Monday, April 11, 2011

Thrifting and Homemade Decor

Our current house is 1600 square feet, and our next house is over 3500 square feet.  Do you know what that means?  That house is gonna look pretty darn sparse for a good long while!  Because I'm not a huge fan of overly "sparse," undecorated spaces, I've been hunting for great deals!  I can't buy large pieces (furniture) because we have no place to store it (well...and we're on a tight budget!).  But small decor, I can do!  Let me tell you, it has been a blast. Now thrifing and creating (or watching others create) things on the cheap are my latest addictions, and I'd like to share a few things I have learned!

There are a few things that I find in thrift stores that just gross me out.  You likes.  Pillows used to be one of those things.  Not any more!  Well...not some.  I ran into a dilemna a while back.  I wanted to make a cute little pillow, so I went to the FM store to buy a pillow form.  It was $5 for a tiny 12 X 12, synthentic fiber filled pillow!  Ridiculous!  Then, one day, I was shopping with my thrifting buddy, Sheila.  We found some really nice feather throw pillows.  They were super clean, and, the case had a zipper, so you could easily remove the pillow form.  The awesome thing about feather pillows is you can wash them and they fluff up perfectly when you dry them!   Now I always keep my eye out for feather throw pillows.  They can come in many kinds of cases, generally ranging from okay to hideous...

Once the cases are removed and they are washed, they are fluffy and fabulous!  Actually, most times the pillow forms look clean once you remove the cases, but I still wash them in hot water (with detergent) ...twice.  I don't believe you are supposed to wash your feather pillows with hot water, but I want them to be as clean as possible.  I haven't ruined one yet.  I just throw them in the washing machine on the gentle cycle, and tumble dry them with 3 tennis balls.  It takes a while for them to dry.  Also, if you have ever washed a feather pillow, you know it can smell kinda funky when it's wet.  The pillows generally cost $2-$5, and you can cover them with whatever fabric you want!  (The pillows I paid $5 for are probably at least 18x18)  I can't wait to cover these puppies with some of that lovely fabric I bought!

Today, I got this lovely (and heavy!) brass bird.  I saw it a couple of weeks ago, and thought it was just dandy!  It was priced at $5.98.  It isn't in perfect condition (and I'm extremely cheap) so I did not get it.  I could not stop thinking about it, though!  (Don't ask me why I love it so much...I just have a "connection" with it...haha!)  I actually went back today, just to see if it was still there (and if it was marked down).  To my surprise, it hadn't been bought yet!  Still 5.98:(  However, it had a B written under the price.  I saw some items with a B that were marked down elsewhere in the store, so I asked a worker if the price was going to be reduced soon.  He said the Bs are being marked down this week, but the home items changed on Thursday and Friday.  Then, he took it from my hands and wrote 2.98 on it!  lucky  me!  Lesson learned:  when in doubt, ASK!

I also got this little bird cage for 99 cents!  It was unmarked.  Generally, this particular store doesn't let you buy things that are unmarked, so I asked the same employee about the price.  He priced it well.  Needless to say, I'm going to hunt that man down any time I have a question:).  I see it being used as spring decor, and as a cute Christmas ornament.  I'm thinking I should start collecting adorable little cages for my Christmas tree:)

I felt a bit badly about these apothecaries because I told my friend that she would be hard pressed to find them at a thrift store because they are so "in" right now.  Then, one day, I went shopping without her and found 2 for cheap!  This proves, one person's treasure is another person's trash!  You can find anything at a thrift store!  Sorry, Sheila!  Had I have learned this lesson earlier, I wouldn't have said that! :)  There's also a story behind the green bottle.  I was looking for a bud vase because I wanted to cut some tulips from my yard, but the only vases we had at home are very wide mouthed.  Filling it would require me to chop down my entire garden.  I made another trip to my beloved thrift store and found a green bottle, much like this one, but smaller and cuter, and for only a dollar. I was all like, "WHAT-EV-ER!  I could totally buy a drink in a bottle like this, and have something to drink, and a bottle for the same price!"  I went to the store and found a beverage in a lovely green bottle for 1.30.  Sadly, the stuff was NASTY, I spent 15 minutes trying to get the sticky label off, and the size of the mouth compared to the size of the bottle do not make for a "balanced" arrangement!  Not a huge loss, but still annoying:)

The last thrifty thing I am going to share really deserves it's own post.  I've been planning on writing about it for quite some time, but I haven't yet.  I really don't want to forget about it, so I'm just going to tag on the end of this thrifty decor post.  There are some lovely and talented young ladies who were willing to help me re-create an expensive piece of art for my mantle.  I got the large canvas from Michael's with a coupon, as well as some modge podge.  I also bought a hymnal from a used christian bookstore.  We spent a few evenings modge podging, and painting, and ended up with this beauty.  (actually...I did not paint at all.  I just watched and admired their skills...and realized how big of a disaster it would have been had I have done it on my own!!)  The colors look much much better in person...and the mood that it portrays is exactly what I was desiring.  It cost a mere $30 compared to a whopping $1920.00!!!

It seriously makes me giddy when I look at it.  Thanks Rachel and Lauren Denny!!!  The beautiful original piece is pictured below, and can be bought on Ebay.  It is actually one of three paintings that go together.  Absolutely lovely.

So there you go.  You don't have to sacrifice style when on a budget!  Now, I understand that many of you might not LOVE the items I shared in this post.  I have been told that I have a unique style.  However, I truly believe there are great deals and inexpensive options for every design style.  You just have to hunt for them!  (Or be brave and attack those projects)

Wishing you luck in your hunt!!!

Weekends 10 and 11

Hey There! 
I hope everyone has been enjoying the absolutely amazing weather!

The past couple of weeks have been fairly productive, not only on the house we are remodeling, but also on the house that is for sale!  In fact, weekend 10 was completely dedicated to whipping our yard into shape for showing, as it is now on the market :)  I've never mulched more in my life!  I must say, it was rather enjoyable, except for the ridiculous barking of the dog that lives in the yard caddy corner to ours.  It barked for several hours straight.  Grrrr!  I was so annoyed.  Seriously...annoyed.  I came to the conclusion that animals have the tendency to make me very irritable.  I truly wish I were an animal lover, and I do think I'm getting much, much better (Thank you better behaved Dixie dog and Michelle-loving Piper).  However, the truth remains, I most definitely am not.

After all of that yard whipping, our house was looking pretty snazzy, but one sad fact is that grass grows.  We had another showing today.  I got the call around 11, and realized our lovely yard hadn't been mowed since last weekend!  I almost broke a vow that I made to myself to never mow the lawn (because the hubby was at work).  I changed my clothes, got out the lawn mower, put some gas in it, and tried to get it going.  Then, I realized how much of a pansy I really am.  I could not start the thing!  I had 2 issues.  1.  I'm not strong enough, and 2.  I really don't think I'm long enough.  I had to change positions to get the stringy-starter-ma-bob completely out...and my arm had to move at an angle that is not so strong.  Oh, how being short (and delicate...haha) complicates things!  Did you know I can't even effectively stir things, or use a rolling pin at the counter top level without a step-stool?  It's really quite frustrating.  Hmmm...that gets me thinking...maybe I should have used a step stool to try to start the lawn mower.   ...Nah!

Although our yard is not the yard of my dreams, it has a couple of things going for it.  Three seasons of the year, I can have fresh flowers in my house!  (Below are the tulips I planted in February.  That's right all you who said they wouldn't grow!  Booyah!)  I hope that will be a pleasant suprise to whoever lives in our house next because it has really been enjoyable for me!

During the 10th weekend of our house renovation, we also had the ground breaking ceremony for a new childrens' wing at church.  It is much needed for our growing children's ministries!  God has really been moving at Seminole Baptist Temple, and all of the childrens' classes need more space!  Our high school class has actually been one person shy of the fire code!  We are all so excited about the new building and are praising God for all He does!

Everyone was supposed to bring shovels to help break the ground!  Once again, here are my cutie pie nephews going after it!

It was such a fun time!

Zane learned a valuable shovelling lesson...use your foot for more POWER!

And...I just really liked the picture below, so I added it :)

After week 10, I spent a lot of time price shopping and solidifying our budget for plumbing fixtures, lighting, and hardware for the house.  One tip for those of you needing to price shop for things of this nature:  take a camera with you!!!  Most of the time, the price is near the product, so when you look at the picture, not only do you remember the price, but also what the product looked like!  I took pictures at several stores, and Wes and I made our decisions at home (so he didn't even have to go shopping).  It also allowed us to put products from various stores side by side, so we could make sure they coordinated. 

The roofers also started their work.  They are almost finished.  The new shingles look sooooo much better than the shake roof (that was in terrible condition, I might add).

Sadly, especially for our neighbors, the roofing supplies are still in our yard until they finish (I don't know when they are finishing it, as they are on a commercial job right now.  However, I do believe Wes knows!)

During weekend 11, Wes started framing the tub skirt.  We have a fantastic idea.  It's going to be very spa-esque!  I'm pumped!

He also moved a doorway to one of the bedrooms in the basement.  Because the bedroom has a door to the john deere room, we would prefer to use it as a workout room or play room unless we absolutely need it as a bedroom.  At this point, we most definitely do not!  Because of that, we decided to add french doors.  The space to the right that is still open is where the old door used to be.  It still needs to be drywalled, but you get the idea.  The reason we  moved the door instead of just widening it was because we did not like how the soffit cut into the trim.  I love trim, so that just would not do!  Also, the french doors will (hopefully) be rather centered behind the couch, adding some architectural interest.  I think it will be lovely!  I also like the fact that the window is now visible from many points in the living room.  It adds a lot of light and opens up the space.  I don't have a before picture at this angle because that big brick wall was in the way!

Last weekend we also had another SWITCH event for our high school and middle school kids.  If you are unfamiliar with SWITCH, it is an outreach event that our church does for our youth.  The wonderful youth pastors coordinate some super fun event (this month was the Skinny Improv), kids invite their unsaved friends, and they are presented with the gospel!  6 kids got saved!  It is amazing how many people are so hungry for the word of God, and all they need is to be told about it!  We are excitedly praising God for all He has done through the SWITCH events.  I've never seen life changes like I've seen the past year and a half!  It's beautiful!

This week, we are having some work done on our HVAC and the drywall finishers are coming!  I will be gone for the weekend, so I am excited to see what it looks like when I return!  Also, there has been a lot of movement and "whatnot" on our house!  I was quite surprised that people are actually coming to look at it because our realtor said after the first week the number of views online were really low.  In fact, she said that there were only 9 views from non-realtors online.  I was sad to inform her that I had probably looked at our listing 8 times, and I think Tiffany looked at it once!  Baha!  I don't know how the online viewing is going now, but we have had a handful of showings the past couple of weeks, so it proves there are buyers out there!  It's shaping up to be a fan-tastic week!  I am so incredibly blessed!

Have a lovely evening!