“Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.” Chinese Proverb
With the change of seasons, I find myself emotionally winding down, stopping and smelling the flowers and lounging on the couch reading. I feel blessed to have an outside room where I can relax and spend my time reading or relaxing with my husband and boys. When we bought this house we had been looking for close to a year to find a house that not only suited our needs but the needs of my mother-in-law who resides with us. I remember stepping up on the front deck, breathing in the surroundings and I turned to our real estate agent and said, “I’m sold!” Jeff was his name and he said “I’ll believe it when I see it because you guys have blown off every house I’ve shown you.” Stepping on the deck, I knew we were going to live there and sure enough the whole house worked and we made an offer right there and then.
I didn’t have any furniture for the front deck so I used what I had and bought a cheap bench but it was not the space I was visually inhaling that first day I stepped on the deck. My thrifty ways fixed that and I created a little paradise outside my front door. I broke down the cost in summer bring it on. For just under $600.00, I created an outdoor living space that we all love and fulfilled the vision I had when I first stepped on the deck. Last year I added another addition, a wrought Iron cafe set. I’ve been wanting a small wrought iron cafe set for a few years but refused to pay the price. Thrifting paid off as I found a set during one of my thrift hunts and paid $60.00 for a table, two chairs and cushions. The store owner wanted a $100.00 and I only had $60.00 in my wallet. I offered him $50.00 and he seemed insulted, so I offered him all the cash in my wallet. The owner stood on one foot, then the other and scratched his head and he said $75.00. “No I’ve only got 60 bucks take or leave it.” He took it and I was able to complete my vision for my outside room.
For my $600.00 investment we are rewarded with family time, reading time, sleeping time, lounging time, wine time and breakfast time. I grow herbs and lettuce in pots and as I sit on the couch sipping my beverage; lemon balm, mint and sage fill my senses as I dive into the world of time travel, romance, mystery, detectives and criminals, paranormal, history, espionage and biographies.
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!
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!
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..