Stuff I Made: Episode 1

I make a lot of stuff. Usually it’s stuff to fulfill a personal need or desire. Creative problem solving in the home if you will. This past week or so I’ve been re-watching seasons 1 & 2 of Downton Abbey in preparation for the premier of Season 3 this past Sunday! I ADORE that show. It makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. So I haven’t done any large projects, or cooked much. I have been sewing and stuffing doll bodies though, I’m thinking one of the new ones may have to be a 1910-1920 era outfit, in honor of my favorite show. I have however made a number of odds and end “improvements” to the home. My primary tool in all of this has been thumbtacks and string. What more does one really need? So let me give you a tour of some of the “Stuff I’ve made.” I have done, and will probably continue to “make” things like this for as long as I can remember, it’s not always pretty or perfect but it does what I need it to do and it doesn’t cost me much money!

“Ambient Lighting”

I really like christmas lights, they have such a lovely glow to them. Rob and I are typically up fairly late but we have some little birds that appreciate their sleep. Their cage is right next to the kitchen so if we turn on the big light overhead they get all excited and chirpy (even if their cage is covered) So my solution was to put Christmas lights up on top of the cabinets. They plug into an outlet just above the counter so I used one thumbtack to guide the cord out of the way of the cabinet doors and just tossed the lights up on top. One strand was the perfect length to go all the way around the cabinets, we plug these in at night and can see perfectly well to make tea and snacks! I love it!

Curtain over my sitting nook

I’m sure most of you are aware of how much window treatments can cost. Personally I don’t think that a piece of rectangle fabric with a few simple seams, a pole and hooks should cost as much as they do. -_-. So, I doubt I’ll be buying proper treatments until we are in our “forever” home. In the meantime, I do like curtains and they make the apartment cozy. This curtain is one I got from a friend, it has a small tear in it from an excited dog, but otherwise it’s in great shape…and it was FREE. So I got some of my trusty thumbtacks. Two up at the top to hold the majority of it up, then I folded it up a few times to make a roman shade type look and tacked up the corners of that! Four tacks in total, all of them hidden under a layer of curtain so you don’t even know they’re there.

in the bedroom

These are our bedroom curtains. I tried (and failed miserably) to make a canopy for our bed using PVC pipes. (they don’t make the right shape connecter joint! Don’t they know people are trying to build stuff?) So I had these 7ft pieces of PVC pipe laying around taking up space… I saw a few involved methods of using PVC as curtain rods, but those involved power tools and curtain hangers. So I did it my own way. There’s a sheet tacked over the window behind the curtains, then I strung the curtains, which I got at Goodwill for $3. Onto the PVC;


and used two of those 3M sticky hooks and some yarn and that is how my curtains are hanging. It’s been up for 3 weeks now and not fallen. I love them. It’s easy, it works, it’s super cheap. I plan on doing something similar in the living room, the one curtain rod I did buy was pretty crappy and sags about a foot in the middle….

in the craft room

Though my favorite window treatment is the craft room. I have these two green curtains, I think I picked them up thrifting or they were given to me. Either way, cheap and pretty. For these I strung the curtains on a long piece of yarn, thumbtacked each end of the yarn on either side of the window, then did one in the middle for support. Then another piece or two of yarn and two more tacks and I gathered and tied back the sides.You can’t really see the yarn or the tacks, it dresses up the window and I’ve probably spend $5(that’s on the high side) total on this.

back in the bedroom!

so, in lieu of the canopy bed I wanted I took our hippie wall hanging and pinned it up…yes with more thumbtacks! To create a faux canopy/headboard.

barrette holder
barrette holder

I recently discovered that barrettes work marvelously in my hair, but they were taking over the counter I needed a container to toss them in. There weren’t any handy, So using my comb container as a mold I used Paper Mache (with the old flour glue recipe). I managed to use up some of my scrap paper, gave the last layer a good once over with a brown lunchbag and modgepodge and a coat of spray paint on the outside to waterproof it a little. There’s 4 or 5 layers of paper and glue so it’s super sturdy!

The paper on the wall is my super sweet anniversary card from my husband. 🙂 He came up with his own corny but sincere and loving “hallmark” statement!

This winter since I have had internet, time and my own bathroom (a first for me!) I’ve been experimenting with make-up, eye make-up mostly. Which means a mirror is helpful. I bought this $5 mirror at meijer and just yesterday realized it has a little mounting hole in the base! cooooooool! So I grabbed some of my trusty thumbtacks and stuck it to the wall at the optimum level for seeing my face. But the lighting was tough…Good thing I have this baby strand of christmas lights! ($2-3 at a craft store) IMG_3487

So I just wrapped them around behind the mirror, and Voila! a lighted make-up mirror for about $7. Way better than the $20+ ones at the store… >_<

This is the last one for now, I promise ;). Cats like bags. My cats, Mr. Spock in particular, loves those reusable grocery bags. If they are on the floor he is in them, or on them. It occurred to me the other day that I could make a cat bed out of one for him. So I started cutting and stitching with a vague plan in my head. It’s not the most beautiful piece of work, but it has a bit of catnip in, it’s well stuffed so it’s nice and soft and it does the trick. All the cats are fond of it. Pax (the one lurking in the background) curled up on it and slept there for most of the evening last night.


He was "helping" again.
He was “helping” again.
Mr. Spock made himself right at home as soon as I put the finished bed on the floor.
Mr. Spock made himself right at home as soon as I put the finished bed on the floor.

I think that does it for the first episode of “stuff I made.” I did pretty much all of this in the last week or so. Does anybody else do stuff like this?

I just got my shrinky dinks in the mail!!! I haven’t played with shrinky dinks since I was a kid. I am SO. excited! I’ll be making tags for the cats…Mr. Spock is getting the star trek insignia, Phatterson will be getting a Dr. Zoidberg head, (that is the voice we have assigned him) and we’re not sure about Pax yet…maybe a top hat or a mustache…I’ve also been daydreaming about the other “grown-up” applications for shrinky dinks. I could really use some fabulous forest themed earrings…. I’ll be back in a while to share what I’ve come up with! Happy first week of school everyone! 😉



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