Frugal Fabric Fun — Challenge # 13

My Aunt Patty is the consummate bargain hunter. Her home is lovely mind you; one would never know the source of some of her decor.

But neighborhood garage sale? She’s there. Got to have a grape-shaped serving dish? She’ll scour her favorite thrift and consignment joints ’til she snags you one.

Pillows on Garden Swing

Patty—who you’d never guess as my aunt because she’s so young—delights in tracking down treasures for a steal. So I had to smile when this email arrived in my in-box the other day:

“I have an idea for you. Today I went to garage sales…one of my favorite things to do.”

‘Cool,’ I’m thinking, ‘what did you find?’

Table Square and Pillows

“I found a lovely floral tablecloth (Ralph Lauren) for one dollar,” she said.

‘One dollar?’ I’m impressed.

Pillow FrontPillow Back

She went on, “Brought it home and cut it up. Covered three 16” pillow forms (which I bought for 99 cents each this week at Goodwill) and made a 40″square tablecloth, with enough fabric left over for something else. I intend to use these on the patio to brighten up the table and swing.”

“So here’s a Challenge idea…find a cheap tablecloth and do something else with it!!
— Aunt Patty”

I talked Patty into snapping a few photos. Darn nice for four bucks, huh?

hip-homeworkshop-mugI’m mad for the idea because it’s simple, fun and doable. So that’s just what we’re going to do—with one twist. There are gorgeous tablecloth designs out there, but let’s expand to include sheets and shower curtains too. You’re bound to find one of the above to transform. And Aunt Patty, I’ll be dropping by with your coffee mug for coming up with the Challenge.

There’s your inspiration. This week’s Challenge: Find a cheap tablecloth, bed sheet or shower curtain, and use the fabric to create something for your home decor.

Sewing in No TimeTell us about your hunt and what you spent. Don’t worry if it’s more than four bucks—Patty threw down the gauntlet with that. Show us what you made and where you plan to use your creations.

A bit of incentive? A randomly-selected winner from entrants in the Frugal Fabric Fun Challenge will win the marvelous book of home sewing projects, Sewing in No Time: 50 Step-by-step Weekend Projects Made Easy, written by Emma Hardy. She’s a designer and stylist for various lifestyle and interiors magazines, including Country Homes and Interiors and Marie Claire!

When you're done, snap a photo and submit your entry. Do so by Wednesday, September 9, 2009 to be included in the Ta-Da! Challenge Results post. We can't wait to see what you do!

Frugal Fabric Fun -- Challenge # 13

  • Submission Deadline: Wednesday, September 9, 2009
  • Ta-Da! Challenge Results: Thursday, September 10, 2009

Be the first to enter »

Challenges Update — Vote for Kitchen Today

Here’s what’s up with the Challenges this week.

kathy-ktichen-design-21. What a thrill! We ended up with nineteen entries for the SeeItYourWay Kitchen Design Challenge. The kitchens are so diverse; it’s been a kick to see your varied tastes.

Voting for the best combined kitchen design and description has been ongoing all week, and we have only today left. So pop by and vote for your favorite, and be sure and do it by 11:59 pm Pacific tonight. Remember, just one vote per person.

I’ll announce the $100 winner in the Ta-Da! post tomorrow.

2. Rachel is looking like a lock to win the From Textile to Table Challenge, where she took inspiration from a fabric design and created her own dishware. Will someone else sneak in with an entry under the wire? If not, a $50 Michael’s Gift Card is on the way to Rachel.

Penny Mosaic Serving Tray3. You’ve got plenty of time to enter the Let’s Make Cents Challenge. So dump out those jars of pennies and give something a coppery glow.

4. A brand new Challenge is coming today — watch for the post!

Thanks Design Junkies, Have fun!

Cut it out! Rugs — Love it or Leave it?

Today I want your reaction to the innovative Cut it out! rugs from UK product designer Marina Ralph.

Red Cut it Out Rug

Ralph designed the 100% wool felt rugs with perforated lines for decoration, and to allow the buyer to adjust the rug’s size and shape to fit the room.

Cutting the Cut it Out Rug

Rug a little too big? Want to move it from your den to a smaller bedroom? Snip away.

Cream Cut it Out Rug

Does this cut-to-fit design idea work for you? Tell us what you think.

(via Notcot.)


Artist Profile — Kristi Taylor

I have always admired people who can pick an interest and stick with it. Not that it’s bad to dabble—we learn so much that way. But focusing on an avocation or even concentrating on a certain theme can result in impressive work.


That’s how it is with abstract artist Kristi Taylor and her Tree Views series of paintings. Her kaleidoscopic interpretation of light filtering through trees has evolved.


“Many of my early Tree View compositions included roots,” said Kristi. “I think the roots grounded them visually in a way and as I moved toward abstraction I wanted to focus on the branches. My newest collection, Sunlit Trees, depicts full branches with circles of light shining through.”

“Tree View no. 2” is one of Kristi’s earliest works in the series.

Tree View no. 2 is one of Kristi’s earliest works in the series.

By Tree View no. 7 she had begun to develop her trademark inclusion of light.By “Tree View no. 7” she had better developed her trademark inclusion of light.

For the colorist living in the Appalachian mountain region of Tennessee, the bountiful trees were the perfect choice. “The Tree View series began in autumn as the leaves dropped from the trees revealing the lyrical lines of the branches,” said Kristi. “I was inspired by the shapes they created in the empty sky.”


Light dances through Kristi’s acrylics on canvas. From a distance, the glisten and glow is apparent. “A number of people have commented my work reminds them of stained glass so I hope that means I am doing something right with light,” said Kristi.

But gaze only from a distance and you’ll miss out. Zoom in on one of the Tree Views and the textural brush strokes and confident color combinations become the focus.

mini sunlit tree_no5

“The name Tree Views has a dual meaning in my work,” said Kristi. “Primarily it references two distinct vantages. One from a distance which relies on movement created with shape and color harmony and the other close up revealing the heavy textures and complexity of the color palette.”

Kristi’s passion for color is evident in her work. Other artists she admires for mastery of color and their timeless work include Paul Klee, Kandinsky, Gustav Klimt and Georgia O’Keeffe.

“It can be like music,” said Kristi. “The right arrangement of tones creates harmony and the possibilities are endless.”

lucky tree_no1lucky tree_no2

With an interest in Feng Shui, Kristi believes that color can affect mood and well being. “I tend to favor palettes that reflect something between tranquility and happiness,” said Kristi. “I want my color selections to make people feel good.”

Because of the mix of color, geometric and organic elements, Kristi has seen her paintings work well with many styles of home decor. “I love pairing them with dark woods and leather elements to really play up the contrasts,” said Kristi.

mini sunlit tree_no10

A career sidetrack into the world of digital design has served her well. In 1999, fresh out of college and armed with a Fine Art degree with a concentration in painting, Kristi found herself without the resources to market her then large-scale work to galleries. So she took a job in Web design. “That led to more new media jobs and…opportunities to learn a variety of digital mediums,” said Kristi.

Her Web jobs gave her the skills and knowhow to confidently present and market her artwork online. “By the time my Tree View paintings had grown into a collection I had more then enough knowledge to get them out there.”

Kristi Taylor“I didn’t understand where my path was going while I was on it but everything has fallen into place,” said Kristi.

Kristi’s advice for other artists? “Don’t use colors straight from the tube! Well, you can if you want to but I never do.”

Kristi Taylor’s paintings are found in galleries throughout the Southeast and are available online through:

What’s the most colorful piece in your home? How did it earn a place in your decor?

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