Makin' it with what'cha have.

I love me some linky parties, and as I peruse all the creative ideas for home decor my creative juices get to pumping and I start making lists of all the stuff I need to pick up at Hobby Blobby or JoAnns or Home Depot...but lately my stash of crafty and creative stuff is overwhelming and my garage is full of projects lamenting in spider webs.  Yikes.

Now I'm all for finding thrifty ways to knock off the Big Guys....and I do it a lot.  I'm also all for finding thrifty ways to knock off talented bloggers...and I do that a lot too.  But lately I've been wanting to use up what I have.  Kinda force myself to use my own ingenuity and creativity to come up with unique, beautiful things for my home using what's already laying around here.  Because, let's face it, we've all been hording supplies for those projects we've bookmarked from other places. Or stashing away materials from that 'ah ha' moment we had while visiting Michaels (then promptly threw the bag and it's contents in a closet somewhere.)

So here's a challenge....in a couple weeks, let's say oh, around Nov 16th-ish, I want to host a party.  

Now if you can complete a project using totally what you have on hand Hooray!....but I also know sometimes in order to complete something you'll need to run out and get some little thing (ie: glue, paint brush, thread, etc).  The idea here is to use the 'raw' materials you have as much as possible.  Have a yard of fabric stashed away?  Make a pillow.  Bought some scrapbooking stuff?  Make a frame.  Bought a gallon of paint or 3 cans of spraypaint?  Paint that room or piece of furniture.  See what I mean?

I'm gonna use up what I have before buying one.more.thing. for my home.  I'm gonna revisit my saved links and see what stuff I already have to copy someone else's cool project.  I'm gonna put my two mommy brain cells together and come up with some original arts and crafts and projects....and I'm gonna try to do it without spending any more money.

What raw materials are awaiting your magic touch?  Have more than one project like that?  Up for the challenge?  If I have enough interest, I'll work up a real button, start an affair with Mr. Linky,  and we'll be off to the races. I'll even have a little giveaway involved.  Leave me a comment and let me know how you really feel.  Good idea?  Not so good idea?  Inquiring minds want to know.

50 buckaroos? Why yes, I think I will.

There's so many giveaways going on right now, but I found a new one at a blog called Six in One Hand...Madness in the Other. It's a good one too....I mean seriously good.  She's giving away TWO $50 visa gift cards.  My my that would come in quite handy, no?  Get your rear over there and sign up!  Looks to be a beautiful blog to follow, and I did so.

And guess what?  I actually WON my first giveaway over at Lori's Wildflowers.  There is a Blogging God.  I get to spend $35 over at Vintage Pearl.  Lovely choices, I'll be choosing all day!  Thanks bunches Lori.  Love your blog....get over there and check her out too folks.


A Lazy Friday Afternoon

Every room must have a touch of black.  You've heard this decorating rule, right?  Thankfully every room I go into has a touch of black because my big black dog Bogart follows me around everywhere, making himself quite comfy.  Since all my kids are getting too old and impatient with my picture-taking, Bogart accomodates me quite well.  And here he is....my mixed mutt from the shelter who loves me even when I eat too much ice cream.



This would also explain why I've resisted white slipcovers.


What I've been doing....

Of course, when in the midst of a room makeover, the vision changes as you go along.  I made a detour on Craigslist last week (been trying to avoid reading over there because time and funds are short until my youngest graduates....in 10 years.)  Anyway, I happened upon some ladderback chairs that would do a great job in my dining room even though I had already decided to use some other chairs I already had.  I'm going for an ecclectic mix in there....a cottagey, shabby, rustic, but elegant feel. I thought the rusticness would look cool juxtaposed with the more elegant shabbiness of the boo-fay.  So I picked 'em up and went to work.

Removed the seats.....

so I could use some of this (Heirloom White, 'cause, well, you know)

Laid out the seats...

so I could add some of this...

My spraypaint was giving me fits...don't know if it was just too cold or what, but it kept coming out in bursts of foamy splatters.  I'm sorry to say it made me cuss.  A lot.  I sanded them down again, thinking I'd just use a brush, but I ended up really liking the look of them all shabby-fied after I finished with the sanding (used 220 grit...it took FOREVAH)

The seats were a challenge too....the gel stain was too gloppy and hard to get into the zillion crevices.  But it's what I had on hand, and I wasn't driving 20 minutes to get something different.  It took 3 coats and 3 days.  The first coat I obeyed the rules and wiped the extra off after a few minutes.  The second and third coats I said another bad word, threw caution to the wind and laid it on thick, letting it dry as is.  Much nicer effect....but took a full 24 hours to dry between the coats.

They're cozied up to my table in the dining room now....will prolly need to use some wipe-on poly for the chairs and some spray on for the seats, but I was impatient and wanted to see them in the room.  You, my dear readers will see them in the room VERRRY soon.

The next project I undertook for the room was a rolltop oak desk that I got for helping my friend sell off her mom's estate. (the brass badboys I did were also from her mom's)  Here's the before:

Here it is opened up....the surface slides out to make a desk.  Very cool.  Very dirty.
Very covered in years of nicotine.  But her lines are VERY similar to the boo-fay....yippee!

I basically wiped 'er down a couple times with liquid sander, then painted on 3 coats of Heirloom White (it comes in a quart near the spraypaint), doing a light sanding inbetween.  After the last coat I used 80 grit sandpaper to distress her edges.

Here's an after closeup:

Help me out here....I'm tempted to add some glaze to her, but she matches the boo-fay's treatment as is.  Should I just let her be?  I still need to paint her scrolly things on top too.  They're brass and just not very nice.  If I can figure out how to spraypaint them with ORB, that's my plan.

So....that's what's been cookin' round these parts.  I have one big-ish project left, but I may not wait to complete that before going ahead with the reveal.  I'm terribly happy with how it's coming along, and trying to ignore the perfectionist in me when it comes to accessorizing and such. Also, having it so near completion makes me HATE the ceilings (popcorn/cottage cheese/nastiness) and floor (berber blah carpet).  Ah well. 

Can't wait to show y'all...thanks for being (somewhat) patient!

Linkin' up to:


Another Sneak Peek.

White Wednesday is here again.  So I'm posting one wee shot of my on-the-very-tippy-verge-of-being-finished dining room.  Enjoy.  Then go see the other girls who play along with this most fabulous party.


Actually, now I got somethin'...a sweet little award.

I got this today from Katie the Yoga Gal....and suddenly the sun burst out from behind the clouds and doom and all was well in my world again.  Thank You Katie! Go see her blog....beautiful home, to say the least.

Here's what I'm supposed to do to pass on the award...
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each. 

My seven things.
1) I hate to cook, and seeing food on people's blogs grosses me out.
2) I don't like the town we moved to for their supposedly awesome schools.  Only 10 years to go till my youngest graduates. *sigh*
3) I was a vocal performance flunk-out in college.
4) I used to write songs, do a bit of recording, and play guitar.  In front of people even.
5) I have done work as a doula, and hope to do so again in another season of life.
6) I recently changed my political and spiritual views. That's all I'll say about that.
7) I gave birth to a 12 pound baby (#5), my smallest was 8.15 (#4) and I never used drugs in any of my labors. 

I hereby bestow this Kreativ Blogger award to the following:
Kate at Salvage Dior....beautiful blog, lovely images, sweetest lady
Fairmaiden at Sea Cottage...another delicious blog to read and look at
Catherine at peace love sweater...OMGosh go check out her cutie-patootie felted goodies
Manuela at The Pleasures of Homemaking...who has received this award from others, but goshdarnit, I love her blog and her generous spirit.  I spend lots of time over there.
Ana at A Petite Cottage...a new find, and a lovely place to spend time
Shellagh at Ticking and Toile...another newish find for me, and eye candy galore over there, I tell ya.
Maria at vintage simple...she pretty much owns the house of my dreams, and her images are sooooo great for inspiration.

Congrats girls!  If any of you are award-free blogs, I apologize in advance...just know I think you're fabulous and creative and I hope to be you when I grow up.  Or at least decorate like you when I grow up.  Or be crafty and creative like you when I grow up.  Which I don't plan to do, because then I'll have to cook.

I got nuthin'

I'm telling you what, if we have any more of this overcast crappy drizzly weather, I'm bolting for Florida.  It takes such a toll on me.  Not only am I not able to spray paint, but it's too cold to even brush paint out in the garage.  Of course yesterday was beautiful, but I started a new job and was in a back room under florescent lights washing dishes. Yay.

I'm attempting to finish up the last measly projects for my dining room and getting nowhere.  Nothing is going as planned, everything is taking longer than expected, and I'm losing steam.  Frustration will do that to ya.  Today is the only day I have this week with chunks of time big enough to get stuff done....but the weather won't cooperate, my head is threatening yet another headache, and I ran out of paint (and funds to get more till the weekend). I tried to take some pictures for the blog, but they all turned out blurry and grainy and dark. I turned to my sewing room, but got immediately overwhelmed with the mess.  I think I just need a big bowl of soup or some hot chocolate and a big fluffy blanket to wrap up in. 

So there's my vent.  No cool before and afters, no big reveals, no inspiration for today folks.  Just move along and don't stare at the crazy lady. *sigh*


Fiona and Twig Giveaway.

Another awesome opportunity gals....what starts with an 'A' and ends with 'thropolgie'?  Think hard.  Got it?  Now go try to get it at Fiona and Twig's.  Autographed copy of The Find is also up for grabs.  Ain't she sweet?

Go, do not pass go, do not collect $200.


Giveaway at Annie's...

Over at her Birdcages and Butterflies blog (which is sooo great).  Here's what she's giving away in honor of getting halfway to 100 followers (she already has 250 on facebook!)  Isn't her button adorable?  I gotta learn how to do this...

This is what we're all hoping for!
Head over the pond and give Annie some love...tell her I sent ya while you're there.

Thrift store awesomeness.

I had several loads of clothes to donate last week, and when that happens I make a trip to my local Dove's Nest.  It's a bit of a drive compared to say, Goodwill or Salvation Army, but I prefer to donate where the profits go directly to helping those in severe need.  For instance, on a circular rack of mens shirts, there's a placard on top reading "every shirt purchased helps feed one family in (specific country)".  It's run by the Mennonite Central Committee.  It's also tons of fun to shop there, obviously.  They even have silent auctions weekly on some of the nicer items that come in. All the workers are volunteers as well, so very low overhead.  Just an all around good place with a good vibe.

Anyway, Friday they had a 50% off on all house goods.  Yep.  The heart started racing.

Here's my favorite thing I found while there. A vintage ironstone pitcher and bowl.  9 buckaroos.  Has a crack and chip in the handle.  So endearing.

This next shot includes a set of 4 Stratfordshire plates and a carved wooden tray, 2 cheese servers which will eventually be some chic cloches, and an apothecary jar with some seriously gross soap which will be dumped and replaced with something lovely.  Everything else came from the Salvation Army jaunt I made on Thursday.

Did you see that cool tray and the super deep frame?  How 'bout the two wire baskets, stack of mini frames, and the wood circle things with flower designs carved on top?  Yeah.  Niceness all over my craft table.

Lastly, I poked my nose into Big Lots and found this stuff as I was returning shade number 362 in my search for shades on my big brass redo.

Super cool ribbon for $1 a spool, some glasses that will become the base for some homemade cake platters ($1 each), neato varigated woven basket in browns and aquas, and yes, a Martha Stewart wedding cake topper.  I'd admired it at Walmart several times, and I think it will be freaking awesome as part of a vintage-look Easter/Spring vignette.  $2, what can I say?

What found you this last week on your junkin' jaunts, hmmmmm? Do tell.

Saturday Night Special!

The ever-lovely Miss Donna of Funky Junk Interiors is hosting her second Saturday Night Special.  This week it's vignettes.  Awesome.  Here we go.

Tonight my oldest daughter celebrated her 20th birthday. Her new mom in law hosted and did the most excellent cooking.  I was in charge of the cake and frou-frou-fying Mom in laws' house....

I want to show you how I (hopefully) made some style statement vignettes using mostly what I already had, and even using disposable plates and stuff.  In other words, I did it on the cheap by shopping my house.  You'll recognize some of the decorations if you've been around here for awhile.  There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with using what you have for parties, and there's NOTHING wrong with throwing a party sans crepe paper and rainbow balloons.  (Although in our family, it's not a birthday without the cheesy jello cake with cool whip 'frosting'.)

 Look familiar?  The candlesticks were the ugly brass ones I  posted about a few days ago.  Goodwill finds.

 A second table centerpiece.  Pinched my white painted pumpkins from the porch.
 This set of ceramic votives are from IKEA.  I added rub-on letters found for a buck at Big Lots.

Dollar Store boards I sprayed with chalkboard paint. (It says 'happy 20th Schmodie', which has been my daughter's nickname for forever) 


I braided some jute twine and stamped some walmart label thingy's with 'happy birthday'.


I did go out and get 3 yards of burlap at walmart, stenciled the '20' on each end and hot glued the brown check ribbon on each end of the runners. 

 The table cloths are vintage sheets that each had some kind of pretty edging.  You can see I overlapped them.  Yeah, the seam shows.  Exactly no one commented on it.  Here's a tip....I brought with me a spray bottle, filled it with wicked hot water and misted the sheets once they were on the table.  I smoothed them out with my hands.  No wrinkles and no ironing.  It works great with linen too.

 Another of the brass uglies I transformed.  The birds are the famous Dollar Store variety that I sprayed with heirloom white.

Paper napkins and plastic wear tied up with ribbon and jute twine, and stuck in a basket.


We labeled our hot/cold cups.  I found this so adorable.  My hubby is crazy about his girls. :o)


Here she is with the wee little label banner behind her.  Way too small for the area, I tried to beef it up with some brown ribbon bows.  Ah well.  I still thought it was a brilliant idea. *snicker*

Ok, we're obviously out of the land of vignettes...these are just some shots that make me happy, and since it's my blog, I'm putting them here, like it or not. This is my youngest dd.


This is my wacky middle dd who will graduate in the spring.


My beauties. They make a most awesome vignette, no?


My youngest shootin' hoops in the basement.


#5 enjoys some GI Joe action.


My oldest and his dad.  Remove the facial hair and well, the other hair, and you get twins, eh?  My son was born on my husband's 20th birthday...how's that for weird?  He's also named after him.

Horrid pic, but it cracks me up how they stand the same way...it's like a mirror image.  Freaky.

Here's me with the Mom in law.  I love her to death, and she laughs at my jokes.


Ok, one last look...

This is me being Vanna White.  Or not.  My hubby put this on facebook.  Hooray.

 See?  It's not hard to be thrifty but stylish if you use a bit of creativity and steal your own stuff.
Thanks for letting me share my creative endeavors once again, and thanks Miss Donna for hosting a pretty cool party.  Now where did I put my cup?

EDITED to link up to Amy's Finer Things Friday, because celebrating with family and friends is definitely one of the finer things in my life.  And I'm also celebrating a Beautiful Life at Melissa's because I'm so thankful for my family and friends who make my life beautiful in every way!


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