 leaves per foot of garland. That’s a lot of cutting and folding.
  • Playing with wire hurts.
  • Since you keep turning the wire around to get leaves on all sides, the ones touching the floor get smashed or torn.
  • The garland will never look as even and full as you want it to.

Don’t worry, I’ll show you what I ended up with:


It’s really not that bad. There are a few things that I would change on it but overall, it gets the job done. The reason I quit is because what originally was supposed to be a fun evening of handiwork was quickly turning into a full week of cutting, folding and wiring for mediocre results.

Verdict: this DIY project is a no-go.

On the plus side, I did get my Christmas tree up last weekend with very little difficulty so my little abode on Sheffield still has the trappings of holiday spirit:

photo-2 copy 2Anyways, here’s to trying, failing and sharing it with the world.

Have you ever attempted a project gone wrong? If you’ve succeeded at this particular craft, I’d love to know your secret.

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So Shoe Me!

I’m basically on a roll with blog posts and improvements around my apartment. Not only have I posted more in the past two weeks than I have in the past five months, I’ve managed to make two small changes to my bedroom that breathed new life into it. The first one got this off my bookshelf. The second gave me back about three square feet of floor space.

The first thing you should know about my apartment is that there is no storage space. The only reason a girl lived there before me is because she was using one of the bedrooms as a walk-in closet. With that in mind, please don’t judge me when I tell you that my floor usually looks like this:

Clearly, I gravitate toward black and tan …

Encouraged by what a little initiative and a few dollars can do, I set off toward my local City Target in search for a shoe organizer to hang from my closet door. My options were the $15 behemoth or this $8 looker (my prices are cheaper than online since they were discounted in store). Since this was supposed to be a temporary fix until I move into something bigger, I decided to go for what was cheaper and would blend in the most with my door. Five minutes later, the east side of my bedroom looked like this:

Ignore the mess on top of my dresser. That’s a project in and of itself.

So. Much. Better. It’s like there was a whole part of my room that had gone unexplored this whole time. Yes, I can no longer walk in and kick my shoes off but I’m willing to make the extra effort to hang them on my door to keep things looking clean.

Side note: George, my roommate, caught me standing in the doorway to my room just staring at it in awe. Needless to say, when he found out why I was so mesmerized, he didn’t waste a second to make fun of me for it. 

What simple updates have you made to your place? Any good organization tips?

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