Alina Sewing and Design

The Big Screen

When I lived with my mom in high school, I had the coolest room. We were renting an older home (with LOTS of character…sigh!) and my room was at the end of the house, spanning almost one whole side (think long and skinny). Our super-sweet landlord let me paint my room a robin’s egg blue (similar to the swatch below), which is still one of my favorite colors to see a room in even today. Even then, I was thrifting and DIY-ing. I DIY-ed a desk out of a piece of wood and two sets of drawers (the plastic kind from Wal-Mart…klassy, I know). By the time we were moving out, I had achieved a cool, beachy, fun room that I was sad to leave behind. I tried to find a picture, but no such luck!
One day back then, I was antique shopping with a friend and I saw this antique screen. It was a really gross puke green color, so I gave it a fresh coat of white. It looked AWESOME against my robin-egg blue walls. Fast forward to my white box of an apartment in Kansas City and it completely disappeared against the walls. (Sorry for the primitive pictures…these were taken two years ago.) 🙂


So I gave it a coat of primer and several coats of black (at the same time I was doing this project…which is why the chair is white below).


Here is a more recent picture (of the side of it!) since both my apartment and the things in it have changed a lot over the last two years.

Have you guys ever painted the same item multiple times to get it to work in different spaces?

Fiddy-Cent Lamp

In true ode to fiddy…I bought a lamp.

Just messing around, of course.

What I mean is…I was out garage-saling with Krissy (one of my besties, if you’re new to MYU!)  at the end of July and I stumbled upon this lamp:

It was marked for one dolla. (Don’t judge. A girl’s gotta support her post title.) I was fully prepared to offer the full dollar (despite the girl’s short stature, this was one heavy [read: nice] iron lamp!) until I said that to Krissy and got a dropped-jaw-chew-out. So…I offered 50 cents and the lady took it. She said, “we’ll take it…because we’re easy today!” Thanks…more than I needed to know, but I appreciate the lamp you paid a lot of money for!

While I completely loved the bronze finish, it felt a little too traditional for my place. So, when deciding what color I should paint it, I turned to Pinterest (*gasp*) and I saw this pin (I had pinned it earlier that day, in fact!). MORE inspiration from Five Days…5 Ways. (If you don’t remember, her tufted ottoman was what set me ablaze to make mine last week.) I’ve been reading Abbie’s blog and I.love.it. I’m stopping just short of proposing a marriage between My Yellow Umbrella and Five Days…5 Ways. Just kidding.

Kind of.

Seriously…go read her blog. Right now Just as soon as you finish reading this post!

Anyway, I went to my box full of spare spray paint and realized I had not one, but two cans of red. Perfect! First, I primed it…

Please note that the cord is covered in a plastic bag and painter’s tape. I also covered the hardware where the bulb screws in with tape (not pictured) so as not to muck these areas up with paint!

 And then this gal got three solid coats of a fire engine red! MUCH more inspiring. And look at how the brighter color brought out the details in the iron! For the shade, I went to Target and bought the cheapest (and smallest) one they had. To dress it up a bit, I hot-glued some red and white grosgrain ribbon around the edges. I had the ribbon left over from this project, so it was free and the perfect extra detail!

 You may also note the block it’s standing on. These were spacing blocks I pulled off of some cheap-y pallets (found on Craiglist). The other wood from the pallets ended up being too cheap-looking to use, but when I saw these printed areas, I jumped up and down like a kid on a pogo stick and begged asked Cowboy politely to remove them from the rest of the pallets. He is TOO kind. (Really…it DID take him awhile to disassemble the pallets for these little pieces!) I stained them with some leftover stain and wah-la! Free wooden typographic blocks.

Lamp: $0.50
Shade: $7.99
Ribbon: free (on hand)
Total cost: $8.49 (so I guess this post should be called “The Eight-Dolla Fiddy-Cent Lamp”?!)

Now go see Abbie and give her blog some love!

Have a great weekend, umbrellas! See you Monday!

Upcycled Frames

When I was at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago (when I scored Edmund, the awesomely cheap antique office chair I showed you on Monday), I also picked up a couple of frames. They were just inexpensive oak frames, but both had an appliqué. I imagined them white and roughed up a little bit, so, at 99 cents a pop, I decided to take them home. For some reason, I only have a before picture of one of them (got a little spray paint happy, I suppose). 😉

 I gave both a coat of primer…

 Then a few coats of white. From there, I took some 220-grit sandpaper and roughed up the appliqués and outside edges.

And I love how they turned out!

Total cost, $2. I took them to work to put on my desk and multiple people have walked by and complimented them. Just goes to show you that having a little imagination while standing in the middle of a [gross] thrift store (sometimes holding a gross item!) pays off!

A Love-at-First-Sight Story, Part 2

Goodwill has done it again.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll remember my experience finding Victoria the chair. If not, it basically went like this: girl walks into Goodwill on the search for something, girl get distracted when she sees something possibly magnificent in the corner of her eye, girls runs over to said possible magnificence, girl confirms magnificence, girl immediately runs to register with magnificence. 
And it happened again. I don’t know how I got so lucky because this handsome guy (we’ll call him Edmund) had been there for three whole days. Three! whole! days! Oh my lucky stars. And he was marked for $25. Allow me to preface this by saying that that is, and probably always will be, the most I will ever be willing to pay for Goodwill furniture. [You understand.] But let me explain; I spun the chair around, looked it up and down, examined every square inch, tried it out (sitting + spinning + rolling) and tried to understand why someone would drop this beautiful chair off at Goodwill. There had to be something wrong with it…right?? Wrong. Absolutely nothing wrong with him. So I power-walked quickly walked up to the front and asked a cashier to put it on hold for me up front while I continued looking for mason jars (what I went there for in the first place). When I went to pay, he said, “wow, that must be some special chair to be marked that high…” (which, let’s be honest, immediately made me regret I didn’t try to bargain the price a little). But I knew I’d found a treasure, so I was OK with paying the “full” price. 

I noticed this metal tag on the back of the chair while giving it my examination in the store. When I got home, I started searching for “manhattan desk company of new york” but haven’t been able to find anything. (Does anyone know anything about this company?)

However, I also started searching for the prices of similar chairs.

Target: $130 (new)
Home Decorators: $199 (new)
Bed, Bath & Beyond: $150 (new)

I even found this one on Ebay for $1,900!! (true antique)

Yeah, $25. Thanks, Goodwill. And thanks to whomever decided it was easier to donate it rather than sell it. I so appreciate it!

On a side note, in a recent effort to introduce more color into my life, I picked these babies up at Off Broadway Shoes on clearance for $15. Happy MONDAY to me! (and you!)

P.P.S. My Yellow Umbrella blew right past 100 followers this weekend! THANK YOU for your support–I am humbled and so appreciative!

Faux Milk Glass Tutorial

Milk glass is what I like to call a generation-skipper. What I mean is…your grandma owned and loved it, your mom hated it because it looked “outdated” and we love it because it is “vintage.” See what I mean?
I personally love hobnail (like this) and milk glass (like this). But am I going to pay $45+ for a hobnail or milk glass cake stand? No way, José!


I’ve been stalking my local thrift stores for serving pieces and mason jars for the wedding (wedding inspiration board coming soon!). When I saw the following two pieces, I got an idea (does anyone else have their greatest ideas standing in the middle of the Goodwill aisle between a disgruntled employee and a customer having a conversation with himself?!).
First, I saw this pressed-glass platter.
See how the top is smooth, but the bottom has a design pressed into it?

Then, I looked at the next shelf over and saw this…vase? I’m not sure what it is, but the square design on the outside matched the edges of the platter perfectly!



So I happily gave the Goodwill $4 for both pieces, took them home and got out my trusty white spray paint, paper towels and painter’s tape.

I wanted to leave the exposed (top of platter & outside of vase) glass unpainted, so I covered them with paper towels and taped the edges for a clean line.

See how I’ve left the underside of the platter exposed?

I did the same with the vase. I wanted to paint the inside, so I covered the outside. I wasn’t concerned about this part having a clean line since it would be on the bottom (and unseen unless you flipped the cake stand over).

And this is what is looked like when I was done!

Bottom of the platter

Top of the platter

I let the paint cure for almost 72 hours before gluing the pieces together. I originally planned to use super glue to bond the two pieces (like I did here), but once the pieces were painted, I realized I’d be gluing glass to paint. I didn’t want the super glue to eat away at the paint, so I opted for my trusty hot glue gun! It won’t be super durable, but if you’re careful with it, you should be good to go!

Total cost:
Crystal vase: $1.99
Pressed-glass platter: $1.99
White spray paint, tape, paper towels: already owned
Total cost: $3.98

Good Mojo at Good Juju

Yesterday I alluded to some places of awesomeness that I visited this weekend. Behold, Good Juju.
A few weeks back, a co-worker IMed me at work and said, “Have you been to Good Juju?”
uhh…excuuuuw me whaa?!
“Good what??,” I responded.
“Good Juju!” She proclaimed it as the coolest antique shop in the KC area (located in the West Bottoms) and fell to shock when I had no idea what she was talking about…considering who I am and what I like.
Let me tell you…I, too, was shocked when my friend Krissy and I walked in, saw the glory and realized I’d ever heard of it.
They are only open the First Friday weekend of every month–and for good reason. I saw antiques I’d never heard of…like gossip benches. However, what the dealers of Good Juju spend their month doing is hunting these things down and then completely refurbishing them. We’re talking sun-yellow dressers, turquoise tables, hot pink mirrors, silver hutches. Seriously awesome stuff, already given some love and turned into pieces with so much personality they could be your friend. If I learned one lesson, it’s that I’m not bold enough in my furniture choices. I LOVE this stuff, but every piece of furniture I own is a neutral color…which is FINE…but it’s not as fun as it could be! I SO wish I would have snapped some pictures inside, but I was having way too much fun to even consider that.

It got even better when we stepped outside and saw this:

…where Krissy bought us iced lattes–what a nice treat!

One of her friends had told her to keep walking down the street from Good Juju, so we did. SO glad we did…we stumbled across Bella Patina…a more accessory-focused version of Good Juju.







I’ve been reading tutorials on how to make these twine lanterns and have decided I will make some for a special event coming at the end of the year…*hint, hint, wink, wink!*

This was the first one I’d seen in person, so I snapped a lantern-swaying-in-the-air-conditioner-breeze picture. (Well, I tried…)


Most importantly, this is where I found the vintage scale I showed you yesterday…for $7, I might remind.

Good Juju and Bella Patina will be open again July–mark your calendars!

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