Monday, September 29, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

For The Love Of Thrift Stores

For those of you who don't really know me I love to gamble......occasionally. I visit Las Vegas or even once or twice a year go to my local casino here in Florida. I love putting those quarters in the machine, closing my eyes, fingers crossed, wishing and hoping I get a really good payoff. Those darn slot machine always, always disappoint me and gobble up my money.  Once I've had enough I leave very sad, no wins just loses. Now I know you are wondering what the heck does gambling have to do with thrift stores. Well for me it's almost the same thrill, less costly of course.

There is a thrill I get when I find something in a thrift store that I love, that I believe is worth more than it's price, that can become something great, can earn me a few dollars. My fix for thrift store shopping has a greater hold on me than casino gambling (I shop thrift stores once or twice a week) and to be frank I'm a bit more successful at thrift store shopping than gambling coins at the casino.

My latest find is this 8 yards of linen fabric that I got for $1.00 a yard. At first glance I thought I got an $80 pile of fabric for the $8. Jackpot!  but I didn't do that well. The fabric once I got it home was only 45" wide so the $10 a yard estimate didn't hold true. Possible it's really worth about $40 maybe not a jackpot but definitely a win.

This fabric will go on to become........ well, I have plans, plans to dye some of the fabric, plans to make some white crisp pillow cases with lace, possible some ruffles on some pillows. Who knows for sure but it will become something great! (I hope)

I never, ever, ever, leave a thrift store sad, nope I leave happy, excited, thrilled and eager to get to the next thrift store. I love thrift store shopping!

I'm off to another store so keep your fingers crossed I find more gold.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

I'm a Wannabe Artist!

I love to paint, paint furniture, picture frames, even painting my room a new color but when it comes to painting on canvas my abilities fall a bit short.

I am a wannabe artist, someone who can do some abstract art cause drawing has never been in my cards.

Let me not deceive you I do love abstract art and below is a picture that I absolutely love.

This painting was hanging on the wall of the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas and I would see it every time I went back to my room. I thought this would be easy peasy for me to do. Stencil for the bird and some layers of paint in shades of white, grey, beige and black. I haven't gotten to it yet but hopefully I will.

Quite a few years ago (7) I bought a picture that was so dated looking. You knew the era it came from just by looking at the picture, the frame and the overall colors. I liked the painting somewhat but really like the price $8.00 so I bought it.

So I attempted to re-design it to suit today's home decor look and also so it would work for my home. I don't have a before picture but you can see what it looks like now.

I kept the original design but just painted over it. The frame was a gold color and I gave it a crackle black effect. The mat board look was a 90's beige and I gave it a face lift with some green and brown crackle. I left the center background color the same and then just lightly painted over the leaves, stem and changing the color of the flowers. I'm proud of the job I did and that's why I still keep it around.

Now this picture I got at a thrift store for $10 and it appeared to be just the right colors for my room and I had a perfect spot for it.

Here it is in that perfect spot.

So after hanging it up I realized that what I thought it my head would be really good wasn't. Those colors just fight with the black and white photos I have on the desk. So off it came and the wannabe artist in me was going to fix it.

Stage one and two gesso and squirts
My original idea was to just recreate the same picture with different colors. It didn't happen and I'm not sure why except once I got the paint in hand it sort of had a mind of it's own, a mentally deranged mind.  The above painting had already gone thru with a gesso like hell out of it and then squirts of colors green red and blue. I also had added black to it but you can't see it in that picture.

Stage three

Stage four
Now here's the results and I have to tell you the funniest thing. I looked with horror on this painting and then sent a picture of it to my son. He said wow that reminds me of some artist can't remember his name and that's the background right?  Yeah, yeah that's the background I said as I crossed my fingers so I wouldn't get punished for lying. 

So for now the painting is resting, resting for a long, it's been traumatized by the wannabe in me . I promise I'll get back to it but it might take a while before I come up with a solution. Meanwhile Hobby Lobby had such cute prints that I might buy for that spot.

I'm partying at the following

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

The Art of Photography

I've been surrounded by talent almost my whole life, the talent of taking great photographs, yet it hasn't helped me one bit. I'd shake their hands, touch cheek to cheek, even beg but alas I still don't have the eye. It's an eye that creates beautiful photos that speak to us. My talents lie elsewhere but gosh me oh my I wish I had the eye.

When my Dad was a young man he was quite interested in taking photos, he married young, had kids right away (5 of us) so photography took a back seat. Here's one he took when he first got married that I absolutely love. These are both my grandmothers. This photo says so much and I think it's very special. This photo was taken in the late 1940's

My ex-husband's daughter Danielle  has a great talent for photography and back in the day when she was attending college in New York at Parsons she had an assignment to take mother daughter photos. Erica and I were elected as one of the photos she was doing. Now this was back in the early 90's and unfortunately I don't have the photo any more but I can tell you that she captured the essence of the relationship between my daughter and myself. At the time it was a bit hard to look at and I learned then that photos don't lie. With a click of a button she was able to show the world just how it was between mother and daughter.  Of course in the 90's my daughter was a teenager and you know how that is. Today that photo would look totally different. You can learn more about Danielle at her web site or see some great photos here or follow her on Instagram 

This is Danielle. Is this not a great shot?

Now my son is also talented taking photos.Here are a few of his photos of NYC taken with his smart phone. He's worth following on instagram and his web site  

So now you get to see the difference, the difference in their photo taking and my ......snapshots. Snapshots are what normal people take, normal people who don't have the eye.

My first real business was creating soap and I was pretty successful doing that. It was an on-line business and for that you needed good photos of your product and there was the stumbling block.  Here's some examples of those photos.

Focus was one of my biggest problems and staging was another
This was a banana soap but like always it's out of focus

I thought the soap on a granite tile would give it pizazz!
This photo is pretty good but it's one in about 1000
This picture I like and it's different, sort of artsy. This photo was done in a white box made from foam board. Here's a great tutorial on how to make one for yourself.

None of their talents rubbed off on me so I'm stuck, stuck having to take, retake and retake again photos of my products for Etsy. (I sell pillow covers now.)  This also tests my patience but that's another story. I wish I had the answer on how to get great photos each and every time but I don't.

Right now because it just doesn't pay to buy a good camera I'm taking photos with my smartphone. I would gladly spend the money for a good camera but I know that it wouldn't help me create great photos, I don't have the eye for it yet. My son made me put the yet in there he has more hope for me than I do.
Friday, September 19, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Making Fabric Buttons

Now anything that can have me mixing and matching fabric to create a look I'm all in and making fabric buttons gives me that option.

For example I make pillows and add fabric buttons to them and most times the fabric button is a different pattern than the pillow. This makes me happy to create like this.

 I also like to make fabric button magnets and create a three button gift set. Here I used some left over fabric from some men's shirts I had. Love the blue and white look of these and I thought they all looked good together.

I've also made magnetic boards and added fabric buttons to them as you can see below.

I buy my button supplies at  cover buttons.  My choice for sizes are the 1 1/2" size or it's actually called size #60. I've also purchased size #36 which is 7/8" but really my favorite size is the # 60

Cover buttons offers the buttons with or without the wire eye loop. As I never need the loop I buy without.

You'll need a template so you can cut your fabric to the correct size and not waste fabric.

Then you'll need the assembly piece. It's what you need to marry fabric, aluminum button top and bottom.
Check out Cover Buttons link on how to use the assembly tool.


The magnets I use I get at Walmart. For me they are the most reasonably priced without having to pay for shipping costs. I use the 3/4" size and that fits perfectly for the size #36 and #60 buttons.

 If you also would like to make the gift set with the window tin you can get them at Papermart I buy the 2" x 2" x 1"

Fabric buttons are a great way to use up those scraps of fabric that you've been saving for something cause if you are like me you just can't throw them away.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Manipulating Fabric Making The New Look Old

I have a love affair with fabric! I love looking at it, buying it and making stuff with it. The fabric, whether it's a clothing object or a household item already made still holds magic to me. I get giggly with the idea of what it can become, the unseen potential.

Take a look at these pillows! Love the fabric, love the worn look of them


These pillows are so pretty to me. I know that they look old, possible civil war old but they are not. The fabric I  believe has been manipulated to look worn and old.

The idea of this had it's hold on me and I decided to give it a try. . So I had some scrap fabric that I wanted to make a pillow out of and thought why not try it with this.

New Fabric

So off into the washing machine the fabric went and I gave the pieces a bath times 2 thinking that one wash wouldn't make them soft and used looking as I wanted.

Fabric is soft but still wet here

Out they came and the crispness finish that is on new fabric was gone and it did have a softness to it but I just didn't think it was enough. It didn't look old like the photo of those pillows.

So then I thought lets try some bleach and off they went into the washer again with the addition of bleach. The color I liked on the solid linen piece changed from a steel blue to a sort of khaki color. I wasn't pleased with that but what did I think would happen?

After the bleach

So it still wasn't what I wanted so I took out the old tea bags and gave the fabric a tea bath.  So the fabric went off to have a tea bath and came out looking like this

Tea bath done, fabric dried, needs a good ironing 

What I wanted was some fabric that looked old, had some character to it but I don't think I got that look. Again I can't be sure until possible I make something out of it. I did this to enough fabric to make one small 12" x 16" pillow. There's a really good chance that I'll use this fabric to make some sachets. I think that would work out better than a pillow but we'll see tomorrow I might change my mind.

Here's a great look of before and after of this fabric.

I'm in love with adding something to the fabric I'm working with whether it's fabric over dying or washing the heck out of it or even tea dying it I want to do it. It's creating, it's fabric manipulation and I love it.

Friday, September 12, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Pillow Making Corners Square or Round?

I was of the mind that a good pillow should have round corners. I wasn't sure I liked that square corner dog eared look. So I set out to make a round corner pillow.

So I decided that a glass would be a good size for me to use as an outline for that rounded corner look. I traced the corner using the glass so I'd know where to sew.  I don't have any pictures of the sewn line but what I do have is a rounded corner pillow and a square corner pillow side by side so you can judge like I did which look is better.

Need I tell you that the round corner one is in front, you could tell that right? It was a great experiment and the square corner won. Now to get that sharp corner edge I make sure I sew each side to the edge and not try to move the fabric to turn a corner. I'm hoping you can tell what I mean by the following picture.

So each seam went right to the end, cut the threads and then began the next seam at the edge. It gives me really sharp edges.

 I make sure I cut the corners off so when it's turned right side the corners look nice and crisp.

Here's a set of pillows I did all with the square edges and now I have to say I like the bit of a dog eared look.

I'm partying over here 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Dressing Up For Halloween!

Dressing up my house for the holidays has not been one of my favorite things to do. No matter the holiday I just didn't like doing it. There could be a possible cause as I'm not a fan of primary colors and the holidays seem to want to be those colors. Christmas red and green, Halloween orange, well Easter are pastels,  my theory might be a bit off.

I wanted some pumpkins in the house, specifically on my dining room table. Off to the dollar store I went cause I heard on blog land that they were only a  .....dollar..... and that worked for me.

I bought 5 of them cause I like things that are displayed in odd numbers (really don't know why that is)  So even though the color orange had made it into the Pantene color of the year (not sure what year that was) the orange wouldn't do for me.

My color scape for my home is robin egg blue, an earthy green possible could be called khaki and off white. So that's the colors the pumpkins would be.

I love to paint so I got out my craft paints and just did about 2 coats on each one two robin's egg blue, two green and one off white. I also painted the stem brown. Then I mixed some dark brown paint with 50% water and used that as my glaze. I dry brushed that on making sure that the crevices got a good dose of the brown. The only part I'm not liking is the seam that runs around the pumpkin but that's just me being picky.

I now have a fall decor that I can live with. I set them in a bowl on top of the table and as I walk by it, it's a reminder that it is indeed fall.
Monday, September 8, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Getting A Cleared Head!

You might think from my title that I'm about to talk to you about sinuses and all their troubles but nope not in this post. What I need to tell you is that I'm a bit of a pack rat and my head is just so jumbled up with all the stuff I have.

The stuff I'm talking about is the things I buy at garage sales or thrift stores or even dumpster diving stuff that is just sitting there waiting for me to do something with them. Some of these items have taken up space in my garage and my head for years and years. I'll look at them and promise " I'll be back"

First off let me tell you how I got here. My whole life I've loved that I was a woman who could make decisions quickly. I would be surprised at others who had to think about it, ponder and think again. Not me I just say Yay or Nay and pull the trigger.

Then my son came into business with me (that was my last business) and accused me of being impulsive. "No I'm not impulsive I can make decision quickly" no it's impulsive he said again. Now that was about 5 years ago and since then he's been able to remind me that I'm impulsive on many more occasions.

Fast forward to today and I'm thinking maybe he's right, most of the stuff in the garage I decided to purchase in a nano second and didn't think it through. 

So back to the clear head. In the photo of my garage you get to see some impulsive buying at it's best. It's just one side of the garage but I promise you the other side is just as bad.

My merchandise has found it's way on ebay and Etsy and customers are not as enamored as I was with the stuff. No sales, stuff still in garage.

My head was so bogged down thinking of having to sell it, fix it, enhance it, etc. Thinking of all that kept me from doing other stuff that was calling to me. 

For every problem there is the perfect solution and that solution in this case was to get rid of the stuff, end of story. I packed up the car and gave it to Goodwill. My reasoning mind at first wasn't too happy thinking of money spent and money not earned but really who was I kidding.

So off to Goodwill I went and I have to tell you this was so cathartic. I felt light and free. Now don't misunderstand I still have stuff, lots of stuff but the items that were just collecting dust have found there way to Goodwill and I'm sure they will find a new home and be appreciated.
Friday, September 5, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Pumpkin Dyed Men's Shirts Now Are Pillows

It's Friday and I have a few projects going at once, but I wanted to stop in and show you the pillows I made with the pumpkin color dyed men's shirts.

 These pillows are so easy to  make. I think from start to finish maybe it took 25 minutes. Super super easy.

If you are interested in trying to make these pillows yourself I have a few tutorials that might help.  Here you can see my tutorial on how to Deconstruct a Man's Shirt and then here is the tutorial on how to make the Man's Shirt pillow.
If you are going to buy some shirts at the local thrift store or garage sale my suggest is that you buy 100% cotton shirts. I also only buy shirts that are XL or larger so I can get a 16" x16" pillow that will include the pocket. I also like to get long sleeve shirts so I have that extra material to use for another project but it's not a deal breaker (I could live with a short sleeve Xlarge shirt) Check the buttons and make sure they are all there. It's terrible to get started and realize that a button is missing.

So let me know if you have tried making one of these shirt pillows.

The above photo includes 2 16" x 16" pillows and 2 12" x 16" lumbar pillows. I'm visiting the following parties.

Visit My 1929 Charmer Blog!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

My Burlap Pillow Done

Where do my ideas come from? Well alot of times I get inspired from items I see on Pinterest just like this item below. Do you not just love this pillow? Love, love, love  it.


I love everything about this pillow but most of all I love the ruffles, possibly because it's burlap?  The creator of this pillow is Suzanne from Notes From The Patch and if you click on over to her web site you will find a great tutorial on how to achieve this look.  Love me some burlap and ruffles to beat.

So I had this ruffle in mind when I found the black and white toile at the thrift store. I wanted to do just like Suzanne did having the whole ruffle be exposed on the pillow. In other words not inserting it into the seam.

So I had that fiasco with the fraying burlap (You can read about that here)  and with all the seams after the pillow was finally done I just didn't think another seam on the outside of the pillow would look good. I just thought it might be too bulky.

So went to plan B though plan B wasn't plan B until plan A was a no go. I wanted to add that black and white toile I had which was the whole purpose of making a burlap pillow in the first place. So i decided to add the ruffle to the envelope side of the pillow. Actually I added it to the edge of the opening.

So I'm pretty happy with the way it looks. I did the ruffle and then I added the vintage black trim. I placed the pillow sideways which gave the ruffle an off centered look which I like.
Monday, September 1, 2014 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

How To Make A Burlap Pillow!!

It all started with a visit to a thrift store where I found this black and white toile fabric shown in the photo with some linen fabric. 

My idea after seeing this fabric was to make a burlap pillow with the toile as a ruffle all around. Thought it should be real easy and I got started.

I've just noticed the pink haze on the photos and as the pillows are done there's no chance for a photo redo.

I cut out my pattern pieces from the burlap and thought because of the open weave of the burlap would line the pillow with muslin. I sandwiched the lining (muslin) and the burlap together and stitched up the pillow. Then did an overcast zig zag to stop the fraying of the burlap.

As you can see from the picture the inside looked pretty good. Don't be deceived,  once I turned that pillow right side out I saw the problems.

I was so careful with the edges after I cut the burlap but it didn't matter, all you have to do is just look at burlap and it starts to fray, and fray it did, just look at that corner. This pillow is going in the pile for Linda not for my store.

 So I did a search on how to make a burlap pillow without having to deal with frayed edges.  I came across a web site called Starshine Designs  which had such a logical solution to the problem of fraying edges.
"because burlap wants to come apart, it’s sometimes best not to cut out your pattern piece, but to trace it onto a rectangle of burlap, and sew your seam before you cut."

And that's what I did.  I traced my pattern on the muslin fabric because Karen from Starshine Designs says it's so much easier that way and who am I to argue with that logic.

Then  I stitched along the cut line and then stitch along the seam line and then zig zag in between as shown  leaving a small space unsewn so I could turn it right side out.

I then cut the fabric right up against the zig zag line with no fear of any frayed edges.

Now the fabric was ready to be turned inside out, finish off the unsewn edge then gave it a good pressing.

Now the fabric was ready to be made into a pillow. I treated the two sewn pieces of fabric as if it was just one unlined fabric and proceeded to pin the pillow together right sides facing each other and then sewed it up. I was so happy with the results, the outside had no frayed edges showing and the inside looked almost as good as the outside.

My pattern for this pillow was the one piece of material made into the envelope pillow. Not sure yet how I would do it if I use the 3 piece of fabric for the envelope style pillow but I'm thinking of trying that one day.