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!!!

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