Linen/Cotton Blouse, Sustainable Living Room Decorating with Restore & Other Recent Projects

Whew, what a week! 🙂

As the school year is ending and my teaching & tutoring schedule is slowing down, I’m working on a list of things that I have been wanting to do since winter ended. Including:

  • deep cleaning our apartment
  • decorating our living room FOR THE FIRST TIME 😮
  • sewing blouses with my extra fabric
  • planning sustainable bedroom decor & new mattress
  • learning trigonometry


I’m pleased to say that after many days not feeling well in April, that my whole list is now fully underway! My mom came over last week and helped me deep clean the entire apartment, and once that was done, it set the rest in motion.

Despite the somewhat chilly/rainy weather in Wichita right now, I was very eager to begin making blouses from my extra fabric so as to be prepared for the warmer days coming.  I’m never happy with the tanks tops I find at thrift store due to the poor fabric and stitch quality, so I scoured Pintrest for my ideal summer top 🙂 Pictured below is the common style that I tended to like.



                                 Photo credit: Azalea


It seems these tops are pretty popular right now on most major clothing websites. What I really like about this type of crop top is that it isn’t made with stretch fabric so I can actually tailor it to me instead of it just clinging.

Most of these tops have underbust darts, which seem to be the most comfortable darts for me.  After looking at quite a few variations, I made my pattern. And, as per usual, from a paper Aldi bag.

Next I realized that I should (finally) get some thread. I’ve been using secondhand spools of polyester since I began sewing- except for two spools of silk that I tried, and those did work out well. I didn’t want to buy silk again though due to silk worm cruelty, and I also didn’t want to buy new cotton thread due to it’s water footprint. Thankfully, I found a plethora of vintage cotton thread from the USSR on Etsy!



One set has wooden spools, and the other paper. The combined cost for these was a mere $20 including shipping! Much cheaper than the organic cotton thread I could’ve ordered. The cost came out to a little over $1 per spool…and I can save and reuse the wooden spools once I’ve used the thread! #plasticfree

Once I received the thread from Lithuania, I cut and ironed the fabric pieces that I planned to use for the top. The fabric you see below is an organic cotton print from Sarah’s Fabrics in Lawrence, KS, that I purchased in December of 2017. I used leftover pink linen from WonderLinen as the lining.



I made it longer than the usual crop tops that I’ve seen, just so I could tuck it in to my high-waist skirts. I am so pleased with how it turned out! 🙂 It is so soft with the linen lining, and I’m sure it will breathe wonderfully on hot summer days. The next one, which I will hopefully start this week, will be a leftover brown linen with scrap blue cotton trim 🙂



Also near the top of my list was decorating my living room. Gabe and I have been minimalists for our entire marriage (3 years on May 21st), so I had yet to take the plunge to do any decorating. In addition, I really don’t want to support major corporations like Hobby Lobby and Joann.

I was walking Howl early in the morning a few days ago pondering my plans to make our home look homey…when I found something in the street.


A bouquet of big synthetic flowers!  This was a godsend. I had really wanted to decorate with some faux flowers but definitely didn’t want to support plastic production. Finding these was a great start to my living room decor. I’m not sure what to do with it yet, but maybe I’ll find more and make a wreath 🙂

The next day, my mom and I visited the Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store down the street in search of lamps and paintings. I found a very simple silver floor lamp with bulb for $7. As I was going through checkout, the veteran working the register kindly told me about their punch card program so I could save even more money…I politely but firmly told him that I wanted to always pay full price there, as this store is one of the few stores deserving of my money. We discussed their company’s attempts to sell whatever they can instead of dumping most of it in the landfill…like Goodwill does.

My mom and I left feeling extra happy that we came to DAV first. Next, we headed to another store benefiting a great cause: Habitat for Humanity’s Restore. 🙂


And I hit the jackpot of paintings! Forget mass-produced home goods, Restore has everything. This location is also the same one that I got my amazing 1953 cast-iron Brother Sewing Machine from. I quickly found two paintings that I really liked: one of a European cafe scene, and another of downtown New York (but it reminded me of my city more). One of these paintings was in a broken plastic frame- which would have surely been thrown out at Goodwill. I was happy to buy it and discard the frame and tack up the picture itself.


I also bought a nice quality mirror at Restore. Apparently a local hotel had changed it’s decor and donated dozens of plain wooden-framed mirrors…so I may be going back for another one or two 😀

All in all, my decor cost me $40 and went to some great causes. It really brightened up our living room! I’m so thankful to have found these things and that my money went to good places.


More to come on my other projects- such as bedroom decorating and sewing. I won’t bore anyone with updates on trig (though I find it thrilling XD), but I’m about 15% done with my course and super excited to be able to tutor it next year. Thank you for visiting my blog today! 🙂


  1. It is really inspiring to read about your thrift decorating! We’ve unfortunately never been minimalists (I would even call myself boarderline hoarder before my mid-20s when I discovered minimalism. It is hard to pare down. I do want to check out my local Restore though for renovating supplies.


    • I’m so glad!! Actually I kind of understand…my dad was a hoarder, and my husband was one before we got married. I had to force minimalism onto him haha x) but then he found the enjoyment in it that I do 🙂


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