Monday, January 31, 2011

DIY: Just re-paint it.

I got Hubsey a sweet typography map for Christmas, and I knew I'd be moving around a bunch of other art during the hanging process.  However, some unexpected stuff got moved, so when it was all said and done, I was left with a naked wall above the dresser...

Love what we've done with the place?

...and a mirror that didn't go with the bedroom.

So instead of going to the store and blah, blah, blah, I did this:

I used:
Dutch Boy no-VOC flat latex paint in White
1" foam brush
an old piece of cardboard to catch drips

What I did:
Call this the lazy girl's way to re-paint something.  It won't work for every project (if you're dealing with a glossy finish, for example) but for my cheap faux-wood mirror, skipping the sandpaper and primer was the way to go.  I just applied three coats of paint with the foam brush.  I allowed drying time between each layer, and used even strokes to avoid brush marks.  That's it.  Didn't even tape off the glass, though I kind of rolled the dice with that one.  Feel free to do so if you're worried about having a steady hand.

Here's the finished product:

Better accessories help, too.

By the way, this project was free.  Hooray for using stuff I already had!

What crafty business have you been up to lately?

Miscellaneous: A New Venture

My mom called me last night and the first words out of her mouth were, "What are you doing since there's no football on?" and I said, "Well, we are watching the Pro Bowl..."  But in my defense, I was ALSO working on some bloggy goodness:

That's right.  Little White Chapel is still my shop, but it's also... drumroll please... a blog!  It'll have periodic updates about my jewelry, but will also feature a lot of other (wallet-friendly) wedding ideas.  So if you're getting married, or are just a hopeless wedding junkie like me, check it out.

The blog is still in its infant stage (she was born on Friday), but I'm already keeping an eyeball out for great ideas.  So if there's anything you want to contribute--a tutorial, money-saving ideas, an overview of your entire wedding, etc.--I'd love to share it.  Send me an email: paige[dot]ronchetti[at]

Friday, January 28, 2011

On the Cheap: Avoid a custom frame.

This is what I got Hubsey for Christmas:

Cool, right?  It's not like we needed any more wall art (because MAN have we let that get out of control), but this was too awesome to pass up.  And it's already hanging in its newly-framed glory, so we're a several steps ahead of ourselves this time.  Snaps for us.

I was afraid I'd have to get a custom frame because it's 15"x22" and it's not like those are just hangin' around the store.  I was originally going to get some other weirdly-sized art framed for him, but THAT custom quote was like, $125.  And it wasn't even one of the "high end" frames.

So, screw that.  I decided I was going to buy a regular frame from the store and spring for a custom mat to fill out the empty space instead.  I picked up an 18"x24" frame at Michael's for 50% off (which made it $30 instead of $60), and ordered the mat for $24 there, as well.  That's $54, plus the $20.95 I paid for the print, for a grand total of $74.95.

Here's how she looks:

I'll never get a custom frame now that I know how cheap the mats are.  Bwa ha haaa!  I feel like I'm cheating the system.  Do you have any sneaky plans like this one?

P.S. The print company does framing, too. Their cheapest option?  $105.95. (Ha!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

30 for 30: Winter Edition

It's time.  I decided a couple of days ago.  I haven't even told Hubsey.

I'm doing another 30 for 30 Challenge.

When I was cleaning out my closet I realized that instead of having a few items I loved and a bunch that were just meh, I finally feel like I have a wardrobe.  A lot of the iffy stuff was weeded out over the last few months, and I was a lot pickier about what went in.  So now I want to mix-and-match and see if I did as well as I think.

If you want to do your own 30 for 30, here are the rules:

1. Choose 30 items from your closet, including shoes, to mix-and-match for 30 days.  (For my fellow northerners, your coat, hat, snow boots, etc., don't count toward the 30.  Those are necessities--unless you're into frostbite, which I'm not.)

2. For the 30 days, no shopping is allowed.  Well, you can GO, but you can't wear anything new you buy until the challenge is over.  So really, what's the point?

3. Try to make 30 different outfits.  Some of them will be similar, but try not to do the exact same thing.

A bunch of other bloggers are doing this, too, so feel free to join in!  The more the mixier.  We begin February 1st.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Go Retro: Mr. Darcy!

We saw The King's Speech yesterday.  Mr. Darcy Colin Firth won the Golden Globe for it on Sunday so I thought I'd better hurry to the theater before he wins the Oscar.  Which he should.  Of course, I'm biased because I love everything he's in (even that Amanda Bynes movie), but this was ACTUALLY good.

It also doesn't hurt that it took place in the '30s.

The dress is a (splurge!) reproduction from Stop Staring, $170; the shoes are vintage and a steal at $23; the brooch is also from the era, $45.

Seen any good movies lately?  Do you also refer to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy even though that movie was (wait for it) a mini-series from 1995?  Maybe you're a fan of the '30s and might see The King's Speech now?  Do tell.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What I Wore: Jan. 14th (and 16th)

I seriously wonder if I should start betting on football games.  I'm 5 for 6 over the last two weekends, so perhaps I've missed my calling.  If anybody knows a good bookie...

Shirt: Target
Cardigan: Forever 21
Jeans: Forever 21
Boots: Forever 21
Necklace: gift from Grandma!
Shades: Fossil

Why am I wearing sunglasses inside?  We had actual sunlight the other day!  Not the watery crap that sometimes sneaks in through the cloud cover, I mean we had real blue skies and a bright yellow orb that hurt my eyeballs.

I got to wear this to work on Friday because the Bears are in the playoffs.  And then I wore it again on Sunday for the game.  And I might bust it out again this Sunday, because we have to play the Packers and it's... going to be interesting.  I have a bad feeling Da Bears will need every smidge of superstitious luck they can get.

What are you wearing today?  Any other lucky football outfits in the house?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ma, Look What I Got: A New Zodiac Sign

In high school, I wanted to get my zodiac sign on my class ring.  At the time,  I was transitioning out of basketball and into theater, so I wasn't sure what to put on there.  But I thought my sign would be safe because I'd be a Sagittarius forever!  It would never change!

Oh wait, it just did.

I don't even know how this works, but there's apparently a new zodiac sign: Ophiuchus.  And guess whose birthday falls between November 29th and December 17th?  That would be me.  I don't really believe in horoscopes, but I do like the story of Sagittarius, so I'm a little bummed to be something else now.

Look at this cool mug!  Too bad it would be weird if I owned it now.  $8.

Same with this.  I'm sure there will be necklaces with whatever symbol the new sign has, but again, I like the archer.  $15.

By the way, Sagittarius isn't on my class ring.  Mom made me put basketball and track on it, because those were my most recent activities.  I never wear it.

So what do you think about Ophiuchus?  How is it pronounced, by the way?  Even if you're not a winter birthday, there's a good chance your sign is different too, because it looks like everything shifted by a couple of weeks.  Take a gander.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Miscellaneous: Customer Service

I got Hubsey a fancy Chicago picture for Christmas.  We've chosen a spot to hang it, and now it's time for a frame.  It's a weird size, so I ordered a custom mat from Michael's to make it fit an off-the-shelf frame (which is way cheaper than the alternative).  I ordered it nine days ago, so just I called the store to check the status.

WOMAN: Hello, custom framing, can I help you?

ME: Yes, I ordered something from you last week and I was wondering if it was in yet.

WOMAN: So... a custom order?

ME: Yes.

WOMAN: Uh...

ME: A custom mat.  For a picture.

WOMAN: Oh.  *type-ity type type*  What's your order number?

ME: The receipt isn't with me, can I give you my last name instead?

WOMAN: Uh... Do you know when you bought it?

ME: It was last Tuesday.

WOMAN: So... is that the fourth?

ME: Yes.

WOMAN: Uh... *type-ity*

ME: Would it be easier to search by name?

WOMAN: Yeah...

ME: R-o-n-c-h-e-t-t-i.

WOMAN: ...

ME: ...

WOMAN: ...

ME: ...

WOMAN: *type-ity type*  It's not in yet.

Gaaaaah!  Good thing I didn't just stop there on the way home.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On the Cheap: I should probably buy a calendar.

Okay, first of all, I have a paper cut on the webbing between my thumb and index finger and it HURTS.  I think I got it when I was putting a bunch of pop in the supply closet yesterday, so it's not even like I was doing anything cool.  "Oh that?  It happened while I was patching some drywall.  Come see how majestic our bathroom looks now!"


Anyway, it's a new year and wouldn't ya know it, I haven't given a calendar any thought.  I did get a day planner for my birthday, but to me a planner and a calendar do completely different things.  A planner is for my to-do list, because if I don't write it down, it won't happen.  (Seriously.  Ask my friend Tressie about her perpetually late Christmas presents.)  A calendar, on the other hand, is for putting on my desk/wall so I can look quickly at the whole month.  (And sometimes it reminds to put things in the planner.)

This printable version is based on those "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters.  Each month says something different, like "Say Thanks and Exchange for Jewelry."  Hee hee.  $8.

One good thing about waiting until the second week of January to get your calendar is the sale prices on most of them.  A vertical calendar with a botanical motif is $15 marked down from $25.

I'd have to write really small on this one, but the happy ocean critters make me okay with that.  $7.50.

What's your calendar situation?  Do you have a day planner, too?  I also use the extremely high-tech method of writing things on my hand--anybody else?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Miscellaneous: Closet Clean Out

I got a wild hair over the weekend and decided I needed to re-organize my closet.  Well, it started with the idea of going through my shoes and that kind of snowballed.  I took things out willy-nilly until I was standing there after work yesterday looking at this:

My bad.

Before I continue, I should mention that my closet is actually in the guest room/office.  Hubsey lived in the condo first and when I moved in, he offered to share the master closet with me.  That worked for about 12 seconds.

So here we are many months later and things have gotten a little snug.  First, I downsized the shoes.  These are going to GoodWill...

Peace out!

...and the ones I kept now live in this bin.

Then I went through all the crap that was kept on the floor (the giant box in the first picture is for the Christmas tree, which my sister is kindly taking off our hands), and purged the purses.

And now my closet looks like this:

Much better!  It's amazing how much we can squeeze into an 850 square foot condo.  I'm afraid to see what will happen to us once we have a house...

Have you re-organized anything lately?  Are you also perplexed about how you ended up with so much stuff?  I went through my box of records, too, and wondered why I even had a few of them.  Sigh.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shop Update: New Year, New Jewelry

Happy Monday!  Who had a productive weekend?  I got all sorts of things done: went to IKEA twice (yay!), tackled the mountain of dishes in the left side of the sink, re-arranged some decor in the living room, took most of the Christmas tree down, and worked on some of this:

Keep an eyeball out for a lot of new stuff hitting the shop this month.  I also have another Etsy-ish project in the works that should be ready to roll in a couple of weeks.  Details soon.

What'd you do this weekend?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wedding$: Fabulously Frugal

I don't know how this happens to me.  I was at my desk working on the company newsletter, and then BAM! my browser had 37 tabs of wedding dresses open.  Might as well share what I found.

Now that's a wedding dress.  I almost purchased one that was pretty similar to this, and I think I'll always be a fan of the Old Hollywood bridal gown.  $395.

This would probably work better as a reception dress, since it IS covered in sequins, but maybe someone daring could pull it off for the ceremony, too. $148.

I love it when brides don't wear white or ivory. (In fact, I wanted to wear purple. Didn't happen.)  This one has some color, but it's still subtle enough that Great Aunt Gertie won't have a heart attack when you enter the room. $475.

What distracts you at work?  Are you a fellow wedding junkie?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rules to Shop By #4: Get it Generic

Brace yourselves, because this is insane.  I saw this show on TLC the other night called Extreme Couponing.  It was about people who clip hundreds of coupons and then go on massive shopping trips.  That by itself doesn't sound so bad, but the people on the show clip hundreds of the SAME coupon, and then hoard ridiculous amounts of items in their house.  Observe:

WHAAAAAAT?  On the show, the couple above purchased nine carts of pasta, some kind of Dinty Moore noodle thing, Butterfingers, and Gatorade.  That's it.  No produce, no meat, just a bunch of starch and sugar.  By using coupons they whittled their $1,000+ total down to about $50, so I guess I'll give them credit for that, but what the hell are they going to do with 200 candy bars? (Seriously, do you WANT diabetes?)

Instead of wasting a bunch of space in my house to buy four products that don't exactly balance the food pyramid, I try another approach when I hit the grocery store: buy the generic brand.

I visited my BFF Target on the way home from work today and decided to do a little experiment.  I made note of how much the generic brand cost vs. the "real" deal.  Here's what I got:

granola bars: $1.97 vs. $2.19
contact lens cleaner: $6.69 vs. $8.34
drain cleaner: $4.99 vs. $6.45
kleenex: $1.39 vs. $1.57
toilet paper: $9.99 vs. $11.99

It wasn't a huge shopping trip, but by switching to the Archer Farms or Up & Up brands I saved $5.60.  (And don't forget about getting things on sale!  Everything else I purchased that didn't have a generic replacement, like organic mac & cheese, was a sale item.  I saved another $5.06.)

So maybe I could save more than $10.66 using the extreme method, but I'd rather not have a bedroom full of salad dressing and shampoo, ya dig?  Anybody else a fan of the generic brands?  Or maybe you have some other grocery store secret?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

DIY: Kindle Sleeve Tutorial

My new baby has been trotting around naked.

Most of the time that's not an issue, since I like how feather-light she is and have decided I don't want some bulky leather thing weighing her down, but I DO get nervous when she's in my bag.  A little padding is in order.



I made this, and it was probably the easiest thing I've ever sewn.  Easier than a pillow.  In fact, if you're teaching somebody how to sew, this would be a great beginning project.

You need:
felt (or some other padding, but felt is cheapest)
pretty fabric
needle and thread (or Unique Stitch, if you're lazy like I was toward the end)
pen or pencil

What to do:
1. Fold the felt in half and pin it together.  Place your Kindle inside to make sure it fits.  (Mine has a little extra room and I'm totally fine with that, but if you want a snug fit just do a little snippy-snip.)  Sew the felt to make a pocket.  These stitches don't have to be pretty since the felt will be covered by other fabric.

2. Spread out your fabric and if the pattern varies, decide which part you want on the sleeve.  I actually put the felt pocket underneath my toile and folded it to get an idea of how it would look.  Once you're ready, flip the fabric over and trace the outline of the felt pocket.

3. Cut out the fabric pieces and pin them together.  Make sure the "design" sides are facing each other so you're looking at the back of the fabric.  Sew the pieces together (or use Unique Stitch like I did, because maybe I didn't want the noise of my sewing machine drowning out the TV).

4. Once the sleeve is together, fold the top edges inside to create a hem.  (Again, Unique Stitch works just as well.)  Put the felt pocket inside the fabric and you're done!

One thing to keep in mind is that the felt and fabric aren't sewn together, so you can make several different sleeves for the same insert.  ALSO, this is super affordable.  I used two pieces of recycled felt that were 29 cents each, and a leftover fabric sample from an interior design store that I got for $1.  Even if you end up spending a little more on fabric, you're still under $10.

This is the back.  Whee!

Have you been crafty lately?  What did you make?  Anybody else love Unique Stitch?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On the Cheap: I just want something pretty.

I'm sick again.  A week after the flu, I have a nasty cold.  Hubsey is under the weather, too (we think somebody breathed on us New Year's Eve), but he's just about back to normal.  I, on the other hand, sound like I've been smoking for 30 years.  [Edit: I apparently look/sound so terrible my boss just asked me if I wanted to go home.]

So that's fun.

Let's look at some pretty stuff.

Starting top left, the LOVELY vintage lace dress is $49 (snap!), the equally cool pillow cover is $28, the sheet music bunting that would look great in my studio is $25, and the black rhinestone earrings are $15.

Who else is sick?  Let's share our pain in the comments.  I'll pass you a virtual kleenex.