With a couple of sizeable baby purchases lately/in the wings, I’ve been stretching my creativity around the home.  Right now I’ve got a temporary rule that anything I do ought to be done using stuff I already have, or cost less than $10.  When you’ve been doing DIY for a couple years, you’re bound to have odds and ends of various supplies sitting around taking up space, and I’ve discovered a few fun uses for them.

1.  Temporary ribbon trim on curtains.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get a little bored with my plain white curtains.  The reason my living room drapes are white is because I have never been able to settle on what else I’d want there.  Do I want a color?  A contrasting band at the bottom?  Some sort of wide or narrow stripe of ribbon trim?  After the last ribbon trim I glued on got old fast, this time I decided to SAFETY PIN my ribbon trim on.

I save good ribbon to use on holidays and for gift wrapping, and I had a couple long pieces of gold ribbon that I grabbed one day to test out on the leading edge of my living room curtains.  Though that particular shade of gold was too mustardy for me, it inspired me to go spend $4 at JoAnn’s for a 9-yard roll of gold satin ribbon.  Then, in case I get tired of it, I just looped the ribbon through my tiebacks and safety pinned it at the top and the bottom.

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See?  Totally works.

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This will work on any curtains that don’t get drawn often (we use the miniblinds in the living room).  Sometimes you have to adjust the fall of the ribbon so it stays looking attached all the way down, but it’s still a great method for trying out a new trim or letting you change it up a few times a year.

2. Using up small bits of fabric.

Whenever I sew something, I keep any scraps that appear to be of a potentially useful size.  This week I used a scrap from my french door curtains:


and another from my lampshade project:

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…to make my baby’s swaddle wraps one size bigger.  I swaddle her when she sleeps, and lately she has been on the verge of outgrowing these essential items.

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I bought a swaddle the next size up with a gift card, but although it was long enough it was far too wide in the body.  So I took my scrap fabrics and cut out a piece shaped like an elongated eye (narrow at the ends and wide in the middle) to extend and widen just the legs portion of her two swaddle wraps.  I didn’t do pretty sewing, but it does the job.  She now has lots of room on both her swaddles to let her hips swing open and to kick out her legs straight.

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3.  Art from books.

A while back I bought a nice coffee table book that was on clearance.  It highlighted innovations in typesetting and text layout over the last century… woohoo, right?  Well my dad did typesetting before computers got common and my dear graphic designer friend Amy geeks out about fonts so I guess it’s part of my world :)  Anyway,  I bought this book specifically to cut up for art but have barely used anything from it.

I had a blank spot in my kitchen wall that was begging for art and I’d previously considered getting this piece:

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but in the end I decided I had enough “wow” things happening in the kitchen/dining room already and needed something a lot quieter in that space.  I searched online for pen and ink drawings and even printed out some tree sketches but they weren’t really doing it once I lived with them.

Then I remembered my typesetting book!  I found four pages that balanced each other well, cut them out with a razor, and simply taped them to the wall with a small loop of scotch tape on the back.  Why not?

I do plan to frame them eventually (almost grabbed four $6 clearance frames with mats at Michael’s but that would break my spending rule!  They always have great clearance frames and I just need to wait) but in the meantime, I am really enjoying my art solution.  Forgive the early morning light in my photos – it makes everything look more monochromatic that in real life.

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The four pieces not only look good, they all have some sort of meaning to me.  There are pages from some French fables, the Book of Common Prayer, Genesis, and something with my husband’s name.

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What are your favorite $10 or less changes around the home?