Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Weekend roundup

This last week and weekend I accomplished quite a bit, but nothing photo worthy. I made a "to do" list of things I wanted to get done in addition to my regular housework, and with the help of hubs on some projects, managed to finish them all. So I feel good about that. However, when I was going down my list, I noticed that my hubs, being the "funny" guy that he is, added something.

Do you see it? Mr. Smartypants. (do I tell him he put message instead of massage? ha!!)

I only went to two garage sales this weekend...one on my street, the other around the corner. I got hubs a new Krups espresso machine for $10, a new muffin tin for $1 and 3 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper for a quarter. That's it. Not too exciting. I just wasn't able to drag my bum out of bed to go to sales like I normally do.

I also helped my neighbors who live behind me paint their shed. I had no idea what I was getting into. I went over to say hello and managed to be put to work. That's ok. I don't mind...he's 77 and she's 66, and that's what neighbors are for after all. The funny thing is, it was about 9am, and when we got done with the shed, he offered me a beer. Then another. And another. (ha!) Since it was about a gazillion degrees outside in the Texas heat, a beer (or two or three) at 9am sounded good. ;) They also had an old heirloom tea rose bush that they said I could have if I dug it up. So I had hubs help with that, then we planted it out back in one of our flower beds. I hope it does well!

Their backyard is amazing. It's like a little resort. They are great gardeners and I love to just sit on their back patio and visit. They sent me home with some fresh veggies from their garden (okra, onions and eggplant) along with a few eggs from their chickens. Yes, chickens in the suburbs! They have a chicken coupe (coop?) built that's actually not bad on the eyes, so it doesn't seem out of place. Like I said, their yard is a little oasis. I'm sure they are breaking all sorts of city ordinances. :)

Tomorrow is my last watercolor class. I'm so sad! I've really enjoyed it, not only for the creative aspect, but also the socialization. They'll start up another one come September, and if I'm still not working yet, I think I may sign up for it.

I'm also thrilled that I won a blog giveaway recently! Cathe at Just Something I Made had a great giveaway that I managed to win! I had the choice of a few books, and while they all looked great, I chose 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse since it looks like it might be right up my alley! Thanks Cathe, I appreciate it! If you haven't been to her blog, go visit. She always has such great ideas and tutorials, and also features free downloads for art projects.

Also, Kelli tagged me in a fun little game. Please feel free to join in on your blog!

Here’s how it works: USE ONLY ONE WORD!
It’s not as easy as you might think. Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It’s really hard to use only one-word answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? kitchen
2. Your hair? rootsy
3. Your mother? crafty
4. Your father? tired
5. Your favorite food? Mexican
6. Your dream last night? unknown
7. Your favorite drink? pepsi
8. Your dream/goal? happiness
9. What room are you in? office
10. Your hobby? art
11. Your fear? death
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? happy
13. Where were you last night? Lowe's
14. Something that you aren’t? employed
15. Muffins? blueberry
16. Wish list item? floors
17. Where did you grow up? Austin
18. Last thing you did? laundry
19. What are you wearing? capris
20. Your TV? on
21. Your pets? barking
22. Friends? busy
23. Your life? blessed
24. Your mood? ok
25. Missing someone? hubs
26. Vehicle? dirty
27. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
28. Your favorite store? dunno
29. Your favorite color? depends
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? dunno
32. Your best friend? hubs
33. One place that I go to over and over? Caribbean
34. One person who emails me regularly? mother
35. Favorite place to eat? Aparicio's

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thrift store rehabs revealed

We bought this house about 5 years ago and have slowly worked our way around the house redoing everything. Most of this was cosmetic, consisting of taking down wallpaper (kitchen and bathrooms), painting, redoing the floor, etc. We didn't get to the guest bath until about 2 or 3 years ago. We took down the wallpaper, pulled up not one but TWO layers of linoleum, smoothed out the walls, painted, put down ceramic tiles (hubs rocks) and changed out fixtures. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to put on the wall over the towel rack, so it's remained empty since that time. I thought about painting some canvases, but that never happened. I actually bought a piece of funky metal art at a Dallas art festival a year ago, but decided it didn't work for me in there.

Then last week I found these at the thrift store.

I loved them the minute I saw them. I knew I'd paint them silver....I could definitely see the potential. They reminded me of those retro midcentury modern starbursts from the 1960s (photos courtesy of etsy).

I originally thought I'd put them in the dining room, but tried them out in the guest bathroom and loved them there. (side note: I don't know why my wall colors always come out so funky on camera...the bathroom isn't apple green...the 2nd picture is more true to the actual color)

Not everyone's style, but I love a little funkiness in every room. Not bad for $4 thrift store find.

Remember this hideous gold mirror?

I love it now. It resides in our bedroom. (again, my wall color isn't Texas Longhorn orange..though I do love the Longhorns since I grew up in Austin :) , it's actually a pretty pumpkin color, though you wouldn't know it by these pictures!)

Then there's the $3 hook rack I found at Goodwill last week. This didn't need a rehab, it simply needed a lot of cajoling, prodding and begging for me to have hubs hang it up outside. It works out *perfectly* for hanging our towels by the pool! This eliminates the need to lay the towels on the ground, having ants crawl up in them and then doing an "ants in my pants" dance when drying off. Not that that's happened or anything. ;)

I feel like I've gotten quite a bit accomplished this week. My "to do" list is getting shorter. It feels good. But then I will have to make another "to do" list for next week. So the fun starts over again. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Patience and frugality pay off big time

I'm so stoked I can hardly stand it! This week has been a great week for thrift stores and garage sales. I don't know what I did right this week, but it paid off. Yeah!

First, my BEST garage sale find EVER! I've been wanting a chimenea for years. But I could never justify spending $200-$300 for one, so I have waited patiently. Last night I was scouring Craigslist for local garage sales, and one of them had a chimenea listed. Even though I was dead tired, I got out of bed early, made a run for the coffee shop to get my chai tea latte and headed to that sale first. I had the address, and I had mapped it out. However when I got there, I didn't see any sign of life. There weren't any signs in front of the house, and I couldn't figure out how to get to their alley where the garage/driveway is located. I thought maybe I'd mistakenly written down the wrong address, so I started to leave the neighborhood, but decided to go back and park, walk into the alley and make sure I wasn't missing something. Sure enough, I found them. And the beautiful chimenea was sitting there. I asked the lady if it was still available, and she said yes. It was only $20! Twenty dollars people!!! I just about peed my pants. She said the only reason they were selling it was because they were having a built-in fire pit put in. Score for me! I walked back out front to get my SUV and pull around to load it in. When I pulled up out back, another couple of people were looking at it and asking her about it. So I got there in the nick of time! This fall we'll really enjoy sitting on the patio with a nice fire going.

At that same sale, I also got these cute pair of wedge sandals for a couple of bucks (LOVE wedges!). I don't think they've ever been worn. I also bought this adorable lamp for $2.

At another sale, I found these great leather boots for $2. I love the grommet detail at the top and on the toes. I don't think these had ever been worn either. I'm a boot junkie. Heck, I'm a shoe junkie, but I've noticed I have quite a "collection" of boots going on.

And lastly, I found this set of three ceramic jars. I don't know where I'm going to put them, but I set them temporarily on top of the chifferobe in the living room. I can't say that I love them there, but if they have a temporary home, Hubs won't complain as much. See, you have to be smarter than the average husband! ;)

Now, earlier in the week, I went to a couple of thrift stores because I needed to get out of the house. I found this brand new metal hook rack for $3. I plan on hanging it outside on the fence so we can use it to hang our pool towels.

These cool metal "things" were a dollar or two each. They remind me of those retro star bursts, don't you agree? I've painted them already and am just waiting for Hub's opinion on where to hang them. I'll show them next week, along with that ugly mirror rehab.

I found these fun denim espadrilles, a Union Bay long-sleeve shirt, a funky t-shirt and a cute Gap linen skirt. Not pictured is a pair of denim bermuda-length shorts, two gorgeous vintage rhinestone pins (one was $2, the other $4...I've seen these same kinds at antique stores for $30 each) and a $2 bag of beautiful shells to finish the wreath you all convinced me to make for my living room.

I've had a great thrifty week. The chimenea is my pride and joy though. I can't believe I found exactly what I was looking for, and at such a great price! Did you get any good deals with weekend? Do share! :)

Join the fun on the Southern Hospitality blog! We're sharing our garage sale and thrifty finds!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Recycle old pillows: no sew dog bed (or floor pillows for the kids)

Remember the no sew fleece blankets that were all the range a few years ago (I still have mine and love them...the dogs even have smaller versions, too)? This project is a spin-off from those. Here's a great way to recycle some old pillows you may have, you know, the ones that are flat and have lost their shape. We all have them tucked away in a closet somewhere! I have to warn you, the pictures came out dark for some reason. I hope you can still see.

I started by throwing them in the washer and dryer to freshen them up and get them somewhat fluffy again.

Next, take a yard of fleece and fold it in half, cutting along the fold so you have two separate pieces. I'd have preferred to use brown fleece, but since this bed is for my 15-year old dachshund, and she's almost completely white now, I knew the brown wouldn't work as well because she sheds so much...I didn't want the bed to look like it had a fur coat on. ha!

Start by cutting a 4" square from each of the four corners.

Then cut 1" wide strips all the way around.

Once you've cut strips all the way around, begin tying knots from the back and front pieces. I doubled-knotted mine because I know my dogs will scratch and dig at the pillow to make it just the right degree of comfiness, but I'm sure a single knot would be fine, too.

Tie knots all the way around, leaving enough space to stuff your pillows inside. You have two options at this point. You can leave the knots showing on the outside. This looks nice, like fringe. Or, you can turn the fleece inside out so the knots are on the inside, then stuff your pillows. Knot the remaining strips, and tuck inside (if you aren't leaving fringe on the outside).

{Join the DIY party and share your latest projects at Kimba's!}

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quick and easy accent pillows

Here's a project that will take maybe a half hour from start to finish. Longer if you are like me and do a lot of it in front of Law and Order. ;) If you can sew a straight line, you can do this.

I've seen this done many times over the years on tv and in magazines and always meant to try it, but never got around to it (you know how that goes, don't you?!). I was browsing the other day and saw it done most recently here. I've been wanting to make little lumbar shaped pillows for my kitchen chairs for, oh, I don't know, the last 4 or 5 years or so. When I saw this idea yet again, I knew it was the answer. Quick, easy and cheap.

I bought 4 place mats for $1.78/each at the W when grocery shopping last night. I love the woven cotton fabric for it's texture and durability. And the colors are bright and cheery, perfect for my kitchen.

I did mine slightly differently than Sarah did hers, though, but it's still very simple. Unlike Sarah's, my place mats are not doubled sided. No problem. I simply folded them in half (right sides facing each other) and sewed up the 3 open sides (leaving enough space on one side to turn the pillows right-side-out and stuff with fiberfill).

But before turning right-side-out, be sure to clip the extra fabric from the corners so the shape will be more natural. So far, this whole process has taken *maybe* a minute or two, tops.

Next, stuff the pillow. Here's a little tip: if you have a difficult time reaching down into the corners to stuff the pillow, use a skewer to push the filling down where you want it. Afterward, I just stitched up the hole using a basic "over and through" stitch.

And that's all there is to it!

{Join the DIY party and share your latest projects at Kimba's!}

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Good week for bargains

Garage sales really stunk this weekend, but I stopped by one of my favorite thrift stores and was so excited to find some vintage Pyrex! I have my late grandmother's Pyrex mixing bowls, and I use them all of the time. Those are a set of solid color bowls, each bowl being a different color. I love Pyrex. It's so sturdy and never goes out of style. I love all of the vintage patterns. A few years back I added to the set. Antique stores around here price them pretty high. I was excited to find these two finds:

Butterprint mixing bowl $2

And a Golden Tulip casserole dish for $1.50.

It still had the price sticker on it from an antique store.

While at that same store, I also found this hideous gold mirror. It was $4. More than I'd normally pay for a tiny thrift store mirror, but I liked the shape and saw the potential, so I got it. I painted it, and it's out back drying.

I also ran by Hobby Lobby to pick up some supplies for another project, and saw these cute items in the 66% off aisle. A metal "Old Glory" sign, some glittered metal flag plant stakes and a wooden flag. I think they cost about $8 total. Now the only problem is remembering next year that I have them. ha!! I always do that...buy something at the end of season on sale, pack it away and then forget that I have it. Oh well.

Any good bargains for you this weekend? Join the fun on the Southern Hospitality blog! We're sharing our garage sale and thrifty finds!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Before and after: antique nightstand

There's nothing better than finding a great project in the making, especially when it's unexpected and cheap. Several months back, hubs and I went for a drive one afternoon. We ended up at a junk/antique store in a small town. I happened to see this cute little nightstand in the back of the store covered up with lots of stuff. I liked the size and shape of it. It needed a lot of TLC, but it still appealed to me. But I didn't know what I'd do with it. I'm really out of space for furniture pieces. The price tag said $12. Sold. For that price, I'd find a place for it. When I told the shop owner I wanted it, she said I could have it for $5.

After sitting in the garage for a month or two, I brought it outside, gave it a good wipe down and sanding, then painted it a light cream color. The top of the table has a leather inlay with some gold design, but unfortunately, whoever owned this piece before me decided to STAIN THE LEATHER when they were refinishing the piece. Sinful! I thought about just painting over it, but decided to leave it as is. If I change my mind, I can paint over it later. Hubs tried to strip the stain from the leather, but it just didn't work.

The original handles on the drawer were broken, and they really weren't my style anyway. I suppose handle sizes have changed over the years because I haven't been able to find any new ones to fit the hole sizes. And I really don't feel like patching the holes and drilling new ones. Too much effort for a $5 table. So instead I found 4 cute ceramic knobs at Hobby Lobby (at 50% off) and I think they look great!

We decided to use this as a TV stand in the bedroom (I know! a TV in the bedroom!). It's a lot cuter than what we were using before.

Whatcha think? Nothing special or fancy, but I love how it looks now.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

House funk

It's that time of year again. Everyone is lightening and brightening up their homes for the summer. And, as usual, I'm stuck for ideas.

My house is mainly earth tones. I love earth tones. I'm also not one to change out every piece of decor for the seasons. I like to add a few things here and there, but I don't change out my drapes or my rugs or my bedding. I just don't have the time, the extra cash or desire to do all of that. So, I feel stagnant on what I can do to summer things up in here. Because I have a lot of dark, rich, earthy colors, it seems silly to throw in a shell here or a flower there and hope it looks summery, you know? I think maybe I just need fresh eyes to look in and help out. Those eyes being yours!

Any grand, superb, smart ideas? :) I guess I could make pillow covers for the couch pillows. I hate that fabric anyway. I'm just stuck in a rut.