Category Archives: Thrifting

Finished Project!

My recycled sweater blanket is finished and I absolutely love it! I found the perfect backing for it in an old quilt my great-grandma had made me. The size was perfect and it had a little batting between the two layers. Now I have a cozy blanket perfect for snuggling up with a good book and a cup of coffee.



French Press Cozy

Because even a french press should have a hand-knit sweater.

This pattern is ridiculously easy but still took me a few tries to get just right. It fits on our Ikea french press that has a 12″ circumference, I think it’s a pretty standard size but I wrote a few tips on how to make it fit your own french press. First you have to take a look at where my yarn came from.


Pretty cool, huh? This sweater was given to me by my aunt because she figured I could use the yarn for something. I’m going to have a ton of it once I take the entire sweater apart so I’m sure it will show up in several projects. I love free yarn! This is another sweater that I made using another sweater (from the thrift store). Can you believe I knit an entire sweater for under $5? The buttons actually cost more than the yarn.


Alright, so here’s a pattern for that cozy…


French Press Cozy

  • yarn–I’m a somewhat unsure as to what weight the yarn I used would be so checking your gauge is important. I think it was pretty close to a worsted weight. Use wool for best results.
  • size 8 needles (circular or straight, doesn’t matter!), or whatever size needed to obtain gauge.
  • 3 buttons

Gauge: 15 sts and 24 rows = 4 inches

Cast on 72 stitches. VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to make the buttonholes as you knit. Instructions for them are at the bottom of the pattern.
Work a k2 p2 rib for 2 inches ending with WS
Row 1: Decrease 14 stitches evenly over a knit row.
Row 2: knit
Row 3: p to last 4 stitches, knit those last 4 stitches
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until the piece measures 6″ ending with a WS. Work in a 1×1 rib for 1.25″ and then bind off.  Sew on buttons and you’re done! Make yourself some coffee to celebrate!

Buttonholes: make a buttonhole on RS at 1″, 3.5″ and 5.5.” To make the buttonhole: k2, yo, k2tog, continue in pattern to end of row. As you can see from the picture I placed a button at the bottom of the cozy and two inside the handle. If these measurements won’t work with the handles of your french press it’s easy to measure and adjust.
You can either fold the ribbed edge over or pull it up when you’re not pouring…keeps everything cozy and warm.

DIY: Toddler Shirt

This turned out great!  I really wish I had enough know-how to put a tutorial together for this little refashion but with a little bit of sewing sense and some motivation it really isn’t that hard.  Jeremiah is a very thrifty and frugal person (for the most part) so he is always asking me if I can do something with his old tshirts.  I had to start declining them because I have such a large stash and our rag bag was full.  I’ve used some of them for headbands but that’s about it.  Until I came up with an idea…and once I tried it I made two more!

An old shirt from hubby.

A shirt that fits Dieter well was the template. I cut out the body pieces first using the original shirt as a guide. I didn’t even need to make a new collar, just used the one off of the adult shirt for the front and didn’t do any collar on the back (tshirt material doesn’t fray so you don’t have to finish the ends).  The sleeves were cut out later, again using the dinosaur tshirt as a template.

This was another shirt I made.  Of course Dieter doesn’t really care about new shirts, he’d much rather use markers (BIG TREAT!) to color toilet paper rolls that we “beaded” on yarn to make necklaces.  At least we both were excited at the end of the day; him because he got to make a mess and me because I didn’t have to go buy even more winter clothes.

Tank Tops and Curtains

Without even realizing it I have made/re-made five tank tops in the last month or so.  My goodness what is the deal?  I don’t know but here I am to share another tank top I made with some unusual fabrics….

A duvet cover!  And if you were to tour my home you’d notice that the same fabric has also been made into curtains.  I know I’m goofy but I just love the print so much and I have a ton of fabric!

I also made the same tank top from some fabric I found at Goodwill.  Remember that shopping trip where I scored really big?  Well I also found about 1.5 yards of a nice lightweight cotton print that I made a shirt out of and…oh no, I just realized I also made a curtain out of it for our mudroom.  Apparently curtains and tank tops have a lot in common, like they can often be made from the same fabric.

I didn’t take any pictures of how I made them but here is the post.  One note about making this shirt.  The first time I sewed the sides and left room for the armholes I made them too small.  The armholes should really fall a few inches below your armpit so that the tank isn’t too tight.  You can always tighten it more by tying the bow tighter.

Another note: The tank pictured on the bottom has a thinner sash than I would have liked.  The straps don’t stay on quite as well because it’s so thin and it gets wrinkled really easily and is hard to iron.  I actually use my hair straightening iron to smooth it out and it works great!

I know I have two already but I actually would love a few more!

Oh and one more note.  The jeans I’m wearing in both pictures are my absolute favorite!  I got them from Banana Republic and spent what was for me a ridiculous amount of money on them.  But you know what?  It was so worth it because they fit like a dream and I wear them about 70% of the time.  Invest in good jeans people!  And then save money by making tank tops out of duvet covers 🙂

My Favorite Refashion

So I was browsing Pinterest last night (what’s new) and came across a men’s shirt turned into a tank.  I went straight downstairs and grabbed a shirt my mom passed down to me and started working.  I wanted it done right away so I could wear it today and it worked!  I’m loving this shirt…it was really ill-fitting before and now it fits perfectly!  It was so easy too which is the only reason it turned out this well 🙂

I used another tank top to draw out a pattern on the blouse.  Then I sewed a very small hem around the armholes and because it was too big around the arms I then brought the straps up a little bit and brought in the sides.  I almost didn’t post this because the pictures are so horrible, sorry!

T-Shirt Upcycling

Ah, upcycling. There’s something so trendy about that word. Something even better about it is that upcycling usually means cheap or free! I don’t like to think of myself as cheap in a bad way. Getting creative by using what I have on hand or what I find in a thrift store is so much fun! Making gifts using recycled/upcycled materials can be a little tricky. Some people really appreciate a homemade gift but others might appreciate something fresh from the store instead. One person in my life who is sure to enjoy a nice handmade gift is my mom so for her birthday I decided to raid my craft closet to see what would inspire me.

I started with an old t-shirt that I didn’t really like anymore.

I cut strips about 1.5 inches wide and the length of the bottom of the shirt.  My strips were extra long because the shirt was pretty baggy but if when you start braiding you feel like your strips aren’t long enough then cut some more and sew the ends together to lengthen them.  I didn’t really measure anything.

This part reminded me of the friendship bracelets I used to make when I was little.  Those were fancier than a simple braid but that is all you need to do here!  Just keep braiding and braiding and then tie a knot when you have about 4 or 5 inches left.

So this is how I figured the end should work.  Tie one knot in the end and then leave a little gap and then tie another knot.  This way you have an opening for the other end of the braid to go through.  If it’s tight enough you will have a nice closure.

Next you can add any type of embellishment you’d like to.  These were the supplies I used to make…

…a flower.  I sewed it onto the necklace.

So this is how it ended up.  It was long enough to loop it around my neck three times.  I think next time I would braid it more loosely so that it isn’t so stiff and drapes a little more nicely.

I made a bracelet with some thicker strips and the same type of closure to complete the ensemble.

So this was my mom’s birthday gift! I’ve seen her wear it several times so I guess she likes it. 🙂 I’ve also seen her wear the necklace as a headband (so creative) and it looks great that way too!  It actually gave me the idea to make a couple braided headbands for myself.  Great way to keep my hair off my face as the days heat up.

Decorating a House

I will freely admit that decorating a house is hard.  I failed even before we moved in with the paint colors I picked out.  We’ve only been living in our house for a year and  a half and I already want to repaint nearly every room.  I had no idea that paint color was such a finicky thing!  I wanted all of these fun bold colors and now I look around and think, ” no it’s all wrong.  Completely wrong.”  Oh well.  Painting is so much work so I’m just going to deal with it and cover up the walls.




So here enters the two pieces of canvas wall art that I got from Goodwill while we were newlyweds living in a tiny apartment.  They hung on walls in three apartments and one house so as you can imagine I got incredibly sick of them.  I mean, hello, I can’t even stand the paint I put on the walls less than two years ago!  I found an idea on Pinterest (where else??) where you paint canvas and then use puffy paint in the same color to draw a design.  It creates a really cool effect.   I had to paint several (6-7) layers of white latex paint over the existing print before I got a surface I could use the white puff paint on.  I then found a font I liked in Word and started copying the wording I wanted onto the canvas using a pencil.  After letting the puff paint dry and a final coat of latex paint I was done!  It took me a really long time because a)I could only work on it during naptime and bedtime, b) it was really hard to find the word “family” in that many languages, and c) it was super tedious work.  I like the results though.

Great Finds

I’ve heard that this is a Minneosta thing:

“I love that shirt.”

“Why thank you. I got it on sale at ___ for ____.”

Ever since this was pointed out to me I hear it all the time and realize I am guilty of it too. So with that being said I found some AMAZING deals at the local Goodwill today and I’m going to tell you exactly how much I paid for them even if you didn’t ask. Everything that had a green tag was $1.49 so this is what I got:

  • A brand new Isaac Mizrahi pencil skirt from Target for $1.49.
  • A cute dress I’m going to wear to a bachelorette party for $1.49.
  • A casual summer skirt for $2.99.
  • A sleeveless dressier shirt from Banana Republic for $1.49.
  • And a cute scarf that I’m going to do this to once I find a second scarf to match it, for $1.99

I did spend close to an hour looking around the store and couldn’t find anything for hubby but I haven’t had much luck at this location when it comes to men’s clothing.  Dieter got a little backpack filled with plastic plates, cups, and utensils so between that and his snack he was incredibly well-behaved.  On Thursdays are Toddler Day which means all kids clothing and toys are 50% off, another great day to do some shopping.

Sigh, I love thrifting.

Repurposed/Revamped Pillows

Have you ever bought a couch and they throw in those ugly free pillows that don’t match your decorating style at all?  We had a couple of those that I’ve put up with for a few years and figured it was about time I fix them.  I also had some throw pillows that we had on our bed in St. Louis but no longer matched our bedding so I needed to fix those too.  There were plenty of felted sweaters, yarn, fabric stashed away to create a nice color palate to work with so I just started laying things out and seeing where it would take me.  Here are the results.

(Above) I used  some scrap fabric from a sling I made for a friend when they became pregnant and some felted sweaters that I appliqued on.

The pillow on the left used scrap fabric and because the last seam I sewed to close the pillow was horrendous I covered it with a piece of felt that I sewed on using a blanket stitch.  The pillow on the left is part knit and part felted sweater with buttons joining the two pieces together.

The $190 Nursery

You’ve seen a glimpse of Dieter’s room on a previous post but I want to show you the whole thing today because it is my favorite room in our house.  As you may know by now we love paying less for things.  Craigslist is our friend and we utilized this friend when we prepared the nursery for Dieter’s arrival.  Here is how we spent $190 on furnishing Dieter’s room.

Dieter's Room

1. Crib – we found the crib on Craigslist for $100 which included the mattress.  It’s about seven years old but is still in really good condition and originally cost $300-$400, not including the mattress.  The only downside is it’s a side drop crib, all of which are now being recalled.  Eventually I may have Jeremiah fasten the side so it can’t move but for now it works just fine.

Craigslist tip: Search for furniture in wealthier areas.  These folks have nice things and don’t need the money so are willing to part with their stuff for a low price.

2. Changing table – we were very blessed to get this for free from Jeremiah’s sister who has kids that have outgrown a changing table.

3. Glider – $60 dollars on Craigslist.  Actually, the lady was offering it for $80 but Jeremiah refuses to pay full price for anything.

4. Toy bins (not pictured) – gotta love Aldi!  I picked this up for $29.99.

5. Dresser – my parents didn’t need this dresser anymore and were happy to get rid of it.  Jeremiah spent about $40 on paint and new hardware to give it a facelift.  Sorry, I didn’t include that in the total cost of the nursery since it technically wasn’t a necessary project (most facelifts aren’t ;)).

And there you have it!  This is how we furnished our nursery for $190.  Oh, I almost forgot about the little side table next to the glider.  The previous owner’s of our house left it along with a bunch of other junk that we put to good use (and some we just put in the garbage can).