Since we moved into our new house not a weekend’s gone by without a trip or two (. . . or three!) to a home improvement store. At first it seemed like each night we spent unpacking was just another chance to lengthen Ye Ole To-Do List but after completing this project we’ve really been enjoying the fruits of our labor. Our previous apartment was tiny and made of cinder blocks so bike storage was tricky. We kept tools on she shelves of a built-in unit, spare parts under the bed, and since we couldn’t drill into the walls, Nick built two bike racks to hold all our rides. They press against the ceiling and floor to hold in place and avoid any wall blemishes, like so: Since the ceiling here is vaulted (awesome!) we needed a new approach. A pegboard seemed like the best option for us: simple to keep organized, easy access, less furniture/shelves to buy. But of course we couldn’t stand the thought of hanging a white square with holes in it on the already white walls, so we did the cool thing and spray painted it! Cut your pegboard down to the size you need, tape off your design, and spray away! We bought a 8×12 pegboard and cut it down in 3 pieces to fit 3 different projects. After a couple coats of paint and a few beers, voila! Although most of the pegboard is covered in tools and bike gear, it’s nice to have some fun color involved. After we hung the board, we took the hooks off the old bike rack and simply drilled them into the wall. I don’t think I could be happier with how our little “dining nook” turned out. Having everything out and in one place is so convenient. And mounting the bikes upwards really takes advantage of all the wall space created by the super high ceilings. It also prevents scuffs on the walls from just leaning all our bikes in a pile. It also prevents the bike pile in the first place! It’s so wonderful to watch each space come together and see how it transforms a rental house into an actual home that’s perfect for us. If you can’t be out riding, where’s your favorite place to park your bike?
In case you haven’t noticed, florals are EVERYWHERE right now. Obviously, I am thrilled since this means I don’t have to update my wardrobe! I think it’s a combination of my interior design background, my love for vintage, and my obsession with Elaine from Seinfeld, but I LOVE floral. Chairs, pants, cakes . . . I’ll take it! I even scored miles of custom floral drapes from an estate sale once and considered making a dress out of them. But of course, I hung them proudly instead.
I’ve talked before about my bad habit of thrifting clothes that are “almost” perfect— an extra button here, an altered hemline there. . . I have this problem where I only see the potential of something and not what it is. So I kind of have this little stock pile of clothes that need random “mending” to be wearable. Enter the above dress: a vintage piece, irresistible due to it’s flower print + great collar. The only problem was it’s length. . . so for just a few bucks, I decided to take it home anyway. Then I promptly forgot about it. . . Until I came across the Tea and Scones Dress from ModCloth. I love the overall look, but I am not a fan of elastic waistbands. I’m also on a self-induced shopping restriction, so I knew I would have to do a little upcycling to get what I wanted. I pulled the dress out of hiding and couldn’t be happier with the results!It’s not pink— but it’s darn cute! The main elements are all there: floral, lace collar, sleeves, and buttons up the front. I just made a few alterations to get there. I started by removing the shoulder pads. Most are only attached with just a few stitches, so they are a breeze to get rid of.
After I removed the shoulder pads, I tried the dress on to mark where I needed to cut. I know maxi dresses/skirts are “in” right now, but I am too short to pull them off. Plus, I feel unsafe biking in long things, so I felt no remorse snipping away.
I didn’t worry about cutting it perfectly straight, but I did make sure to leave a good amount for a hem and any mistakes/mind changes about length I had.
After I shortened the dress, I folded over a new hem and ironed it where I wanted. This is the part that makes hemming a dress WAY easier than you ever expected. Seriously: just iron, pin, and try on until it is the right length.
You can practice on the extra piece of fabric you just cut off if you feel really nervous about trying to hem something by hand. As long as you don’t make your stitches too close together then you will be just fine. This is what mine looked like before I realized my stitches were too close together (also, I used a contrasting color on purpose, yours will be more subtle if you use thread that matches):
So I stared spacing them out more, and it looked something like the picture below. You can see where the stitch length changes because I was too lazy to go back:
This is the first time I ever hemmed anything by hand, and I am really happy with how it turned out! After you’ve tried it once, you’ll never be able to resist those outdated dresses at the thrift store! So many great patterns and collars just waiting to be turned into something modern again!
dress, broach, belt: thrifted / shoes: Plato’s Closet / purse: gift from a friend
Altering vintage is one of my favorite things to do. Have you ever tried? It’s SO much fun! It’s also quick, cheap, and much easier than you might think! If you give it a try or have in the past, send me a link in the comments! I love to see how others upcycle and alter things!
I can hardly believe tomorrow is the beginning of September! I have been learning so much the past few months and working hard to do so. Now that I am back home and with a working camera + laptop, I am excited to finally share some of the work I made this summer while attending Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.
The first workshop I took was Extreme Papermaking with Julie McLaughlin. The focus was on creating large 5′ x 8′ sheets of paper by hand. Of course, making something this large was definitely a group effort, but luckily all my classmates are amazing people and we had a blast all week long. The pictures below are just a sneak peak of what goes into the process, not a full-on how-to.
First, we bundled about a pound of dried Kozo together and then soaked it in water to get it soft:
Next, we cooked the fibers for several hours to break them down:
We then beat the paper, first by hand and then with a Hollander beater, to create pulp:
After we had our pulp, we suspended it in a very large vat of water and used an oversized screen to pull very large, thin sheets of paper. It took at least six people to get just one sheet:
I had taken one papermaking class before this one, but they were both completely different. I am glad I got to do it a second time; I now feel that if I wanted to create a papermaking setup at home that I definitely have the knowledge to do so.
I haven’t decided what to do with my giant paper yet, but we also made some smaller sheets on our own when we weren’t busy pulling the EXTREME ones, and I am excited to use those in my bookmaking. My instructor, Julie, has a background in costume design, and uses her exquisite handmade paper to create incredible wearable garments:
Papermaking is [obviously] a great compliment to bookmaking, and I have some posts coming up on that (and all the other classes I took) too. I can’t wait to share it all, it’s so great to be blogging again!