I can’t think of anything I enjoy more than to sit down with a good book and get completely lost in the characters. Once after reading a really good book, I confessed to a friend that I was mourning the characters and wondering if I would meet them again. My friend stopped, touched my arm and in a voice full of concern said to me “but they are not real!” My friend is also a brilliant scientist with many degrees and she’s never read a fiction book, her nose is always buried in science journals. I said to her “you must pick up a fiction book and let yourself get taken away.” On the home front I have books all over the house, I love the look and smell of books. Both my husband and I read as much as we can, proving difficult sometimes when we are running here and there. I always bring a book to my children’s hockey practice and sit in a cold rink and read for an hour. My youngest son told me that I wasn’t a hockey mom, I was a bookworm mom- like it’s a bad thing. My oldest son reads all the time and it’s never been a problem peaking his interest at the library. It’s a little more work to peak my youngest son’s interest – sports, more sports and he’s not interested in sitting for any length of time to read. However, when he discovered “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” he would sit down with the book and not move until he read it from front to back. To accommodate family reading, I created two reading corners in the house. Not having a lot of money to buy fancy things I put it all together from thrift stores, Ikea, a moving sale and I even found a floor lamp in my neighbour’s garbage. I have a little pride so I sent my son across the street to get it – nothing wrong with it and free works for me. Both reading corners cost me $140.99 – if you count the .99 cent Pier import pillow I picked up from the Salvation Army still showing the original price tag of $44.95. I hope these pictures inspire you to create your own corner, everyone needs their own space to sit and dive into ancient worlds, romantic worlds, detective worlds, world of vampires and werewolves or a wimpy kid’s world.
The two brown chairs cost me $15.00 each, the little table in-between I found in my garage, the two little coffee tables were $5.00 each at Ikea. The word “Love” is written in many different languages on the tables – can’t argue with that. I adore the added touch of Elvis on my $5.00 table – makes it priceless. The Chaise Lounge in the living room cost me $100.00. I bought it from my friend’s sister who is downsizing. I’ve always wanted a chaise lounge but did not want to fork out the money. The real meaning of thrifting is patience. The flowered pillow shown on the chaise lounge is a thrifted .99 cent Pier One Import pillow. The Sweet Peas are free from my garden. The real value of my $140.99 is shown in the last picture – my youngest son sitting in the chaise lounge reading. He’s usually allergic to reading but he loves that corner!
Finally, the last few days we’ve had deck weather. Weather so beautiful, we can sit in our outdoor room that I created. Love our front deck and while thrifting this past January, I found the perfect four piece furniture set to make the outside space a true paradise. We sit out there with our morning coffee, our afternoon tea and sip our after dinner drinks watching the boys play roller hockey well into the evening with the added touch of the glowing candle lighting from the lanterns. Summer – I can hardly wait until the boys finish their Spring hockey so I can really have lazy weekends on the front deck.. No don’t say it, I know you’re thinking it, by the time I can laze around it will be raining – bad thought – go away. Below is a collage of our front room – everything you see I thrifted – from the plaques on the wall – $2.50 each at Salvation Army, picture frame – 10 cents at Salvation Army. Tray and white planter on coffee table – $3.00 at Salvation Army. Green couch, chairs and coffee table(beautiful wicker set) – $480.00 at Bibles for Missions, outside lanterns – $2.50 a piece on sale at winners(not thrifted but a thrifted price), unique round plant stand – $5.00 – garage sale, everything you see on the unique round plant stand – garage sale – all $1.00 – $2.00. Picture behind the couch(looking for the right hook to hang it up)$5.00 – Value Village, Curtains( 5 panels – covers whole deck) Cheap material shower curtains(won’t rot in the rain) $9.00 per panel – used seven panels to make the curtains just under $65.00. All in all, I spent just over $570.00 and the biggest expense was $480.00 for the outdoor furniture. Living on the cheap and loving it. Double click on the picture below for a better view.
Now if you got here thinking you would see naked old men, I’m sorry to have disappointed you. Vintage balls as in Vintage Christmas balls. I saw in “Life as a thrifter” an interesting idea what you could do with Vintage Christmas decorations and I was thrilled to realize that I had already come up with my own unique idea using everything I had in the house. I really did – Life a s thrifter did not inspire me, I came up with this idea all by myself. I have a little vintage corner as you see below:
A few vintage items mixed in with a new modern Ikea lamp sitting on top of a vintage sewing machine. I decided to hang a few vintage balls, my mom used on our Christmas tree when I was a child, on an un-used jewellery stand I had hanging around my room. I think it looks pretty good – I didn’t have to spray paint anything just hung the balls! Mind you, I do like the silver colour “Life as a thrifter” chose for her project…mmmm.. .. Maybe next year…Enjoy….
I enjoy thrifting but have to admit that it’s hard for me to see beyond what I’m seeing. There are people out there who can look at a piece of junk furniture or an item like a sheet and design something fabulous. Not me – the sheet stays the sheet and the junk furniture stays the junk furniture. But I admire people who possess the kind of talent that can create something from nothing. I follow a blog called “Life as a thrifter” and this lady does some pretty amazing things with junk or forgotten items. When the boys were young, like all children, they loved to hide and pretend they were away at a camp or in a fort. I remember using an old sheet and moving a table to the middle of the room and draping the sheet over the table so the boys could create a fort under the table. Kept them busy for hours, they played lego under the table, they read books under the table and they also made the fort home base for hide and seek. Now I thought I was pretty imaginative but take a look what “life as a thrifter” did with a sheet to make a fort – can’t believe I never thought of this one because the damn sheet would never stay on the table and being me I duct taped the sheet to stay in place, which only lasted so long! All pictures are from life as a thrifter as I don’t possess the kind of talent to take these pictures!
“Life as a thrifter” check it out. My boys are too old now for this amazing fort but for those of you who still have young children what a treat…
Now that we’re home from our skiing trip, the weekend is full of hockey. Last weekend of hockey for the season and then lacrosse starts. Both the boys are in tournaments and the tournaments are in opposite ends of the city, so my hubbie goes one way and I go the other. The rink that I took my son to this morning is a small rink in a small town. I’ve been there at least a dozen times but I never noticed the little Salvation Army all tucked in behind bushes on the corner right by the arena. Caught my eye this morning on the way home from the game, slammed on my brakes and went roaring into the parking lot – much to the joys of the driver behind me. For that matter my son too – “mom are you crazy, what are you doing?” “I can’t believe I never noticed this Salvation Army here!” “Oh great” my son groans “we’re gonna be here forever.” “Nope not forever but we have several hours between games, perfect.” So above you can see the beautiful yellow shirt, caught my eye because the weather is starting to co-operate and it looks like we might get some Spring and I need some colour back in my wardrobe – for $3.00 I’ll take all the yellow… The plaid shirt, I just love plaid shirts together with a pair of comfy jeans to hang about – take a look at the detail in the back fleu -de lis, sequins and all. Love it and for $3.00 love it even more…
I love canvas bags you can wear criss-cross over your shoulder – don’t have one – want one – found one today – $2.50…why pay more?
Last but not least – I have this old arborite table from the 60’s that I scored from my mother-in-law’s basement of goodies. I knew I was on to a good thing when I saw the exact same table featured as good design in “Style at Home” magazine. I paired mine with some funky Ikea chairs and because the table is small I moved it to the middle of my family room- kitchen. It looks great, but the problem is the area where the table is situated is not meant to for a table as there is no light in the ceiling. I’ve got a floor lamp nearby to give some light, but I came up with the idea to get a battery operated little lamp as I can’t have an electrical plug running across the table. Could not find one – found one today – $2.50 and it’s the cutest thing – love it – don’t think I’ll ever shop like a normal person again – then again maybe I’m shopping like a normal person and everyone else is not!
Table was free – benefit of having a mother-in-law who keeps everything and gladly gave it to me. I have seen this table or close to it for as much as $200.00 – $300.00 in antique stores. I’ve got a few other antiques around the house as well – another post – another time. Wishing everyone happy thrifting!
A little while back I found a quote on studiolightblue – “Let me ask you something, what is not art?” Love that quote because it says it all. You just have to have a love for beauty to admire art and everyone knows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder! I love art and I know what I like, but I don’t have money to invest nor the knowledge to have an expert opinion. I do have a few good framed prints but my favourite framed art is my children’s’ art:
If you click on the cross to take a closer look, you will see that the whole cross, including Jesus, is made out of clothes pegs! The innocence in children’s art can’t be bought. Beside showing off your children’s art, framing your child’s art is truly debt free decorating. I also love photos and enjoy having photos of my family around. Pictures from my grandparents’ day up to pictures of my parenting days! I like to surround myself with happy reminders and what better way to do that than frame photos. I created the space below on a small wall – picked six of my all time favourite pictures:
I also created a wall of old timers, a group of pictures showing past generations. I like to show my children that a time existed before they were even thought of, for that matter before my husband and I were thought of!
Finally, before I got married I mentioned to a friend that I really liked Caillebotte’s “The Floor Planers” (Les raboteurs de parquet). For a wedding gift she bought the print and had it framed. I loved the gift, so personal and I hold the gesture close to my heart. Something about men without shirts on working – no, no, it’s the brush strokes and detail! Seriously, I think my fondness for this picture is because Caillebotte had the nerve to show workers – something artists would not do during his time as this was not considered good taste. Caillebotte’s floor planers shocked or rather rocked the socialites of the day – they called it “vulgar subject matter.” Good for you Gustave!
Here’s the thing, according to the various home design magazines my house is poorly decorated. During the week, very little is in its place, laundry sits on a table in the family room until I have time to put it away, my children leave a trail of their shoes, jackets, roller blades, helmets and general sports gear leading from the front door to the family room. You might find dishes in the sink, clean dishes not put away, never-the-less not magazine perfect. All of my furniture is either hand-me-downs, antiques (not even mine – belong to my mother-in-law) and thrift store deals. The odd time I’ve found some energy and repainted a table or two, it’s a rare occasion, furniture usually comes as is in my house.
I don’t get Martha Stewart’s magazine but I do get Canadian Style At Home magazine, a Christmas gift from a good friend, orders a subscription for me every year. I really like the magazine but there was a time my husband would cringe when he saw the magazine in the pile of mail. He would see me flipping through the beautiful pages and sure enough I would start not being as happy with my surroundings, I’d want this change, this needs to be painted, I really want the old kitchen out and a new Ikea kitchen in and then try to figure out how we could afford it all. When reality set in that I couldn’t afford it, I’d go about my business as usual until the next month and then I would start my rant all over again. There have been times when the magazine inspired me to do good things but mostly I would focus on the things I didn’t have rather than be thankful for what I did have. Somewhere along the line it all changed and I think I know precisely the time the change occurred. I’ve written about the time with my mother while she was sick with Alzheimer’s in Connections, it was during this time and her death that the changes in me took place. My mother was always incredibly fussy about her house, she cleaned like a mad woman. When I was a teenager she worked full-time and cleaned all weekend. She would be really bitchy if things weren’t in order and weekends could just be a drag. One of the first things I noticed wrong with my mother, before Alzheimer’s was diagnosed, was that she stopped doing housework and didn’t seem to care about cleaning at all. As we realized her condition and we were living in the same city, I would split my time between cleaning my place and running over to her apartment to clean her place as well. In between all that my husband was working midnight shift, I was working day shift, and juggling the boys. Phew – stopped breathing just thinking about how stressful those days were. The point to all of this is that my mom was so particular about her house now fast forward to her funeral and people talked about how kind-hearted she was, nice person she was and how funny she was, but not one person mentioned how clean or nice her house was! The thought struck me on the plane ride coming home from the funeral, I thought I’m worried that I might have a lot of housework, who cares. From that day forward I’ve been different, it’s not like I let my house get out of control but I don’t feel the same pressing need to have everything perfect. It’s an exhausting thing being perfect, Martha Stewart must be unconscious from exhaustion. For me I try to get my boys and husband to do more to help me, but no more do I worry about everything being picked up every single minute, can’t do it. Hopefully, when I die my children will have so many fond memories and I hope they forget my perfect always tense stage and remember all the smiles and laughs we had.
Lately I’ve been de-cluttering. Painting the pumpkin room has led to cleaning and getting rid of the clutter. I had too much stuff in that room and once I calmed the colour I needed to calm the clutter. I’ve made several trips to the Salvation Army and I said to my husband “we could of had a really profitable garage sale with all the stuff we’ve gotten rid of.” He said “we’ve been so blessed with what has been given to us” and he reminisced to the time we found out we were pregnant with our first child. We looked at cribs and baby furniture and marvelled how we would afford it all. Out of the blue this man that my husband knew from his past, called him up and said we’ve got baby furniture and if you and your wife want it you can have it. He gave us a perfectly good crib and changing table and wouldn’t take a cent. My neighbour got a new couch and gave me her old one, my mother-in law gave me quite a few antique pieces and many other people have given us things. We have saved a lot of money on furniture. My husband’s right, we need to spread the wealth. That couch that my neighbour gave me a few years ago really had to go and I’ve thinking about replacing it, when out of the blue a girlfriend of mine tells me she’s getting rid of couch and do I want it? Today we finished putting the pumpkin room back together and took many boxes, an old coffee table and the old couch to the Salvation Army. While there I had to take a browse through the store and it was packed with browsers. It was 50% off day and people were buying everything. I found five Ikea dishes that I currently use as my everyday set and I paid $4.00 for all five, I usually pay $3.50 a piece. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted a new canister set for my counter. I saw something in a tupperware brochure and the ones I wanted were $54.00 for a set of 5. I took a browse through Value village and there I found two canisters very similar to the tupperware ones. $1.00 a piece. I looked around a little more and found a few more canisters that I mixed and matched with the tupperware wanna be’s! The whole set cost me $8.00.
Of course while I was there I found a few other things too!
A scarf, some jewellery, a pair of ski gloves for one of the boys, a couple of frames plus the canister set – all for just under $50.00. I’m not knocking tupperware, the product is very good but Value Village gave me more bang for my buck.
Around Christmas time my husband got a great deal at Value Village that saved me quite a bit of money. I have a beautiful nativity scene by Willow Tree and I wanted the manger to complete the set. I looked at a Willow Tree manger in the store and it was over $120.00. I couldn’t justify paying that so I resolved to having a nativity scene without the manger. My husband and mother-in law went to Value Village one day and came home with a manger for $2.00 – big savings there!
Looks so much more complete with the manger – Willow’s did not have a palm tree!
There is so much good karma in thrifting. You get rid of something you really don’t want only to be someone else’s treasure and that someone else’s throw-aways become your treasure. To top it all off if you want to get rid of any of your treasures – back to the thrift store you go only to delight someone else – you can’t feel guilty about that. So go ahead spread the wealth!
It’s done – I’ve sent the great big pumpkin room to a room in the great big sky! Gone forever, although I have to appreciate that the great big pumpkin served it’s purpose for my need of bright colour at that time of my life. I now want something soothing, relaxing a place where I can breathe – think I’m getting old. I posted So Inspired as I was inspired by the Schmitt house. Cara does deserve a medal though she did all the work herself. I was all set to paint the room and trying to figure out how I was going to fit it in to my already busy weekend schedule and then my girlfriend told me she hired a painter. Got the painter in to give me a quote and hired him on the spot. I’m not use to hiring someone for something I can do, but have to say it was worth every penny – done in one day! Would of taken me two weeks! Here are the results – I’m still trying to get the room back together:
Pumpkin – gone, gone!
Still trying to figure out what pictures to bring back -has to be the right one!
Gone is the lego battleship!
Not Better Home and Gardens but it works for my family. My son’s artwork framed – can’t get much cheaper than that!
Bought this baby at Salvation Army for $24.00 – painting it white – I’ll show results when it’s finished! Good productive weekend at this house!
Recently I’ve come across a few blogs about thrifting and what people can do with a $1.00 item to spruce up their house. Life as a thrifter shares so many wonderful ideas for decorating on on a budget and everything she does looks completely unique and chic. The Schmitt House has inspired me to re-paint my family room which has just thrilled my husband to pieces – I’m including him in the plans and the work! Cara Schmitt painted a feature wall red and she loved it when she first painted it but grew tired of it. I fell in love with the colour terra cotta 5 years ago and decided to paint our kitchen and family room this colour. My husband told me in 5 years I would tire of the colour, here we are 5 years later and I’m tired of of the colour. He’s right and I’m wrong – betcha Cara’s husband told her the same thing. I’m adding another category to my blog – thrifting and what I do with my finds. I’ll start out with my living room – I’m going to paint my pumpkin room and show before and after pics. Here’s a few before pics of the pumpkin room – don’t hold your breath for the after pics – it may be a while.
Cara thought her mantle was busy – take a look at this – I’m not even sure how this happened – there is still a Christmas decoration up there and how about that lego ship – my son decided it looked pretty good up there along with the art he drew and shaped into a ball… Keep you posted..