September went by so fast. I spent the month knee-deep in thesis research and writing, so it wasn’t the most eventful. As I sat down to write this post, I realized two things:

I didn’t take many pictures…

Love Statue on Penn's Campus

(although I did snap this obligatory shot while on Penn’s campus)

and I didn’t buy anything.

Besides groceries and a few cups of coffee, that is. I didn’t go shopping at all for the whole month. It wasn’t an intentional decision, but I’m pretty happy with realizing that I was able to achieve it! Here’s how, and why, I managed to pull it off:

I tackled lots of projects.

I was feeling overwhelmed by the number of projects I had already started, so I tried to focus on finishing a few. Usually, I love thrifting for craft supplies, and I’m always scheming up my next project — but I end up with more projects than I can realistically tackle. Working on finishing things I’d started helped me refocus and realize that I already have plenty to keep me busy.

Painting our Bedroom - color is Shewin Williams Origami White The biggest project was painting our bedroom. Finally! Full reveal coming soon.

I was too busy to go thrifting.

I set myself a pretty strenuous thesis writing schedule, which has kept me glued to my computer and my chair until the evening, after the thrift shop has closed! Thrift shopping is usually part of  my writing process — a way to get out of the house for a while and to think as I sift through the racks. But I feel like I’m in such a good place with my thesis right now (hurrah!) that I haven’t needed to step away.

I pulled out my fall wardrobe.

This was huge for me. Pulling out the clothes I’d put in storage felt like I instantly had a brand new wardrobe, and I didn’t feel the need to go adding to it. Realizing this makes me really interested in putting together a capsule wardrobe, because I loved the feeling of everything old being new again.

Thrifted fall style

Fall ballpark style! I’m still totally obsessed with these thrifted booties, and I’ll be wearing them all season.

I have my eyes on the prize.

Next week, I’ll be traveling to Warsaw, and immediately afterward, Crystal and I will be celebrating our second anniversary. Knowing I wanted to save money for these experiences made it easy to bypass shopping, even if it was thrift shopping.

The sense of accomplishment I feel right now definitely makes me want to try a no-spend month again. Have you ever accomplished one? How did it go?

Linking up with Franish and the other budgeting bloggers!

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Recently, I received the book Natural Color through Blogging for Books. Natural Color is all about using natural dye sources, many of them utilizing kitchen scraps. I was excited to read this book, because I’ve been wanting to learn how to dye my own yarn and fabric for ages. I wasn’t expecting it to be all-out inspirational, from the beautiful photographs to the excellent, diverse selection of projects.

Learning how to use natural dye from the book Natural ColorMost of all, though, I loved the underlying ethos of the book, which is completely in line with my #buynothingnew resolution this year: beautiful color can be found in the most unexpected places, like your compost heap. The author, Sasha Duerr, encourages scouring thrift stores for pieces to dye. She even includes a recipe for creating a mordant from found pieces of iron, so the projects in this book can be made exclusively using found, secondhand, and salvaged materials. How cool is that??

Reading through Natural Color got me thinking about all the ways I could step up my commitment to making beautiful things out of secondhand and salvaged materials. Inspired by the rich, gorgeous colors of the book, I started brainstorming about how I could bring some of that beauty into my life this fall. Here are five projects I can’t wait to tackle soon.

Learning to dye from Natural Color

I can't wait to try dying with persimmon. From the book Natural Color.

I can’t wait to dig into the projects in this book, and teach myself some of the techniques. I’ve already started digging through my closet and fabric stash looking for things to dye.

Of all the projects in Natural Color, dying with pomegranate seemed the most exciting and least intimidating to me. Pomegranate includesa natural mordant, making it one step easier than most projects. I was fascinated to learn that the color from pomegranate comes not from the seeds, but the pith! I love to cook and bake with pomegranate in the winter, so this is a great way to use something I’d otherwise throw away.

Making Throw Pillows

Natural Color - such a beautiful book cover!I’ve been wanting to make throw pillows for the living room and bedroom for ages from the beautiful hand-dyed textiles in my fabric stash — an ikat I purchased in Istanbul and an indigo-dyed fabric from Nigeria given to me by my grandmother. I’ve been intimidated by them, honestly, because they’re easily the most expensive fabrics I own. Reading Natural Color reminded me how beautiful they are, and how they deserve a place in our home, rather than hiding in my fabric stash.

Learning How to Spin

I've been wanting to learn how to spin using a drop spindle for ages.

I bought this drop spindle and fiber years ago, back when I worked at WEBS, and I never got around to actually learning. Maybe it’s ambitious to try and learn two techniques at once, but I’d love to finally learn how to spin my own yarn so I can dye it, too.

Knitting Celes by Jared Flood

I love combining yarns together for new colors and textures.

This pattern has been in my Ravelry queue for a long time, and I’m excited to finally make it. I dug in my stash and found this beautiful orange Habu textiles yarn nestled next to a mystery vintage yarn I thrifted years ago (while I was still in college!). From the leaflet I found inside, I’m guessing it could be from the 40’s or 50’s. It feels so good to turn materials that have been waiting so long to be used into something beautiful.

Making An Ornament Wreath

Imperfect vintage ornaments are perfect for making an ornament wreath.I am never, never ahead on projects, but this year I really want to be. I’ve been collecting slightly damaged vintage ornaments all year, and I can’t wait to finally turn them into a wreath. It’s a DIY that might be a bit overdone at this point, but I think it’s a beautiful way to showcase ornaments full of imperfections that might otherwise be thrown away.

What projects are you working on this fall? I’d love to hear in the comments!


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One of the guiding themes I decided on when I first started decorating my home was vintage travel decor. I wanted my home to feel like a welcoming boutique hotel, where every object tells a story. I love the souvenirs I’ve collected on my travels, and I wanted them to feel like a natural part of the decor.

vintage books and vintage travel inspired printableWe recently started decorating our bedrooms, and I thought it would be a good time to revisit my inspiration and get my creative juices flowing again.

This print is also a free printable that I put together from my collection of vintage travel ephemera. Scroll down to the end of the post for the download link!

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I’ve loved Dan-ah Kim‘s work for years. I first came upon her prints on Etsy a long time ago — 2006 or 2007, maybe. Then, while I was living in London, I bought a print on a whim. Only later did I realize that it was by the same artist whose work I’d admired for so long!

Dan-ah Kim - Where We Belong - Budget Art I Love

“Where We Belong”

I love Dan-ah Kim’s work because of her exploration of femininity, and the way she places her figures in stunning, otherworldly dreamscapes. She creates strong narratives that leave much to the imagination, encouraging the viewer to fill in a before and after the moment depicted.

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I can’t believe fall is already here, and it’s about time I posted my fall reading list. As I mentioned on my summer reading list post, I’m currently working on my MA thesis. I don’t have a lot of time to read for pleasure, but I’m trying to step away from my academic books now and then. Here’s my summer reading recap and what’s on my fall reading list.

Wthering Heights - on my fall reading list

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