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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Home Lessons

Now that we have been in our home for more than a year, I feel like we have grown as homeowners. For us, owning a home has presented different challenges than when we owned a Downtown Condo. Here are my top ten lessons:

1. Using the fireplace will not burn the house down. Yes, I admit that I was scared to use it. All it takes is an annual chimney sweep for around $30 and keeping a fire extinguisher on hand and you too can stay warm all winter.

2. Utility bills in an older home are EXPENSIVE! Ugly plastic on the windows and four months of stretch pants are worth saving hundreds.

3. Gray paint looks very different on the walls than it does on the paint sample. We painted our living room four times. We have sampled over 25 grays.

4. Online shopping saves money and time. It's not worth driving all over town looking for curtains. Online shopping has thousands more options and easy returns.

5. Home improvement projects take longer than anticipated. We are still working on projects that I thought we would have done in the first six months.

6. Home warranties are worth every penny in an older home. For $55 we now have a new double oven and refrigerator.

7. Reuse, recycle and repurpose items around your home to save money and make things personal.

8. Gardening and weeds do not agree with me. I tried to find my green thumb but it just doesn't exist. I think the weeds like to play tricks on my by multiplying before I turn around.

9. Dogs love a big home and a backyard. I thought Mika would always be an indoor dog but she can bird watch and chase squirrels for hours.

10. Be patient and find the house that calls to you and feels like home.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Easy Eco Holiday Gift Wrapping Bag

This year I wanted to wrap everyone's presents in something they could use again and again. I created an easy canvas gift bag that can be used for shoes when people travel. It really could be used for anything. So far my family is using them for toys, groceries, toiletries and dirty laundry.

Items Needed:

Canvas or muslin fabric (I purchased at Wal-mart for $1.97 a yard)

Drawstring (I purchased from Home Depot for $3.50)

Fabric Markers

Sewing Machine

First, I cut my fabric 28" by 17" to accommodate a men's size 11 shoes. Next, I ironed a 1/2 inch seam on the long side of the fabric which will become your drawstring seam. Then design your bags as you wish. I used fabric markers and stencils because I always need a template. After they are designed and dry, fold the outside (where you designed) into each side to create a 14" by 17" bag and stitch the two raw edges. Flip to the correct side and insert your drawstring with a safety pin.

Ta-da! You're done.

You can make this any size to fit your gift. Next year, I may make smaller bags for cosmetic bags for traveling.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Custom Image Canvas

Items needed:
Spray Paint
Large painted or printed canvas

Estimated time: 1 hour

1. Find desired canvas. I found mine at Home Goods on clearance for $35 because it needed a staple in the back frame and was loose. Easy fix and saved me 50%.
2. Take photo or image and enlarge on your computer. I used Microscoft Publisher and changed the page set-up to be the size of my canvas. Then I enlarged the photos and printed the document.
3. Using the printed image place together and cut off the excess edges of your image and tape secure together and onto your canvas with double stick tape.
4. Last, spray paint your canvas. Let dry and then remove the image onto of the canvas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First HGTV Web Video Dream Come True

Thank you HGTV for highlighting my passion for reupholstery! I have a tutorial video on, my dream come true. Please check it out and share it with friends. I'm still pinching myself to see if I just might wake up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shop Local- Knoxville, TN

Thimble's Shop "My first love is quilting but, I'm always looking for something to create. I love working with beads and wire, I can sit for an hour just trying to pick out the perfect bead for a project. I'll be updating my shop often with new things and I hope you will find something that makes you smile."

Book Sculptures "by Daniel Lai, of Chinese descent, was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He moved to the U.S. in 2000. He has a BA in Linguistics (2003) and an MA in Art Studies/Art History (2006) from Montclair State University. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in criminology. When he is taking a break from his studies, he makes art. Lai's work has also been published in numerous books and magazines. His work has earned awards nationally and internationally. "

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reclaimed Wood Accent Wall Project

I am very proud to show you an easy weekend project that you can easily tackle. After being inspired by so many great wood accent walls on Pinterest, it was a 5 second thought process to do one inside our home. For us, it cost less than $40 to install.
Items needed:

Ugly wall (FREE)

Wood Screws ($8)

Electric Screwdriver (FREE if you have one)

Measuring Tape (FREE you must get one)

Reclaimed Wood (we took wood from our ugly car port since we have plans to rebuild soon, plus it was FREE)

1 inch by 3 inch posts ($8)

Wood Stain ($15) Optional
I promise you you won't regret this look in your home. It's very simple and can be done in one weekend.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Knoxville's Best Flea Market: Turkey Creek Public Market

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to stop by and see the Turkey Creek Public Market. I have been twice now and I think it’s a gem for Knoxville. I love it most because within one space they have a wide variety of items across the shopping spectrum. Inside they have Goodwill, local farmers, crafters, all the way to upscale interior design stores like Gift, Gourmet and Interiors. My experiences have been very pleasant with friendly shop owners, lots of great booths to shop, and easy parking.

Things you may find:
Affordable quilts
Children’s gifts
Dog gifts from PetSafe and locally made treats
Fresh farmer’s produce
Garage sale finds
Handmade arts and crafts (baskets, clothing, art, candles, edibles)
Reproduction art
And more

Bring cash, not all vendors take credit cards.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Follow Me On Pinterest

I, like many, am obsessed with Pinterest. I really don't know what made me happy before this fantastic invention. I use it as my visual, digital inspiration board. I enjoy sharing projects with friends, showcasing my own work and even just to stir up my own creativity. I'd be more than happy to send you an invite if you aren't on. If you are follow me at

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thrift Store Shopping Remorse

I think I am the opposite of most; I regret when I don't purchase something. When I shop I take photos of things I like. A lot of times when I decide to purchase them they are no longer there and I have remorse of not purchasing the item. It's hard for me to pick up a wing back chair for $50 (I know it's a good deal!) when I don't have the space in my home and I'm already working on 15+ projects. Here is just a very small sample of projects I wish I had purchased. This also served as proof to my husband that I don't buy everything I find. I'm picky!