Summer Boredom Buster – Water Painting

3 Aug

I got this great idea from my friend Megan at Bluebird Arts in Denver – it’s so very simple but it has provided HOURS of fun for my girls! Plus there are a few variations you can do too! You can do this very simply with a container of water and paint brushes, or you can add some fun with sponges cut into shapes like I did below:

First get yourself a package of sponges (they are about $1), a sharp scissors and a sharpie. Cut out simple shapes from the sponges. Draw on the sponges with your Sharpie for the more intricate shapes (however as you can see below, that doesn’t guarantee that your flower will end up LOOKING like a flower!)

Throw those into your container of water and GO TO IT!

We also add some regular old paint brushes (which you can easily do by themselves without the sponges)

I have a slight addiction to making “bricks” with my rectangle sponges.

My girls also like to dunk their sidewalk chalk into the water and make all kinds of colorful messes. It is actually great for learning colors and color mixing too! There are also all sorts of recipes out there for Sidewalk Chalk Paint which I’m sure is also a blast!



Hip Violet Birthday Giveaway #2 {Tuesday}

24 Jul
Today’s Birthday Giveaway is a brand new product to Hip Violet – a play tail! This zebra tail clips onto your little one’s backside with a mitten clip and can provide hours of pretend fun! I have THREE of these to give away! To enter, post a comment with your favorite animal! Winner will be drawn at random at 9pm MST on 7/24/12!

Hip Violet Birthday Giveaway #1 {CLOSED}

23 Jul

{CLOSED} Congratulations to Amanda Olson-Laurette for winning! Stay tuned tomorrow for another giveaway!

Happy Birthday Week to Hip Violet! I’m celebrating by doing a bunch of giveaways!

First up is this Eco-Friendly Baby Bib – it features an organic cotton front and eco-fleece on the back. Like all of my bibs, it is oversize to actually cover your little one’s clothes, and features 2 sizes of toddler-proof snaps for closure. This bib is a second, it has a tiny rip above the whale’s tail. It may fray a bit after washing, but it will still work great!

To enter, please post a comment with what your favorite smell is (mine? Horses!). I’ll draw a winner by random tonight, July 23rd, 2012. More giveaways to come! Check back soon!

No Squeeze Juice Box

22 Jun

Special thanks to my super-smart sister Leah for showing me this trick!



EtsyBABY Feature!

6 May

Check out my blog interview at the EtsyBABY blog!

Jesi at Hip Violet

Also special thanks to everyone who came out to shop at the Horseshoe Craft & Flea Market yesterday! What a great day and SO fun to see so many of my favorite customers again!




Front Hall Closet into Mini Mudroom

3 May

A few months ago I saw a picture on Pinterest that showed how someone turned their closet into a mini mudroom and I admit – I kind of fell in love. We always use our front door because my Dear Husband (DH) takes over the entire garage. And because of this, we always had PILES of stuff at our front door. Shoes and coats and bags and purses. It was not pretty. One night I casually mentioned the idea and lucky for me, my carpenter and general handy-man husband was 100% on board!

Here is the “Before” picture. Regular old front hall closet. Ugly and boring tile.

Ack! So much stuff crammed in that I could never find what I needed. Plus, it was dark. A good place to stow random stuff when company comes over, but other than that…

I forgot to take a good picture of it in full demolition mode, but DH took off the door then knocked out the side walls. He also took out all the flooring. There are about 83,928 coats of drywall mud on the sides, but it turned out really good and you can’t really tell 🙂 Then he made the built-ins and installed them.

First coat of primer! You can also see the new tile peeking through. We chose a kind of fun tiny tile that is really supposed to be for backsplashes, but we figured for a such a small area we could make it work. Plus we liked the blue/grey colors.

DONE! I just LOVE it too! From the top he made me a nice little shelf for some of my favorite “crap” that I like to have around. Then we have room for 4 bins that have hats, mittens, and other stuff. Under that are the 6 hooks (4 on the back, 1 on each side further down where the girls can reach). Then a bench seat and last two big baskets of shoes. Eventually this MIGHT be 2 drawers instead, but we’re kind of liking the baskets!

My friend Gretchen from Gretchen Moore Photography was nice enough to come over and shoot some lovely pictures of the new mudroom!

To make the bench seat, I measured the area and bought a 2″ wide piece of foam from the fabric store (it’s expensive – but luckily it is on sale for 50% off pretty often and I waited until it was!). I had grand plans to sew up a removable cover for it, but it ended up a weird size (ah, old houses. The bench seat is not at ALL square) and I knew I would throw my beloved sewing machine out the window if I really tried it. Instead… HOT GLUE GUN TO THE RESCUE! Yep. I just hot glued that sucker to the cushion and all is well.

I even made a pretty fabric flower out of the same fabric and (big surprise) hot glued it to a plain blue pillow. By the way I TOTALLY lucked out – I had had my eye on these pillows at Target for a while, and when they finally hit 70% off I snapped them up! They were only about $20 total and I love the different shades of blue!

A nifty pink retro radio and a Ball jar of wooden spools of thread. Then a few of my bins of hats and mittens.

We’ve had this new space for a few months now and I am SO happy we did it! I wish we would have done it sooner! No more clutter and everything has a place. The girls are getting really good at putting their shoes back in the basket so we can always find them too. Hopefully you all have Handy Husband’s too and can build your own!

My Year of Thrifting

22 Apr

I did it! I made it a whole year with only buying second-hand clothes!

I always love thrifting anyway, and have picked up clothes here and there, but I wondered if I could really survive a whole year without ONCE looking at the clearance racks at Target (my usual place to buy clothes – I’m there anyway!).

First, some statistics: “The volume of discarded clothing in the U.S. reached 8 million tons in 2005 and has continued to increase since then.  A U.S. EPA study estimated 85% of discarded clothing is discarded, accounting for more than 4% of municipal solid waste volume. The volume of U.S. clothing consumption has quintupled since 1980.”

And: “According to the EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year and clothing and other textiles represent about 6.3% of the municipal solid waste (in major cities like New York and Chicago alone, textiles make up a whopping 10% of all municipal waste).”

Yikes. I’m just as guilty as everyone else, I have a closet full of clothes that I barely wear all of, and although we always donate clothes we don’t want anymore, I still feel like I could do more. Plus I LOVE finding treasures of any kind at the thrift shop, would clothes be much different?

Red Shirt (I usually never buy red!) $5

First I set some ground rules. I would not be purchasing my “unmentionables” at the thrift shop. And although I have found one pair of shoes (see below), I have also bought another pair new. I also have yet to shop for jeans, although it can be done.

Overall this Year O’ Thrifting has gone really really well. I saved TONS of money. I learned to practice self control (okay, I’ll admit right now that I did break my rule ONE TIME and bought a new shirt at Target but it was on clearance for $3 and it was exactly what I was looking for, but that’s IT!), and now it’s no problem at all for me to skip by the shops I used to love.

Not only did I find some really cheap, recycled clothes, but they were SO different from what I usually buy! Since generally I was left with whatever was at Target or the occasional trip to Old Navy (yeah, I’m a super fashionista, let me tell you!), this really helped me see more of what the world of clothing had to offer. I bought brands I’d never heard of, and some that I had but never could have afforded at regular price.

I did learn a lot about thrift-store shopping for clothes along the way. Here are some tips if you want to try it yourself!

1) You Need Time: At thrift-stores, clothes are usually arranged by type and then within that by size and sometimes even  (oh, the rainbow!) by color. If you are in the market for something sort of specific, like you need some new tank tops for the summer, you have to look through the WHOLE.ENTIRE.RACK of tank tops. Why? Because not only do things very often get put in the wrong place, but also because sizes are arbitrary, especially when thrifting. Which brings me to my next tip:

Skirt - found in kids section. $3

2) Ignore the Size on the Label: Sure, it will give you some idea of what to expect in the size department, but as you probably already know, sizes can vary GREATLY by brand and style. I usually wear a medium, but I have thrifted clothes from size XS to XL that fit just great. Eyeball it. Then…

One of my all-time favorite shirts. Size XL. $4

3) You Must Try Things On: I know this part can be a little gross. Not only are you trying on clothing that has been warn by another human being and possibly not washed since, but I will be the first to admit that the dressing rooms at thrift stores are GROSS. But I take a deep cleansing breath and jump right in. I have WAY too often bought things without trying them on only to get home and say out loud to my mirror “Did anyone actually TEST THIS OUT before they MANUFACTURED IT?” or “I now know EXACTLY WHY THIS ENDED UP HERE!”. A lot of thrift stores don’t take returns or can be a little grouchy about it, so do yourself a favor and take the plunge. I have found things that I didn’t think were going to fit – like TOTALLY the wrong size OR things that were obviously handmade without a tag to begin with – and they DID fit! And I LOVE them!

Handmade - no size. It was previously a dress, I shortened it to a longer shirt. $8

4) Examine All Items for Flaws: I can’t tell you how many times I have found the perfect shirt, tried it on, LOVED IT, and brought it home only to discover there was something VERY wrong with it. And now it’s going to (sniff, sniff) either end up in the landfill anyway, or get thrown into my never-ending pile of clothes that I’m going to do something fun with, someday, I promise! Check the backs and fronts, tops and bottoms for things like the Stain of Unknown Origin (a lot of these do come out, but why risk it?), holes, zippers that don’t work, buttons that are missing, hems that are falling apart, etc. And also learn what is a deal-breaker and what isn’t. If a shirt is awesome but a little pilly, do you care? If you bought it new, it would get pilly anyway after a while.

Old Navy Shirt - a little bit pilly but I don't care! $3

5) Shop Wisely and Be Thrifty: If you’re trying out thrift-store shopping for the sake of saving tons of money, make sure you take note of shop sales and markdowns. Most thrift-stores have color coded tags for each week, and every week they put one or two of the “old” colors on sale. Personally I like to spend as little as possible, which means I rarely pay more than $4 for each item, and will sometimes go up to $8 if it’s perfect. But keep your eye on the tag color because a lot of items are actually cheaper than they are marked. Yay!

Happy Springtime Tulip Shirt. Half off - $2

Another part of being a Wise Thrifter is to know some brand names. Higher-end brands are usually really well made and seem to last forever (and fit better) so if I spot their tag I’ll at least take a second look. They also MIGHT be worth spending a few extra bucks to get because they’ll last a long time (and, of course, for Thrifter Bragging Rights to tell someone just how LITTLE you spent on that).

Ann Taylor Skirt - $4

6) Shop Around: I have about 6-8 thrift shops that I stop by on a regular basis. You’ll find that some are better than others. Some mark their stuff up pretty high hoping it will sell, so you really have to buy stuff when the tag color is on sale or it’s never a good deal. Some of them seem to pay attention to the brand name and those are more expensive, some don’t seem to care at all. Sometimes you find a store that you are SURE the Thrift Store Gods have sent you too because apparently someone in your EXACT SIZE with your EXACT TASTE just dropped off the Mother Lode just for you. Go back there. They might clean out their closet again. If you don’t find much the first time, always stop back because you just never know what you’ll find at the thrift shop!

Cute ankle-high black boots. $5

7) Practice the Art of Serendipity: If you are looking for something really specific, my best advice is to be open minded AND to put out a call to the Thrift Shop Gods. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been looking for something pretty specific (i.e. ankle-high boots) and looked for WEEKS before I actually DID find them! Last summer we stopped by Goodwill to try to find some bathing suits for my girls and my oldest daughter really REALLY wanted a Tinkerbell suit. I told her about a dozen times before we went in that we probably wouldn’t find a Tinkerbell suit, that we would be lucky to find ANY suit in her size. What did we find on the very first rack we looked at? A 5T Tinkerbell suit. Apparently she’s in with the Gods more than me! So write down your wish on a little piece of paper and stuff it in your purse. Or say it out loud a few times, and see what happens!

So there you have it! The incredibly long-winded response to how I thrift for clothes. I have NO plans to stop thrifting for clothes, in fact I feel even more committed to doing it. I love the “thrill of the hunt” and finding great clothes that get a new chance to be worn before going into the dump. I think everyone should give it a try, even if it’s for just a few items a year. Try it, you might like it!

Now go wash your hands… then tell me, what have YOU found at the thrift shop lately?