Halloween pics, as promised.

In my last post, I shared some budget-friendly items I’d acquired for my upcoming Halloween costume. The concept was punk rocker/goth girl/biker chick. I went to an early Halloween party last night, so here’s how the look turned out:

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I was so happy with the make up and costume! I spent a couple of bucks on fake tats and mesh gloves from Party City, and picked up the faux nose ring from Claire’s for less than 10 bucks. Oh, and this YouTube makeup tutorial was a big inspiration!

What’s your plan for Halloween? Got a thrifty DIY costume in the works? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!  🙂

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Karly’s fixer-upper.

Today’s awesome post is a guest contribution from my friend Karly, who’s always on the hunt for an affordable DIY project!

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Karly: I scored this dresser for $20 at a garage sale! You may have guessed correctly that it wasn’t blue when I acquired it. This dresser is wood and actually had a gouge out of the top from, I’m guessing, a burn. I knew a little bit of wood putty and some paint would take care of that, so we loaded it in the back of our small SUV and headed home.

I had the wood putty and some primer on hand and bought a quart of paint from my local hardware store for about $15. I mentioned to the salesman that the paint was for this purpose, and he suggested a more durable finish that would withstand water spills (or gin and tonic, which was the hardware store guy’s specific example). We puttied, sanded, primed, and painted the dresser over a couple of days, and I am so happy with the result.

One thing I love about starting with a $20 dresser and knowing that my total investment would be $50 or less is that I could make this a statement piece without any downside. Sometimes it’s hard to shell out $500+ for a new piece of statement furniture when you’re not sure how long a trend will last or how long you’ll love that color. I like having the option to be fickle and repaint it on a whim. (For the record, this color still continues to make me happy every day so far.)

I left the original handles – I love them! I also have to mention that the top of the dresser showcases a trio of $1 buys: the tiered plate for my jewelry; the gold tray; and the lamp. I found the plate and lamp at separate garage sales and the tray at an antique shop. The two small books were a gift, and the mustard yellow candles came from IKEA.

Nice work, Karly! 🙂

Upcyling.

While I don’t do it as often as I’d like, upcycling is a creative DIY activity that can save you $. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy feeling like they got something new for practically nothing?

Here are some of my past re-vamping projects.image copy.png

Let’s start with the small glass vases. Basically, I thrifted them from Goodwill, bought some cheap paint from Michael’s in a fun color, and coated the insides of the vases with the paint. Honestly, though, getting the paint to spread evenly was tougher than it looks. I used this website for guidance.

Similar deal with the two flower pots — I got a couple of plain terra cotta pots and simply painted them anew. I spray-painted the turquoise one, while I used a paintbrush for the darker blue. If you plan on putting your pots outside, definitely make sure you purchase outdoor paint or use some type of appropriate sealant. Here’s a helpful how-to website. Also, the little sprouts you see inside of the pots are baby succulents that have resulted from my attempt to propagate–another budget-friendly DIY move. They’re taking their sweet time growing, though!

Lastly, the larger succulent (bottom right) sits in a re-purposed candle container that was originally purchased from Anthropologie. Such a beautiful container–why throw it away when the candle is gone? My friend Katie was the one who originally thought to use it for succulents, and a great idea it was. In fact, you can use pretty much anything as a succulent container–just make sure you find a way to address the drainage issue. Katie lined the bottom of this one with marbles; you could also use stones or something similar.

Do you have any affordable upcycling ideas or tips? Please comment and share! ❤

DIY decor.

Here’s the deal. I’m really interested in photography, but I can’t afford a high-quality camera. So I take pictures with my iPhone and then painstakingly doctor them with my app until I’m satisfied.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism hurled at iPhone photogs–criticism that seeks to undermine the merit of their photos. Well, all I can say is that I like my pictures. And while quality-wise, they may be lacking in certain aspects, I legitimize them because I find them artistically pleasing.

The point of this post–and there is one–is to encourage you to display your own creativity in your home, in whatever form that may take. Showcasing your own artwork not only saves you $$$, but it fosters a sense of personal accomplishment. I don’t believe it to be vain, and I haven’t met anyone else who thinks so.

Here are some of my photos that I’ve framed and hung in my home.

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Top left & right: Baltimore, MD. Bottom left: Lancaster, PA. Bottom right: Wadi Rum, Jordan.

I’ve received tons of positive feedback from friends and family who have visited, and it just makes me happy to see my own work on display. In terms of affordability, I buy my frames from IKEA and print most of my photos using an app called Postalpix. You select the photos directly from your phone and they mail the prints right to you. The quality is pretty decent, in my opinion, and the cost is minimal.

Don’t hesitate to comment or send me a message if you have any questions about printing or framing your own creative work. Also, feel free to check out more of my photography on my Society6 page.

Happy decorating!