Social Saturday | June 10

pink tulip bouquet against a white wall

Happy Saturday, dear Readers. I haven’t done a Social Saturday post for ages, so these photos are from the past couple of months. Lately I’ve been…

Loving– Flowers, flowers and more flowers! First tulips, then lilacs, irises, roses and soon peonies…it’s such a pretty time of year.

pink and red sculptural tulips in a white vase in front of a white wall

Reading – I just finished David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and enjoyed it immensely. I listened to this version here. My favourite quote from the book is this one, which is such a great example of Dickens’ wonderfully wordy descriptions that I had to share.

“The pigeon-pie was not bad, but it was a delusive pie: the crust being like a disappointing head, phrenologically speaking: full of lumps and bumps, with nothing particular underneath.”

Making– While I’ve been listening to David Copperfield, I’ve been busy sewing up a storm. Some projects have turned out well, others not so well. It’s all learning experience. And soon I’ll have a few new pieces for my summer capsule wardrobe.

fabric for sewing projects and a snake plant bloom

ps- my mom’s snake plant bloomed! Apparently, it’s pretty rare for them to do so. 

Watching– I was reminded of the Peter Rabbit show we watched when I was a kid and so I searched out a clip of the introduction song. I love absolutely everything about it so much- this is my childhood in one short clip.

thrifting and tea parties

Finding– Thrifted treasures! My sister and I went to a bunch of garage sales and thrift shops and found so many goodies, including a Beatrix Potter calendar from 1979 (This one was a gift from my sister. I could actually use the calendar next year since it will fall on the correct days!), some vintage books, bamboo purse handles, a Jadeite mug, some blue and white transferware dishes, wooden rulers (I can’t pass up a good wooden ruler!), and (not pictured) some wooden crates.

Thankful For– Tea parties! This picture is from one earlier this spring. It’s nice to have an occasion to pull out all the teacups and linens.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ve been up to my ears lately in renovations, so I’ll probably be working away at that this weekend. I hope you are doing well and that you have a wonderful day, whatever you have planned.  ❤︎

woodland tulips and daffodil blooms

Easy DIY Recovered Hatbox with Fabric or Wallpaper

stack of hatboxes with a straw hat sitting on top of them

When you collect hats, you soon discover you also need a way to store them. Back in the day, this used to be easy since most hats came in a hatbox. However, most of my hats, either vintage or new, have not come in a conveniently sized box. I used to display them by hanging them on the wall or placing them on hat stands, (I rotate my wardrobe for fall/winter and spring/summer, and only put out the current season) but they always got so dusty. I now only keep out a couple of my really wide brimmed hats that are too large to fit in boxes and keep all the rest in labelled boxes. (I use hanging chalkboard tags so I know at a glance what is inside)

About 10 years ago, round boxes were a very popular trend for storage boxes, and you could find them readily at stores such as Michaels and Home Sense, but at some point people realized that round boxes don’t make the best storage boxes for things other than hats! It’s too bad that I didn’t stock up at the time, because it’s almost impossible to find round boxes now.

black and white printed hatbox before re covering

Anyways, to get to the point of this post, every once in a while I do still come across a hatbox at the thrift store. They are usually in very ugly colours, or have seen better days. However, it is very easy to re-cover a box with either wallpaper or fabric, so that’s what I did to transform this one!

Supplies You Will Need

a hatbox with a lid

fabric or wallpaper of your choice

Mod Podge or other decoupage medium

tacky glue to secure edges, optional

masking tape

knife and scissors

ruler and measuring tape

foam brush to spread the glue/decoupage medium

lace or ribbon for the lid, optional

supplies needed for recovering the hatbox sitting on top of the desk

I used an unbleached canvas for the outside of my hatbox, and some Art Nouveau wallpaper I had leftover from this antique dresser refinishing project. I chose the canvas because it is neutral and doesn’t clash with the other boxes I’ve done with vintage map printed wallpaper. The thickness of this fabric did lead to a few challenges, but I still like how it turned out.

First, the key to covering a box, is that you need to take into account the thickness of the fabric or wallpaper, which will add bulk. Depending on how tightly the lid fits onto the box already, 2 layers of fabric may add too much width for the lid to fit on afterwards. If you need to make your box a little bit smaller to fit the lid, then remove the wall of the box from the bottom by sliding a blade between them. Cut a vertical line along the seam.

cutting the box open to make it smaller

Next, cut a piece out of the side/ring of the box, to make the box circumference smaller. I took out 3/8″ for this box. My canvas fabric was pretty thick, so if you have a thinner fabric or paper, you will probably not need to remove quite that much. Take out a small sliver, and then figure out how much you need to remove by wrapping the top edge with the fabric and testing it. Once you’ve made the side wall smaller, tape it back together with masking tape.

making the box smaller

Then, trace the new circle onto the bottom piece and trim away the excess so the bottom will fit back inside the smaller box walls.

cutting off the excess cardboard and placing the bottom back into the hatbox

Before you tape the box back together, take a moment to trace the circle onto your fabric and lining pieces. It’s much easier to use the deconstructed ring to trace your lining pieces first, rather than after you’ve reassembled it into a box. (I know this because I didn’t remember to do it this time!)

Trace one inside circle for the bottom lining of your box.

Trace one inside circle for the bottom fabric of your box.

Trace one outside circle onto the lining for the lid.

sanding the outside of the hatbox and then reassembling it

Tape the bottom of the box back to the ring by wrapping tape around the outside, notching it and folding down the tabs. Don’t worry about taping the inside of the box, because the fabric/wallpaper will reinforce that seam.

One more step, if your box is plastic coated, is to sand it lightly so the glue will adhere better. Also, if your box has a bold pattern, like this one did, you may want to check to see if it will show through your fabric. If it does, then cover the box with a coat of white paint before you move on to the next step.

covering the outside of the box

Cut a piece of fabric the length of the circumference of the box plus 1″ and the height of the box plus 1″Using Mod Podge, glue the fabric to the outside of the box, folding under the raw fabric edge where it meets. If the Mod Podge won’t hold it in place, you can use glue to secure the edge.

notching and glueing edges

Cut triangle shaped notches into the fabric all the way around and fold the tabs down gluing them to the bottom of the hatbox.

covering bottom of box with wallpaper

Take your bottom fabric piece, or you can do as I did and use a piece of neutral coloured wallpaper, and glue to the bottom of the box to cover the tabs/raw edges. Smooth the bottom, and weight it to hold in place so it won’t curl as it dries.

covering top edge of the box

Turn the box back upright, and simply fold the fabric to the inside and glue in place. Use clothespins if you need to hold it in place until it dries.

lining the inside of the hatbox

Measure a piece of your lining the exact length of the circumference and height of the box wall. Now take your piece and mark a line 1/2″ from the edge. Cut notches up the line. Fold the notches along that line. Coat the inside of the box with Mod Podge and then place the lining on the inside of the box walls. Once you’ve pressed and smoothed the lining and notches into place, you can place your bottom lining circle over top to finish the box.

Now the lid can be done it two ways. I used a thick canvas fabric, so I had to cover the top of my lid with this method, below. If you’re using wallpaper or thin fabric, cover the lid using the same method as for the box- covering the sides first and then using the lining and top circle to cover the notches and raw edges.

If you’re using a thicker fabric like me, then continue with this method.

covering top of the lid

Trace your lid onto the fabric, and then add 1/2″ all the way around. Attach your fabric piece to the top of the lid and then notch and fold down the 1/2″ along the rim of the lid.

Cut a piece of the fabric the length of the circumference of the lid + 1″ and the height of your lid plus 1″. Glue this piece around the outside of the lid to cover the notches. I cut my top edge very precisely since it was going to be exposed and not folded under. If you have a piece of ribbon the width of your lid, this would be a nice alternative, but I didn’t have a coordinating ribbon.

outside edge and lining of lid

Now trace your lid onto your lining and add 1/2″ all the way around. Notch the edge of the circle in the same way you did the fabric for the top. Glue in place on the inside of the lid and then fold your fabric to the inside covering the notches with the fabric.

inside of lid

Mine ended up a bit messy where the two meet since I left it with the raw edge, because I didn’t want to add any more bulk. If you have a thinner fabric you will be able to cover those raw edges much more neatly, or you could even cover them with a ribbon.

adding lace to outside of the hatbox lid

My fabric also ended a bit lumpy on the outside, since the notches showed through, I glued a piece of lace over the top to disguise it. I really like how it looks so I might even add lace or ribbon around the lid as a detail in the future, even if I don’t need it for disguising purposes!

hatbox finished with the lace around the lid

And then with that, your hatbox is done. Once you let it dry for 24 hours or so, you can start using it.

How do you store your hats? Do you like to have them out on display or tucked into a hatbox? 

finished fabric covered hatbox sitting on an antique dresser

finished fabric covered hatbox sitting on an antique dresser. The lid is off and you can see a hat inside.

Now That It’s Spring | Capsule Wardrobe Part 2

wearing a houndstooth patterned brown winter skirt paired with a black sweater, black mary jane shoes, a floral preserved necklace standing outside in front of a pine tree

So now that it’s spring… here’s an outfit from my winter capsule wardrobe! I’ve been meaning to get a photo of this skirt ever since I sewed it last fall, but here we are already in April. I figured I had better post this outfit before Easter at least!

I sewed this skirt along with this plaid one, last fall to create a “capsule wardrobe” of sorts. I absolutely loved my wardrobe this past season, and I’m kind of sad to have to start packing winter items away, switching them for spring and summer items. Although, I am happy to have warmer days ahead!

wearing a black 3/4 length sleeve sweater and a brown houndstooth patterned circle skirt

houndstooth skirt detail

I bought a bunch of this brown and black houndstooth fabric more than ten years ago with the intention of making a 1950’s suit. I didn’t feel confident at the time to sew a suit jacket though, and as it turns out, it was just as well that I didn’t go to the time and effort to do that. While I absolutely love the pattern and colour of this fabric, I would never buy it today. It’s synthetic, with an elastane woven through it, which made it terrible to sew without puckering (imagine trying to sew a collar!) and sadly, even though I only wore it for one season, it’s already pilling. I’m going to see if I can rescue this skirt with a shaver, because it’s been a great piece for my wardrobe since it coordinates so well with other pieces in my closet. It’s got a bit of a greenish undertone to it, which doesn’t come through in the photos at all, so it doesn’t work with most of my other browns, but I love how it looks with black, and it also pairs nicely with the antique brass of this necklace.

tanjay sweater with french knot detail and a pressed flower necklace

This sweater was a recent thrift store fine (one of those rare occasions when you find a whole bunch of beautiful pieces to bring home!) and I’ve already worn it a few times because it’s so lovely. It’s by the brand Tanjay, which I always think of as a “mature” brand, but the best thing about buying pieces from those sorts of brands is that they tend to be good quality, and not “fast fashion”. This one has a beautiful french knot detail across the front…this would be a lovely way to spruce up a plain sweater, wouldn’t it?

Well, that’s pretty much all I have to share for this outfit. I’ve been wearing a lot of these simpler, pared back outfits..not even adding in a hat. As much as I love accessories, it’s been a nice change.

We’ve still got lots of snow cover, as you can see, so I’ll be wearing these cool weather clothes for a while yet, but I’ve already started on some new summer sewing projects in anticipation of warmer days!

ps. if you notice that in all of the photos I am looking at the ground or squinting, that’s because it was so incredibly bright out! 

wearing a black and brown houndstooth circle skirt and black sweater with a pressed flower necklace and mary jane shoes standing outside in front of a pine tree

black and brown houndstooth sweater paired with mary jane shoes

Tulip Still Life

Yellow tulips in a square glass vase in front of a dark brown background

Tulips are my favourite cut flowers, and as soon as I see them in the supermarket, I bring home a bouquet. I love the fluidity of tulips- these grew at least an inch since I placed them in the vase, and this time they stayed upright (that doesn’t always happen!)

yellow tulips close up details against a brown background

I usually take photos of flowers on a white background, but decided this time to play around with a dark one. A brown throw blanket made a perfect draped background for the bright yellow colour of the petals, and the resulting photos remind me of the Dutch Golden Age still life paintings. The perfect subject for an oil painting!

yellow tulip bouquet still life against a brown background

yellow tulip petal details

tulip bloom petal details against a dark background

Social Saturday | February 18

diy book stand made out of three pieces of wood and then painted white

Welcome weekend (and long weekend to my fellow Albertans)!

Lately I’ve been…

Reading this cookbook, Traditional Meals for the Frugal Family by Shannon Stonger. I tried a few of the recipes (her beet and sweet potato soup is amazing!) when I got it from the library, and then liked it so much that I bought it. All of the recipes are gluten free, and can be made to accomodate other dietary restrictions as well.

cookbook and a cup of tea and an envelope sealed with a wax seal

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of books, Jenni Haikonen, one of my favourite artists, recently compiled this lovely list of her favourite botanical books.  

One other book related thing you may find interesting is this site Anne Manuscript. They scanned every page of the original Anne Of Green Gables manuscript in L.L.Montgomery’s handwriting, and it’s so interesting to peruse.

Loving lighting a candle in the evenings when I read. It adds such a nice atmosphere. I never used to remember to light my candles, but then I put my matches right beside the candle, so now it’s so easy to light it…who knew that something that simple would remind me to use it so much more often!

I also tried out my new wax seal kit. The wick in the wax didn’t want to light, but I managed to melt enough to make a couple of seals, and the stamp is so pretty! It really makes the mail so much more elegant.

beeswax pillar candle lit and sitting in front of a mirror so the flame is reflected

Making a few little projects here and there. Firstly, the bookstand (in the first picture) for my bedside table. It perfectly holds my few “current” reads for easy access, and is so much tidier than the haphazard stack I inevitably end up knocking askew.

I also created these little 4×4 scripture memory cards to put out on my shelf. I stop often throughout the day to read the current verse and I hope to be able to memorize them all!

scripture memory cards with floral watercolours, leaning in a little easel sitting on a shelf

Watching YouTube, as always. I pretty much don’t watch movies anymore, but one of my favourite YouTube channels, Crows Eye Productions, released this great fashion history video featuring a scene from Pride and Prejudice which I really enjoyed! They plan to make more!

Eating these tasty Protein Truffles by Joyous Health (I decreased the cinnamon to 1 tsp.) I’ve been enjoying them in the afternoon, paired with a delicious cup of Genuine Tea’s Cream of Earl Grey.

Thankful For the Family Day long weekend. I have no plans, but it’s kind of nice to not have plans and just go wherever my projects take me!

I hope you have a lovely weekend, dear Reader!

calligraphy practice sheets

ps. here’s my latest calligraphy practice sheet- don’t look too closely at the ovals!