Monday, November 24, 2008

My current obsession.

I scored this while visiting my Mom a few weekends ago. I still drool a bit when I see it in the office. It's ... just ... so ... awesome.

I see a bathroom and I want to paint it ORANGE.

I'll begin with the obligatory apology for such a lapse in posting. Here are some, but not all the reasons; work, family, new computer (hooray!), traveling for the holidays, etc. Please please please don't think that I was purposely ignoring all of you dearies! I wouldn't dream of it.

So, on with the good stuff. I managed to repaint our downstairs bathroom this weekend. I mean with all the oodles of time I have, why not spend some of it painting a room that has already been painted?? This marvelous idea stemmed from an impromptu Target trip where I found this AMAZING shower curtain on sale. At such a steal, I couldn't help myself. But, it just wasn't going to work with my *bright* green bathroom. The only reasonable answer was to use the inspiration I've been receiving via How About Orange, and just paint the room to match the shower curtain!

Here's a shot before ... GAMMA GREEN!

And here are a couple shots after I let loose with some Maple Orange!! Ooooh, even my husband loves it. It's just so warm and inviting. Yum.

We'll be heading out of town for Turkey Day, so I might be off the radar for a few days. But, I promise to jump back on track and get this train a rollin' once again! So, have a great Thanksgiving and happy creating everyone!

PS -- A special shout out to my friend, Jenny. I *promise* to come visit the shop after Turkey Day!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The family that thrifts together, stays together!

Jeff and I went home this past weekend to spend some time with the family and to celebrate my Mom's birthday. We also celebrated the end of a long journey for me ... I passed my licensure exam. All in all, a great weekend!

Of course, there was some thrifting involved. So, first let me introduce you to the posse ...

Mom, the crew's fearless captain

Me, the co-pilot or the one in charge of the Navigon

LeeAnne, an innocent by-stander who claims to have just "married into" the insanity

None of us were on the prowl for anything in particular, but we packed the car full. HOLY COW!! We never even made it out of our small little town. We had to end our excursion, not because we were done, but because there was just no room in the car for more goodies. I had a small ladder sharing the front seat with me. Comfortable? No. But, sometimes it's just what you have to do. Here's the haul ...

Oh, and here's a shot of my loot in all its glory ... I won't even tell you all the STEALS I got. I was not disappointed by the bounty available in good ol' Irmo, SC!!

After visiting my family for the weekend and reveling in some hometown fun, I realized that I owe a lot of my thrifty roots to my Mom. The women in my family all share a common thread of creativity and frugality, and my Mom is no exception. So, thank you to my family -- my heritage, some might say -- for making me part of who I am today.

Happy creating, everyone ...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Check out all my THRIFTY finds!

BOOTY!! No, not a la Destiny's Child. I'm talking major thrift store finds. I've recently been toying around with the idea of starting up a booth a local antique mall. I'm still not 100% on all the details, but I told myself I would keep an eye out for good finds, and slowly cultivate my "booth collection."

So, over the past couple of weeks, I've stopped by some local thrift stores to give the ol' once-over and see what I could find. HOT DAMN! I don't know if it's because I was on the prowl, or if it was just a total fluke, but every thrift store I have been in recently has been teeming with wonderful goodies!!

Check it out ...

There are a few pieces I may keep (including the following 8 tracks; Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack, Janis Joplin's Pearl, Jim Croce's I Got A Name, and The Moody Blues' A Question of Balance).

Oh, and here's one piece that I have already put into use. I wanted to put something above the stove to hold recipes AND of course look pretty. I toyed with the idea of a cork board, but didn't know how well the would hold up against grease and cooking splatters (my husband is a FABULOUS, but messy cook).

Then, one day I was cruising the internet, and stumbled upon a great solution -- a tin platter. I wish I could remember where I found this idea, so that I could give proper credit ... but my brain is worthless right now. So, if you are the originator of "the tin platter as a recipe holder," please step forward and claim your rightful place in Clever-Clever-Land.

All right ya'll, I'm off to bed. Have a great week and as always, happy creating!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pusherman Part Two: Antique stores in Raleigh

Woo Hoo! Time to get back to the Tour de' Raleigh!

This weekend lead me out towards two of my favorite local antique stores. Quickly though, let's refer back to my original posting, and remember what to expect from an "antique store" -- lots of *lovely* items, therefore slightly higher prices. Also, many antique stores are stocked by numerous vendors, hopefully ensuring a wide range of goods. The vendor will rent a small space to sell their belongings, and the store will collect a portion of the vendor's profits. So, now that we know what to expect, let's start the tour.

My first stop was at Thieves Market. Thieves Market is located right off the beltline on New Bern Ave. This antique mall holds over 200+ booths! I'm pretty sure you can find just about anything you are looking for. The staff here are always helpful and very friendly.

This is also a great place to search for furniture. Every time I have been, I have noticed an abundance of fantastic furniture pieces. I will say this store tends to lean more towards 30's/40's/50's shabby chic. It's not exploding with many mid-century pieces or funky knickknacks, but do not let that dissuade you from exploring. I'm almost positive you won't walk out empty-handed!

Enjoy a few snippets from my visit ...

My next stop was at Gresham Lake Antiques. This little gem is located in North Raleigh, off of Capital Boulevard. Gresham Lake is another very large antique mall with 80+ booths. I adore the staff here -- these ladies always give me a good laugh and are super helpful.

I feel like this antique mall has a wider variety of dealers -- 30's/40's ephemera, 60's/70's kitsch, and even one dealer with a vast array of salt and pepper shakers. Gresham tends to be a bit lean on larger furniture, but they do have pieces sprinkled throughout the store.

A quick glance of some various booths ...

So, if you find yourself with some free time on a weekend afternoon, first, tell me how you managed to score some free time, and then make your way out to one of these antique malls. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Controlling the clutter

We have very little storage in either of our bathrooms. However, in the hallway next to the bathroom upstairs, we have a small little closet the houses most of our toiletries and various bathroom sundries. I tried my best to organize it using baskets and boxes, but it is hard to make 50+ bottles of various shapes and sizes appear "put together."

Enter a favorite thrift store find -- the card catalog. I had posted a while back that I had scored a small card catalog from Hidden Treasures. I had originally thought it would be home to some kind of crafting supplies. But, as I was hauling the catalog upstairs, the idea occurred to me that it could solve my organizational dilemma in the bathroom closet. And in fact, it did.

Keep on creating y'all!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Estate Sale? Check.

First, my apologies for such a long break in posting. I've been sick for about 2 1/2 weeks now. My doctor said I had a viral infection that gave way to a bacterial infection. Basically it adds up to feeling like crapola for the last two weeks. But ...

All thanks to a little encouragement from Vintage Rescue Squad, I decided to embark on my first ever estate sale. I skimmed craigslist to find a local sale. Bingo! There was one not too far from the house, in a pretty nice neighborhood, and it had a billiards lamp for sale.

This was the first thing I saw on Saturday morning. What the hell-o am I thinking? But, onward and upward (even if in the dark), with my loving and supportive husband in tow.

We arrived about ten minutes after the sale began, and there were people already leaving the sale! Geesh -- some people are serious. I immediately made a beeline for the "playroom" and spotted the pool table (with a price) and the billiards lamp (without a price). I inquired about the lamp. A nice older gentleman went to ask someone, who asked someone else, who asked someone else -- the lamp was not for sale. DRAT.

Oh well, we had trucked all this way and we were going to make the most of it. We turned around to begin exploring the rest of the room and we both laid eyes on this -- a pristine music cabinet housing a turntable, 8-track player, and stereo.

Price? 20-freaking-dollars. Yes, please. Jeff snagged the ticket and we made our way through the rest of the house. (BTW -- we now possess the ability to play any form of music media. Records, tapes, 8-tracks, cds, ipods -- BRING IT ON!)

The house ended up being in a very nice neighborhood. All the items in the house were in good/great condition -- some of the pieces were unbelievably GORGEOUS!! This made for a mix of prices. Some of the items were very high -- like the full-size headboard for $550. Some of the items were very modestly priced -- as in, all the items I picked up. Here's a snapshot of our bounty.

Mirror tray (I have been looking for one of these), set of 10 glass coasters, plant stand, framed flower pressing, a hand stitched throw pillow, and a nut chopper for my husband.

All in all, I would say this was a great experience and I am definitely motivated to do it again. Although, I'm not so sure my honey will be joining me again ... he doesn't do mornings.

Happy creating everyone!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Chairs, chairs, and more chairs!!

A plague o' both your houses ... Jeff and I are at home sick. Ick. I know this may sound rather obvious, but being sick totally sucks. I had sort of forgotten about it, since it has been a while since I've had a head cold.

We did manage to get out on Saturday for a bit (before the illness took hold). A trip to American Way Thrift turned into a gold mine. I'll go ahead and apologize for the lack of pictures for this post, but remember I'm sick.

We found a totally awesome old-school Coleman cooler in great shape for $2.00. It looks really similar to this one -- same color, but minus some of the scratches and dings.

We also got a great chair for the office. I've been wanting to exchange our office chair for something a bit more stylish. We found a great old rolley-style chair with a sweet metal base and fabric that blends perfectly with our darker office colors. Score.

One major find was this old school recliner Jeff spied. It was in decent shape -- it had a smooth recline, the foot rest sprung out without snagging, but it did have some mysterious spots on it. I figured we could try and clean it, but worse-case-scenario would be having to replace the seat cover or carefully placing a throw in just the right position. So we brought it home.

I could shoot myself for not taking a before picture, but oh well. Halfway into "redesigning" the armrests, I snapped this shot. Most of the spots had already been removed using some carpet/fabric cleaner. But, you can see the original armrests and some buttons missing.

It was time for me to take this bad boy on! In true make-over fashion, my first plan failed and I went through many trials and errors. I wanted to recover the armrests, but one was kind of flimsy, so I just scrapped them both. I found some extra padding in my craft room, and fashioned new fluffy armrests with a cloth napkin I had purchased to make a pillow (but never did).

Next were the buttons. Jeff and I did a bit of research learning how best to reupholster the buttons. Oh, here's a pretty good explanation on the basics of reupholster a chair. I'm skipping all the details of the button ordeal, but you can find a fabulous explanation here. It's not as difficult as you might think. I covered the buttons (some were originals from the chair and some I had in my supply cabinet) with matching fabric that I used on the armrest -- one because I thought it would look really great, and two because I needed a way to make a matching set of nine.

After much debate about where to place our new friend, we settled with a slight re-arrangment in our office/library. We now have a new cozy corner to work and read. I love it ... Jeff does too.

Happy creating, y'all ...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Designing small spaces -- Paint a stairway

Since we moved into our current home, I have always wanted to do something to the staircase. It's challenging to decorate -- the walls and ceiling are high making it difficult to paint, it's also fairly narrow making it too small to hang lots of pictures/prints. So what to do??

There's TONS of inspiration out there. Tile. Wallpaper. Mosaic. Paint. Numbers. Hooked Rugs?

My first thought was to tile the riser. Then, I moved on to wallpaper. We looked a several styles of wallpaper, but to quote Jeff, "we just never pulled the trigger on this mo-fo." Well, leave it to another late night to get motivated to do something.

The before.

The ACE design team on the project included Jeff, me, and our friend Joe. After many different design options, we decided to go with a sunburst effect using various colors from around the house. Joe pushed hard for a flower and sun sketch, but I thought a more basic design would be easier to execute. Here's the design board.

We lined the stairs with rope to be our guide lines for the burst. We started to paint away!! Not long into the process, we realized that perhaps our genius idea had been encouraged a bit by our libations. Our two-dimensional guide lines going over the three-dimensional stair case didn't translate so well. Crap.

At this point, it was time to go back to the drawing board, and my ACE design team is fading fast ... they are both two winks away from passing out on the couch. This project was quickly moving away from fun-times-decorating-late-at-night to I-F@#&ing-want-to-stab-my-eyes-out-with-this-paint-brush. So what's a girl to do? Well, that I night I decided to just go to bed.

The next morning, I woke up hoping to feel a bit more refreshed and encouraged. I took one quick look at the stairs and longed to leap back in time so I could smack myself before embarking on this catastrophe journey. The weekend was quickly fading and I needed to pump something out here ... and FAST! So I decided to take the easy way out, and just paint the riser one solid shade of blue ... a blue that I ADORE (it's the color of my bathroom).

The after.

Oooh, here's a nice shot that shows how the blue stairs transition into the blue bathroom. I really liked how that turned out. Another perk of the painted stairs is how lovely it looks when walking DOWN the stairs. We have a mirror that hangs over the staircase and it's like a little surprise to take in a burst a color on the way down.

I hope this inspires you to add a little touch of style somewhere in your house. It doesn't have to be as involved as this. Hang a new picture. Buy some fresh cut flowers. Add a colorful pillow to your living room. You might be surprised how much of an impact a little something extra can make in any room.

Happy creating everyone ...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reuphostler the easy way -- just change out some fabric

Remember awhile back I said I picked up to great chairs from American Way Thrift ? Well, here they are. Total cost=$12.00. With a deal like that, you just can't say no.

So, I took them home and had my way with them. During the chair striptease, I learned that these chairs were from the local school district (of which I worked at for a couple of years). Neato.

O.M.G. I completely forgot to tell you about this AMAZING store located right next to Hidden Treasures. It's called Gladys African Fabrics & Food. It has *TONS* of gorgeous bright batik printed fabric, foods and drinks, and even some handmade traditional garments. Gladys wasn't too keen on my taking pictures of the place, so you'll just have to take my word on it that the fabrics are heavenly. Here's the print I picked for the chairs.

And now they reside in our bedroom, flanking each side of our dresser. Ahhh ... just lovely.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Nothin' sweeter than a handmade mobile (except iced tea in the south)

Here's a quicky for ya.

I was lucky enough to get to spend a long weekend at a friend's GORGEOUS beach house last month. It was heavenly -- what a lovely getaway. The rule of the beach house is not to pay for your stay, but to get a little something for the house to add to its charm.

In true Jennifer fashion, I could not settle with the thought of giving them something store-bought ... this needed to be more from the heart. So, I collected several shells, a few branches of drift wood, and put it all together with some fishing line ...

TADA!! A lovely shell mobile to say thanks for such a great weekend. Funny side note -- as I was going to hang it up, it dropped to the ground. Eek. No one was with me, but from the other room I could hear "aaaawwwwhhh" -- the shock felt around the beach house! Nothing too bad resulted from the fall, so up it went. I loved it ... and my friends did too!

Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm your Pusherman -- A guide to some Raleigh thrift spots

My apologies for leaving you for a bit. Work has been a bit busier and my parents came for a lovely visit. So, without further adieu ...

I decided to take you all on a "tour" of Raleigh thrift/antique stores. Today, we'll be taking a trip to three local thrift stores -- Cause for Paws, American Thrift, and Hidden Treasures.

First though, let me take a minute to discuss the difference between "antique stores" and "thrift stores." Antique stores are normally filled with various vendors who scour local yard sales, dumpster dive, refurnish pieces, etc. This all adds up to walking into an antique store and being inundated with lovely and delightful goodies, but with prices that reflect the work that has gone into bringing them into their current state of being. Your typical thrift store is often filled with donations, castaways, odds and ends, pairs missing their mates, pieces that could use a fresh coat of paint, etc. Therefore, wading through a sea of crap things to find those diamonds in the rough (some rougher than others) is an essential part to the thrift store experience. So my dears, please keep this information in mind when embarking on your next excursion.

Now, on with the show ...

Cause for PAWS was "created with a mission of helping non-profit organizations that promote animal welfare, especially no-kill organizations." Check out their website for more information or to learn how to donate. Since their beginning, they have grown to establish three stores located in downtown Raleigh, north-east(ish) Raleigh, and Zebulon.

I frequent both the Raleigh locations, but have not been to the Zebulon location. You can find a WIDE variety of items at Cause for PAWS -- furniture, clothing, knickknacks, rugs, exercise equipment, etc. They often run "sales" through out the week. Depending on the day, you could get 20% for being a lady, because you're buying furniture, or it's the first day of the month! Here's a sample of my last visit...

Directly across the street from Cause for Paws' Crabtree St. location, you'll find American Way Thrift. This thrift store donates their proceeds to the NC Children's Hospital. Seriously, who doesn't want to help out little sick children?? It's almost like your civic duty to shop here at some point. They have local stores in Raleigh and Garner, but are also located in Durham and Fayetteville. Check out their website for more information or to donate!

Here's a quick snippet from my last visit (where I also scored two totally sweet side chairs that I've since refinished -- pictures to come) ....

The final store on this tour is a new kid on the block (yes, they are back). Hidden Treasures is located in north(ish) Raleigh. I found my way to their little secluded cove by way of craigslist. They had posted an *amazing* wood-carved (I believe teak) lamp with a red velvet shade. Hotness? Yes please. So, I called my neighbor, a fellow thrifter-in-crime, and we made the five minute journey on over to Hidden Treasures. We were both delighted to see quality goods, reasonable prices, and friendly staff. I walked away with a bevy of booty that included a library card catalog. Oh Dewey Decimal, how I miss you!

Here's a quick peek at some of their wares (see if you can spot the killer lamp I was telling you about) ...

PHEW! My goodness, what a tour. I'm wiped out for now. I promise this will not be the last guide tour of the local thrift/antique scene. Stay tuned for more editions and of course happy creating everyone ...