Who's Afraid of a Little Spray Paint?

A few weeks ago my neighborhood had it's annual community garage sale.  Brent and I loaded up the kids and spent the morning driving around.  (I have to say how much I love that my husband does this stuff with me.  I hunt for house stuff, he hunts for bike stuff or camping stuff, and we are both happy.  I love a man who humors his wife!)  

We drove past a house with two of these urns for sale.  I have been hunting for a pair of these for months!

It was actually a friend of  mine who was selling them.  I asked her why, and she said they were from her old house and didn't match the new house colors.  I said to her, "Amanda!  Spray paint!"  But my friend Amanda, by her own admission, is not a crafty kind of girl.  Her loss is my gain!

I wanted an aged kind of look, so I started with spray painting a reddish-brown on the urns.  Then I went over it with black.  The effect is kind of hard to see in the photos, but I think it looks weathered, with some brown peeking through the black, which is just what I wanted!

Now, as usual, my biggest challenge is going to be keeping these plants alive all summer!

Gotta love what a little spray paint can do!  Amanda is coming to my house this week for our book club...wonder if she'll want these back now?


Thoughts on Thrifting

My sister said to me the other day, "You always find the best stuff at garage sales!"  Well, recently that seems to be true, but I guess what goes around, comes around, right?  For every time that I score some really cool new thing, there are many, many more times when I walk away empty-handed.

I think that's an important part of shopping (Ah, how do I put this?) "vintage."  Stuff at garage sales and thrift stores is cheap!  So why not buy it, right?  Sometimes that's true.  If I find something that I think I might use someday, and it's a good price, I will usually snap it up.  (The Nester had a great post on this recently, and I totally agree with her theories!)  But I have to balance it with asking myself "Do I really like this, or do I like this because it's cheap?"  "Where and how will I use this right now?"  (This is for my husband's benefit.  His blood pressure rises every time I put something else in the basement that "I can't use now but was such a great deal I had to buy it and we'll use it in the next house!")

That being said, there are times when you find something that you've been looking for, or that you know exactly how you want to use.  I love that feeling!  It's like a little victory against the big (and undeniably sexy) home stores that allow you to buy a whole room ("I'll take page 37 in Pottery Barn catalog, thank you very much!") with one credit card swipe.  I doubt I will ever be in a tax bracket where I can do that.  But lately I've been wondering: even if I could just buy everything new and perfect and pretty and shiny, with no elbow grease or spray paint, would I enjoy it?  

See, for me at least, a lot of it is about the project itself.  The hunt, the imagination it takes to bring something back from ugly.  And to do it without spending a ton of cash.  Would any of us trade that feeling of victory for an unlimited bank account to redecorate?  Some days I definitely would!  But ultimately I prefer the thrill of the chase.  How about you?

OK, enough ranting.  Let me show you a few goodies I have found lately!  Below is a gorgeous old leather ottoman.  It was sitting under a pile of old blankets at a garage sale and I "casually" (I think I am so sly) asked if it was for sale.  The 18-year-old kid in charge of the sale ran into the house to ask, and came back out to say "Yeah, $5."  I almost choked on my coffee!  You have never seen anyone pull out a $5 bill faster than I did!  :)  A little leather cleaner and a cozy blanket on top of this guy was all it needed.

Next up is this kooky wire basket.  I saw it at my local antique shop, sitting outside with the other yard stuff.  It was only $8 and I thought it would be perfect for magazines, fluffy white towels in the bathroom, or about a million other things.  

Next...oh, I am really excited about this!  I had been eyeing those cool, vintage fans like this one at Restoration Hardware.  But for $209 or more?  I'll just stick my head in the freezer, thanks!  But then I spotted this guy at a garage sale, and the woman told me it used to be her mother's, and that it sat in some kind of "domino hall" in Denver for years and years.  I was sold because it's the perfect color, shape, and actually still works!  Do you want to know what I paid for it?  $5!  Seriously?  Who needs Restoration Hardware?

And because it's not all fun and games around here, I'll show you one more little item.  Can't say I am as excited about actually using this, but nevertheless...Girls, this elliptical machine was $10!  It's an older model but it works perfectly!  Notice how it's in my basement rather than the pretty part of the house.  I might need to glue gun some fabric to it just to entice myself to get working!

Now, go out and get you some bargains!

P.S. A few people have asked me where I go thrift store shopping here in Denver.  My two favorite Goodwill shops are located 1) on Leetsdale Ave. and 2) on the corner of County Line and Broadway.  Just check out Goodwill Denver's website for locations.  Maybe I will see some of you there! 


Boxwood Wreath Ripoff

*Updated to add: St. Michael's Wife asked me if I made the doormat in the bottom photo.  Wish I could say yes, but it was a birthday present from my mom.  You can get your own from Williams-Sonoma here!

Well, since you liked that last post so much, how about we rip off another big and beautiful home store today?  Anyone like Ballard Designs?  Me too!  I stare and stare at their catalog every time it comes in the mail, and actually just placed an order there the other day.  So it doesn't count if I want to rip off their boxwood wreath, does it?

Image from BallardDesigns.com

Actually, this is a Christmas wreath, so it's not available now anyway.  But I wanted something new for my front door, and I saw a styrofoam square wreath form on clearance the other day at Michael's.  Hobby Lobby was selling greenery for 50% off last week.  Coincidence? 

I know, I know, I have been on a wreath kick lately!  But I am not really good at gardening and, you know, generally keeping plants alive.  Wreaths are a great way for me to add greenery to my house without the "dead plant factor" coming into play!

I won't give you another tutorial on this wreath, because I basically hot glue gunned my way through it, just like I did here.  But be sure and let me know if you try it!


Shamelessly Copying Pottery Barn

I love this wreath from Pottery Barn, don't you?  The colors are so pretty!  It is no longer for sale on their website, though.  And let's be honest: we are just a hot glue gun and a visit to Michael's away from creating our own version of this!

image from PotteryBarn.com

So here's my wreath and glue gun, waiting for action:

And a bunch of reindeer moss I bought at Wal*Mart:

A few hours later...

And lest you think that we have it all together at our house, here's a wider shot of where the wreath hangs:

Want to come help me wash my dishes?  :)


Monogram Fun!

Happy Friday everyone!  It is gorgeous here in Colorado today, my mom is in town to celebrate Mother's Day with us, and life is good!  I hope you are looking forward to a fun weekend too!

A few weeks ago I asked you about this toy chest.  My husband and I had painted it white and fixed it up for Nina, but it seemed like it was missing something.

The question was whether or not to paint Nina's name on it.  You all are geniuses!  Many people suggested adding her monogram, and I loved that idea!  So, yesterday during nap time, I pulled out the paint, and here is the result. 

I love how it looks.  It's the first time I've done Nina's monogram on something and it is so pretty.  Basically I used the same technique that I used here.  First, I printed out the letters from Word in the size I wanted.  Then I traced them onto the toy chest using graphite paper (found at Michael's), then used a teeny-tiny paintbrush and a toothpick to paint the letters.  If you get up close to it, the paint isn't perfectly smooth, but who cares?  I love it!

So, as usual, thank you for your thoughtful advice.  Happy Mother's Day and have a great weekend!


The Cutest T-Shirts Ever!

*Updated to add: Many of you have asked what program I used to create my images.  It was Scrapblog!  If you've been around here for awhile, you will know my obsession with this free website where you can create cool scrapbooks.  Notice I don't actually create scrapbooks.  :)  But I do create Christmas cards, birth announcements, blog headers, and, now, t-shirt designs.  Just create your image and save as a .jpg file.  Then you can print using Melissa's instructions.  Enjoy!

Want to see my new favorite find?  Melissa at 320 Sycamore did a tutorial about iron-on t-shirt transfers a few months ago, and I took her advice and bought these:

I printed out some cute little diddies on my computer:

And grabbed a few cheap t-shirts and onesies from Target:

And look how cute this turned out for my little guy!

Or how about my friend Jill's new little girl, Charlotte Rose.  Won't she be adorable in this?  Don't you dig the dragonfly?

Here's the scoop:  I could tell you what I did, but basically I just copied Melissa!  So my best advice is to head over to this post and see how she did it.  And plus, her designs are adorable, so you will probably end up copying her too!  :)


Artichoke Inspiration

*Updated to add: I got my vinyl monogram from this website!  Great customer service, adorable four-pack of "G" letters for my monogramming obsession!  Love it!

You all know I have a big ol' book where I keep torn-out pages of decorating inspiration.  I am sure many of you have one too!  I was flipping through it the other day and saw this adorable pitcher (and no, that is not a spelling error!) of artichokes in the April 2008 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

Hmmm...I had picked up a simple pitcher at Goodwill a few months ago, and I thought I had some cream spray paint in the garage.

So all it took was a quick trip to Hobby Lobby where these little artichokes were 50% off.   I added a little vinyl decal "G" (for our last name) that I had left over from another project.  It's not an exact match but I am happy with it!

Cuteness for not a lot of cash, my favorite combo!  Have a great weekend!