Category Archives: It’s easy being green

Curious?

Yesterday I participated in the Curious Flea for the first time. I’ve been a part of the Artisan Market at New Westminster River Market selling my handmade pillows but this time I hauled the plethora of fun vintage goods gathering dust in my garage to sell at the market. Taking part in the markets is always a good time, made even better this time due to the dual pleasure of making a little cash and clearing out space in my garage. My pillows made the trip with me and I sold a few but I’m cooking up a scheme for “Free Pillow Friday” on Fabrictherapy to find some loving homes for my surplus.

As with every time I have participated in one of these markets, holding on to any pennies earned is a challenging task with so many sweet vintage and handmade goods floating around. All the stores were delightful but there were a couple new vendors this weekend who are seriously noteworthy from an interior decor perspective.

I’m always a fan of up-cycling and Derek G. Fuller of Signtology uses his mad artistic talent to create unique pieces of eco-friendly art on reclaimed pieces of wood.

Notice the painting in the bottom right hand corner. It's of his and his wive's first dance. Aww...He does custom.

Notice the painting in the bottom right hand corner. It’s of him and his wife at their wedding. So sweet.

Derek takes on custom work as well. These kinds of paintings would look fantastic in either a country or modern design style depending on the subject matter and finish of the wood.

My other Flea fave was Arniture. Another perfect example of up-cycling, Arniture uses  metal barrels to make one of a kind chairs. These ultra modern chairs are pieces of art whether you choose a simple painted one or one which has been decorated with a skillfully hand painted design. I know that if I’m ever decorating someone’s home in a funky modern style I’ll be coming back to these guys!

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This branch design was my favorite.

This branch design was my favorite.

And did I mention they are comfortable too? These chairs would make a stunning conversation piece indoors or out. Check out their online store for item availability.

Not exactly your traditional flea market overtaken by old nick-knacks and fun doo-dads (though you’ll find that there too), the Curious Flea is increasingly becoming a selling destination for talented local craftsmen. A must see for those looking for unique interior decor items, the next Curious Flea will be held in November. See the Curious Flea facebook page for more information.

(FYI, I’m not dissing nick-knacks and doo-dads…they are my greatest Curious Flea weakness).

 

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Filed under In the Royal City, It's easy being green, Uncategorized

New Life for an Old Bedskirt

As previously mentioned, I am in the process of decorating my master bedroom on a bare bones budget. I bought new white curtains which did not match my beaten up ivory duvet so I bought a new white duvet which led to the necessity of a new bed skirt…hence this post. I love Ikea for their cheap textiles. Where else can I buy a duvet for $40 and curtains for $24 (I bought two sets  at $12 each and sewed them together to give them proper fullness).

I had wanted to make my own bed skirt but knew that I would need at least three yards of fabric. Given my taste, at $25 per yard it would have gotten expensive. To buy a new ready made bed skirt would have gotten just as pricey so I started imagining different ways to achieve the look I wanted.

Back to Ikea. When buying my new duvet at Ikea I noticed a lovely grey and white striped curtain and was struck by how nicely it would go with my curtains and headboard. I decided to buy the curtain in order to use the inexpensive fabric (only $13!), together with my old bed skirt, to form my new bed skirt.

This room is a work in progress. The wall behind my bed is crying out for some pretty. My husband and I made the headboard with Paul Kaufman fabric and I sewed the throw pillow shown.

This room is a work in progress. The wall behind my bed is crying out for some pretty. My husband and I made the headboard with Paul Kaufman fabric and I sewed the throw pillow shown.

Interested? Here’s the process below. If you don’t already have a bed skirt you can buy a pre-loved one cheaply at thrift stores like Value Village and Salvation Army. You can also purchase used curtains at these stores and use this fabric for your new bed skirt.

Step 1: Cut out 3 pieces from your curtain panel:

Two pieces measuring 86 inches by 15 inches.

One piece measuring 68 inches by 17 inches (17 rather than 15 inches because you won’t have a pre-existing hem).

Cut pieces as shown in diagram below using existing hems as possible:

This is my first foray into the world of diagrams. Does it help?

This is my first foray into the world of diagrams. Does it help?

Step 2: Hem the edges which have black arrows pointing at them in the diagram above. To do this fold 3/4 inch and iron. Fold the edge a second time and pin in place.

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Step 3: Sew about 1/8 inch down from the top of your fold as shown in the picture above.

Step 4: Edges with red arrows pointing to them in the diagram above should be serged or sewn with a zig zag stitch to prevent the fabric from fraying.

Step 5: Cut the skirt off your old bed skirt leaving just a an inch or two of the fabric. Serge or zig zag stitch the edge of the old fabric.

Step 6: Line up the wrong side of your new fabric beside the bit of leftover skirt (right side laying flat against the center piece) and pin onto center fabric. Make sure you are lining up your serged side, not your hemmed side. Do one side at a time, long sides first.

I didn't cut off my old skirt but it got in the way while I was sewing so I recommend snipping it off.

I didn’t cut off my old skirt (bottom left) but it got in the way while I was sewing so I recommend snipping it off.

Step 7: Sew in place, approx 1/2 inch down from your serged edge.

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The last three inches of the long sides should wrap around to the short end of the bed skirt so that there will be an overlap when you sew the foot piece on. You will need to bunch the fabric in the corner, as seen below, in order to make the turn. Don’t worry too much if it isn’t perfect. It will mostly be covered.

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Step 8: After both long sides are sewn on, pin on the short piece. Fold the ends back approximately 3 inches under itself so that the hems will be hidden and pin in place. BedSkirtTopViewStep 9: Sew in place and you’re done. Iron and enjoy!

 

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Filed under At home, DIY Projects, It's easy being green

DIY Upcycled Headboards

From a thrifty standpoint as well as an eco-friendly one, I am a big fan of re-purposing building materials and pieces of furniture. Not only is it often cheaper and better for the environment, these pieces also tend to add interest and texture to a room. After making my old headboard from a coffee table that we sawed the legs off of, (see Shebajoux Headboards) I became interested in what other things could be turned into one of a kind headboards. Here are some that I found:

Vintage door with upholstered panels. This is a similar look to the coffee headboard I made.

Vintage door with upholstered panels. This is a similar look to the coffee headboard I made.

Headboard made from old curtain and vintage picture frame

Headboard made from an old curtain and vintage picture frame

Headboard made from old shutters

Headboard made from old shutters

Headboard made from vintage fireplace mantel. Paint it if you want a more refined look.

Headboard made from vintage fireplace mantel. Paint it if you want a more refined look.

Headboard made of books! This would be perfect for my brother!

Headboard made of books! This would be perfect for my brother!

Headboard made from old wrought iron and sprayed red

Headboard made from old wrought iron and sprayed red

Headboard made from old oars.

Headboard made from old oars.

Headboard made of old doors.

Headboard made of old doors.

Headboard made form vintage windows

Headboard made from vintage windows

Headboard made from a collection of vintage frames.

Headboard made from a collection of vintage frames and shutters

Headboard made from old skis

Headboard made from old skis

Headboard made from molding and scrap wallpaper.

Headboard made from molding and scrap wallpaper.

Fancy a go? Here are some sources for materials in the Greater Vancouver Area:

Front Street Emporium: 617 Front Street, New Westminster, BC for all sorts of materials like vintage windows and doors.

Surrey New and Used Building Materials Inc. for iron gates, antique doors and windows.

Vancouver Timber services for reclaimed wood.

Demolition sites, Craig’s List, garage sales and even the side of the road are all good options too.

615 Front St., New Westminster, BC, Canada

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Eco-Friendly Decluttering: Cut out the Crotch

We all have more “stuff” than we need and if you are like me, two or three..or four times a year you feel the need to get rid of the excess. When it comes to de-cluttering our lives it is important to consider the impact on the environment. During my purges I have often been guilty of too quickly throwing things into the trash: ripped shirts, old underwear, fabric scraps. Who would want things like that anyway?

Most recently I took a class about storage and organization. A major topic of discussion in the class was getting rid of the excess in our lives. My environmentally conscious teacher passed on many tips for how to do this in an eco-friendly fashion. What I realized was that there is hardly anything that actually needs to be put in the trash, right down to your dirty old underwear.

Stores like Salvation Army and Value Village are actually paid money by rag companies for clothing scraps. So next time you are getting rid of old underwear, cut out the crotch , throw it away, then put the rest of the material in a bag marked rags, and send it on. You get rid of your old stuff, organizations get money to put towards their cause, and the environment isn’t harmed by extra trash. It’s a win win situation. The same goes for ripped and stained clothing. If you don’t plan on using them for rags yourself these second-hand stores are more than happy to take them and sell them to rag companies. In addition, these stores always need more hangers for the clothing they sell so if you are re-vamping your closet with some fancy new hangers, add your old ones to the give away bag rather than throwing them out.

We all know we can take our good used clothing to these thrift stores or put them in the clothing bins they have set up around the city, but some other organizations you may consider donating to include:  Cinderella Project, Dress for Success, and Dixon House.  Cinderella project is a good place to send old bridesmaid dresses to in order to help out teens who don’t have money for graduation dresses and the later two organizations help out women who are going through, or have gone through, some hard times and are trying to re-build their lives.

Hope these tips help you next time you decide to purge! If you have any questions about other things that you want to get rid of but don’t know what to do with, please let me know and I’ll ask my all-knowing instructor.

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