Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

DIY Frayed Jeans Hem

I’ve seen a lot of frayed or fringed jeans hem pics lately so I decided this would be an easy DIY on a pair of thrifted jeans.

I did this on skinny jeans but use whatever cut/style you like. Here’s a pair of distressed Silver jeans I had. I LOVE the Silver brand. Until I discovered them, I rarely wore jeans. They just never fit me properly. I have a small waist and bigger hips so I always had the back gap and that drove me crazy.


Begin by cutting off the bottom hem and marking where you want your fringe to stop. I marked about an inch or so but you can make the fringe as long as you want.


Cut slits up to the mark line every few centimetres.


Once you’ve cut slits, use a pair of tweezers or similar tool to start picking at the threads.


You want to try and pull the horizontal (white) threads out.


Keep picking until your jeans start to look like this.




After I was done I washed my jeans before wearing. It helps to clean things up a bit and make the fringe softer. I love the look with a pair of boots. If it were warmer out, I’d wear these with a pair of high heeled sandals and I would cut them a bit shorter so that they look more like a cropped pair of pants.


An alternative to the fringe is to just cut off the original bottom hem and not fray them, so essentially step #1 of this post. With time, the unhemmed jeans would just have thread hanging off them. This is another trendy look right now. So easy!


A Dear Friend’s Dining Room Revival

Dear friends, it has been so, so long since I’ve posted anything…ugh! I’m so disappointed in myself but believe me when I say tons of stuff has been happening around here. We’ve done major renos to our master bedroom. I will have lots around that project. I’ve also been dealing with annoying health issues that have slowed me down a bit. I have not even logged onto WordPress to read blogs that I follow! Let’s see, what else? Oh, I had a lovely trip to Croatia in August to celebrate my parents’ 50th anniversary and I adopted a senior siberian husky. Our resident dog (Shayla), also a siberian, is 11 years old and is taking some time to adjust to having a “new guy” around. My youngest has gone off to university and left Mr. and I with an empty nest. Life has been crazy but wonderful.

This is the story of a tired oak dining room set. My old high school friend Connie posted a pic on Facebook asking if anyone knew someone that would be able to stain her dining room a darker colour. I suggested she could DIY this and I’d help her but I ended up taking on the project. I am so happy that I was able to transform this set. Older pieces are so worth saving. You simply cannot buy this quality today in any of the big box stores. High end? Maybe, but who wants to spend tons of money on furniture. A nice vacation sounds better to me.

Connie is just as funny as I remember her from all those years ago. I am so glad we connected again. Who knew that a DIY project could bring people together this way. She would not let me include a picture of her in this post but believe me, she is just as pretty and fun and funny as I remember. You know that one friend who is a little bit wild and and crazy (in a good way)? That’s her.

Here’s the set before.


I started by giving everything a light sanding to rough it up a bit so that the General Finishes Java Gel Stain would adhere properly.


As well as some filling in where the veneer on the sides was starting to peel. Incidentally, finding veneer on vintage or antique pieces is very common and not an indicator of poor craftsmanship.


After one coat, looking pretty splotchy. This is quite normal.





I was done. Four coats in total and then I noticed something.


I hadn’t seen them when I was looking straight on but there were what appeared to be “bubbles” on the surface of the table. Argh! My level of frustration! I felt sooooo bad. I knew there was no way I could leave it like this. What was the cause? I’ve done countless projects with stain before. I couldn’t really “feel” anything with my fingers but it didn’t look right. It could only be from previously water damage.


I had two choices. Leave as is or sand down to bare wood and redo the whole table. Option 1 was a definite no. There was no way I could hand this back to her in this condition. I asked myself would I use this table the way it looked in my own home? Absolutely not…so I sanded. And sanded. And sanded. I was afraid that the top layer was actually veneer and worried I might strip off too much. Here it is during the sanding process.


Looking much better. The spots are disappearing.


Went on to apply about 4 or 5 coats of stain and top coat. Here’s the finished project.


I love how it turned out and absolutely adore the new chairs she picked out. Check out her flooring too! It’s pretty cool. On a side note, I worked on this in October and while it had been fairly warm, I was applying the top coat on the table during a bit of a cold spell. I noticed a bit of a cloudy appearance in some spots from the top coat. I know that this is from temperature change so if it’s not looking the best, I’ll go back in the spring and touch that part up if necessary.

For now I look forward to enjoying a few drinks and some laughs with an old friend. Thank you Connie for putting your faith in me. I like wine. Red wine. ūüėČ






Clothespin Apron Tutorial

I absolutely love hanging laundry out to dry. Ever since I was a little kid I have loved doing this. Long before it was considered green and the right thing to do. Unfortunately, living in a cold climate, I’m forced to use the dryer for most of the year but when warm weather comes I am out there hanging wash.

This post is a tutorial for making a clothespin apron. Before I came up with this rather BRILLIANT idea I had a simple method for storing clothespins.


Yes, it looks like a regular old plastic container to some. To me it was an upcycled clothespins store-all that kept the pins dry on rainy days. Problem was that I was constantly bending up and down to grab clothespins.

Step by step here’s what I devised to make this apron.


  1. Measure from hip to hip so that the apron will fit nicely. That turned out to be 18″ and I figured about 12″ should do it for the apron height. I used some fabric I had leftover from my ironing board cover project and cut 2 pieces about 20″x14.” These 2 pieces will be sewn together right sides together and then turned right side out so that the inside and the outside of the apron are the same. To me this is easier than just using one piece and folding, pinning and sewing the edges. For the second piece (the part with the pockets) I cut that 20″x7.”

Cut 2 pieces, one 20″x14″, the other 20″x7″

2. Taking the smaller piece (the 20×7), fold over the raw edge along one of the longer sides and press and pin. This part is a little difficult to see as the ironing board cover is the same fabric as my project.


Fold over one of the longer edges, press and pin


Sew the raw edge you just folded over. This will be the top of the apron pockets.

3. Using chalk or fabric marker, draw a line along the centre of the small piece. I did this because I wanted my apron to have 2 pockets but it’s not necessary. You can still see the chalk line on mine but it’s not a garment so it doesn’t bother me that it’s still visible.


Draw a line along the centre of the small piece.

4. Pin the pocket piece to one of the larger pieces lining up the bottom and side edges and stitch along the marked line to form the pockets.


Sew along line to form pockets.

5. Next, pin the remaining larger piece to the piece you just made pockets on right sides together and sew all around leaving a gap in stitching at the top so you can turn it right side out. I do clip my corners a bit before turning right side out so I get a crisper corner. Don’t worry about the gap in stitching. It will be covered up later when you attach the ties to the apron.


Pin and stitch the pieces together.

6. Turn right side out and it should look like this.


Next, you’ll want to make ties. For this part, depending on how much fabric you have, you may need to cut and attach strips. You’ll want to measure how long your ties should be to comfortably go around the top of the apron and give you the ability to make ties at the back. I didn’t have a ton of fabric left over so I did end up connecting 2 strips. I didn’t bother cutting on the bias but you can do it that way if you want to. There are great tutorials on the internet on how to do them. This is just an apron so I wasn’t too worried about doing it the proper way.

7. To make the ties, I measure around 4″ or so. This project is a lot of eyeballing on the fly. Just make them the size you like, remembering that the ties will end up being half the width you cut once everything is stitched together. Place one strip vertically over the other (horizontal), right sides facing. Make sure the vertical strip is a little higher than the horizontal piece otherwise once it’s stitched together it won’t line up properly. Using a ruler, draw a diagonal line from the top of the horizontal strip to the corner of the vertical strip and pin in place. 20170514_172516

8. You’ll stitch along this line. Just like this:20170514_172603

See what I mean? When you turn it right side out, it does line up when you leave room at the top like I did in step 7.20170514_172628

9. Trim off the excess fabric along the triangle.


10. Line up the top edge of the apron with the edge of apron ties making sure to centre so that your ties are even lengths on both sides of the apron. Pin in place.20170514_173035

11. Sew along top edge.20170514_173150

12. Now that you have the top edges sewn together, you’ll fold the tie over to cover the raw edge and stitches you just made.

raw edge

13. As you fold the tie over the stitches you just made, also fold the raw edge under and pin in place.


Fold over stitching and fold raw edge.

14. Stitch in place.


15. You’ll keep folding the edges in and stitching. I just eyeballed it at this point, trying to keep an even width but you could press the edges in as you fold and pin.


16. When you get to the end of the tie, you can cut them on an angle, fold, pin and stitch. Do this for both tie ends.


17. Try your apron on and go hang laundry. Yay!20170514_175849

Now my clothespins are within arm’s reach. No more bending!


When I’m finished, I put everything back in my handy bucket so that it’s ready to go next time and so that it all stays dry.


This project isn’t limited to clothespin aprons. You can use this method for regular aprons, aprons to hold tools, art and gardening supplies, you name it. This is a great way to use up old sheets or smaller pieces of fabric that you have lying around.

Let me know if hanging clothes outside is hip where you are or whether it’s considered old fashioned or even if it’s legal! I know some places have bylaws forbidding clotheslines. I can’t imagine…

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Basement Bathroom: Cost Breakdown

Just a follow up to my post on the basement bathroom build and a few more pics of the actual process.

Just so you have an idea of the space as it looked – unfinished. The wall on the left was built several years ago. It separates this bathroom from the office on the other side.


Prepping for plumbing…


Mr. Restyle dug this all up himself…


then filled it and poured concrete.


After that was dry, heused self-levelling concrete to finish it off.


The shower gets started…



So not the entire process but gives you a better idea of the before and after.

basement bathroom

Here’s the cost breakdown. Remember, most of this stuff was either obtained from thrift stores or at significant savings from big box stores (look for discontinued or clearance items or shop the sales for savings!) and various other sources. We search everywhere! In Canadian dollars:

Vanity                     $50
Antique cabinet  $100
Faucet                    $80
Toilet                     $140
Shower                  $900
Concrete                $100
ABS                          $ 30
Jackhammer           $80 (used for concrete floor)
Exhaust fan             $50
Heated floor           $120
Shower valve         $200
Shower tile             $200 (including grout)
Floor tile                 $300 (including grout)
Miscellaneous        $300

Mirror                        $25

Towel bar                    $15

Vanity light                 $40

GRAND TOTAL:         $2730


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Oak Staircase Complete

I did manage to finish the staircase and completely forget to do a post about it. I first wrote about staining/painting the staircase here.

I finished it just before Christmas and this is how it turned out.


The giraffe belongs to the Mr. He won’t let me get rid of it. Not going to lie, this project was a LOT of work. Very time consuming but so worth it, I think.




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Total Basement Bathroom from Top to Bottom

UPDATE: See the updated post on this project with a complete cost breakdown. It’s all right here.

Hello all. There’s been a lot of activity in the household. We built a bathroom in the basement completely from scratch. Mr. Restyle did all of the walls, ceilings, flooring along with the install of shower, sink, toilet and tiling! So incredibly proud of him as he’s never done this much before. There are lots of pictures in this post but that’s because there are several different DIY, upcycled, recylced elements to this bathroom. I hope it inspires someone to do it yourself with existing materials.

This bathroom did not exist as the basement was unfinished when we purchased the house. Hubby installed in-floor heating. I don’t have pics of that part but I’m sure he does. If anyone out there is interested, we can create a separate blog post on how this was done. I love the grey tile we picked out for the floor.


The heated floor is controlled by this:


The ceiling is a drop-down as our house is wired to the max and that requires easy access. The ceiling tiles are actually made from drywall. We opted not to use pre-made ceiling tile in the bathroom. The Mr. cut, primed and painted them himself. The small circles in the ceiling are lights. The 2 large circles in the picture are built-in speakers because, well, he’s insane and wants access to music from almost everywhere. This bathroom is for the boys, so whatever they like, I’m okay with.


Every new element that we use in our renos is sourced at significant discounts. Suffice it to say, we sometimes have to buy things for projects that we don’t plan on working on for quite some time and we have stuff everywhere. I will be so happy on the day we are completely done, if there is such a thing! Shower was his vision. I admit I love it. He did the tiling, lighting, plumbing, everything himself.


shower headshower2.jpg

He’s quite proud of his soap niche-lights and all.


So what role did I play in this room? Well, this! An old dresser turned into a vanity and instead of having a built-in closet, I choose this old cabinet that I painted white.


A large basket of flowers sits on top.



Here’s a closer look inside.


I used to travel a lot for work and I can’t be the only one who brings hotel soap home, right? I thought they’d look pretty in this glass jar.

shell and soap

The fixture above the vanity is a clearance sale item. The mirror is a thrift store find.

vanity light_Fotor.jpg


This $5 wicker hamper was another thrift store find. I couldn’t believe how much these actually retail for! I removed the old plastic lining that was inside and used the fabric from a thrift store shower curtain as a new liner. The baskets inside the cabinet are also lined with the same fabric.


Finally, a couple of retro magazine ads that we picked up at a vintage fair last spring. Framed and ready to be hung (sorry for the reflection from the lighting in the next 2 pics).



I am really pleased with how this bathroom turned out and comments from friends and family have been that it’s beautiful and they love the mix of old with modern. This is the best looking bathroom in the house now!


How to Embellish Plain Sheets

Hello everyone! It has been quite some time. Let me tell you what’s been going on. I’ve been dealing with some health issues the past few months and recently discovered through biopsy that I have Celiac Disease. ūüė¶ I needed to hit pause and really focus on dealing with this change in lifestyle, my symptoms and just adjusting overall to the change in my diet and what it all means. Not to go into too much detail but for the last several months I’ve been dealing with nausea and vomiting in the mornings and major migraine headaches. I thought these were all symptoms of getting older and so was completely shocked when I received the diagnosis of celiac AND gastritis. Oh joy! Anyway, I’m dealing with it and it’s all good. On the upside, I’ve lost 10 pounds and I’m eating so much healthier now. Yay!

There have been a few projects completed around here so I’ll post those to catch up. We are just starting our master bedroom reno and one thing I wanted to do was fancy up some plain old white sheets. I LOVE vintage sheet sets with lace or any type of embroidery so here’s what I did.

Simply purchased some trim and sewed it onto the top sheet and pillowcases. Really makes a huge difference!


Super quick and easy!


Here’s a close up.


I’ve also taken up a new hobby-crochet! I’m loving it. Years ago I took a stab at knitting and just couldn’t get it right. I find this a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours in the evenings. I’ve also purchased some embroidery floss and plan to embellish more bedding with embroidery. I used to do needlepoint and cross stitch a long time ago so we’ll see how that goes.

There are other projects we’ve wrapped up recently and so much more to come so check back as I’m feeling better and ready to go!

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DIY Upcycled Bathroom Storage

This quick upcycle is a fantastic example of what you can do with a little bit of creativity and a couple of old pieces. I am so excited to share this with you as this project was completed by my DB (darling brother!) Talk about keeping it in the family…

DB needed some more storage in the bathroom and had one of those over the toilet storage shelves. I don’t have a before picture but it was similar to this one. The one he had was worn and old.


These do work well in small spaces but space wasn’t really an issue anymore so he wanted to build something a little nicer with just a little more space for toiletries. Using an old night table, he joined the two pieces together with some screws.


The entire new piece got a fresh coat of white paint. Here is the result.


It looks fantastic and provides a nice new storage solution. Thanks little bro for the inspiration and allowing me to share your fantastic idea!

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Oak Staircase Makeover

Here’s a peak at what I’m currently working on. My lovely (blah!) oak staircase. This is the original stain. I’ve been working furiously to give it a facelift. UPDATE: see how it all turned out in this updated post here.

stairs before.jpg

Here’s another view.


After some sanding to rough up the surface and taping in prep for new stain.


In progress-stained and white paint started on risers.


I’m not done yet. This is turning into about a 2 week job. I’ve so far gotten all the white risers done and a couple of coats on the spindles. Still have a few more coats to go but so far, I think it’s really brightened up what was a dark staircase. My foyer is quite large and the stairs are one of the first things you see when you walk through the front door. I wanted them to be the focal point. Let me know what you think. I’ll post the final reveal if I ever get this all done!



Celebrating 25 Years…

Of marriage! Mr. Restyle and I tied the know back in August 1991. 25 years and 3 kids later we decided to take a break from all of our renovation and home improvement projects and get a way for a while.

The original plan was to visit a place like Israel or Ireland or Alaska and then reality set in. ūüė¶ These destinations were WAY too expensive and after all these years it didn’t seem all that important to whoop it up. We survived many trials and rough patches as have many couples who’ve been together a long time, I’m sure.

Plan B was a drive out to the Canadian east coast (we live in southern Ontario). We had arranged to take off this week actually but with out daughter still away in Vancouver and our oldest son going back to university (he lives away from home) we just couldn’t leave our youngest home alone.

On to Plan C! Although a beach vacation is not at all what we really wanted to do originally, it somehow turned out to be EXACTLY what we both needed. Sharing a few pics of our 2 weeks down in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. All of the outfits you see in the pics are put together from thrifted items (on both of us) with the exception of the white dress, which I’ve had for a few years.

I hope your summer is winding down nicely. To all those who’ve been in a relationship for as long as we have (or close to it), I congratulate you. These really could be the best years, I think. BTW, I haven’t posted a picture of myself on here in quite a while. I dyed my hair red last fall and haven’t tired of it yet.

Mr. is off on a business trip this week but I’m back at it. I’m prepping the staircase for stain and paint while he’s gone and trying to catch up reading blogs that I follow.


In front of our building. Sandals are Clark’s Artisan and they are SO comfy!


Special dinner the hotel arranged for us for our anniversary.


Peacocks, pheasants, ducks and other animals roam freely. The resort is on a nature reserve. Me wearing a wild animal print halter dress. I’m a little more daring in my outfits when I’m on vacation. Nobody knows me!


The beach is absolute perfection!


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