Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Eyechart" Poster- Free Printable!

If you know me, you know I’m crazy for letters and numbers in any shape or form.  I’ve been shying away from subway art, however, mostly because it seems to be everywhere these days—almost to the point of being over-used. (No offense meant to you wonderful people who have put your own creative stamp on the subway sign trend.) I’m just not a big trend follower, I guess... it’s taken me this long just to make something with burlap! :)
So when I saw this unique eye-chart style poster on a blog a few months ago (sorry, I can’t seem to locate the source… if you know where it’s from, please let me know so I can give its brilliant creator credit!), my interest was piqued.  I decided to create one of my own, using one of my favorite Bible verses: John 3:16. (If there’s something I love doing even more than painting and redoing furniture, it’s graphic design—hey, no messy sanding or brushes to clean up!) J

The result was this neat poster! And for an unlimited time only, I am offering it to all my wonderful blog followers as a FREE .pdf download! The only thing I ask is that you pretty please follow my little blog, then right-click the link below and select "Save Link", and the poster will be 100% yours! (frame not included J)
What do you think? Are you a subway art lover? What quotes would you like to turn into a unique poster?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

This Week’s Thrifty Score—My 99¢ Chandelier!

During the winter months, I salve my treasure hunt addiction by visiting my local thrift stores at LEAST once a week. Occasionally, I even happen upon bargain treasures while shopping at a retail store (such as Walmart or even Dollar Tree). During the summer, however, I spend most of my time (and spending money) at garage sales, because both the variety and the prices are generally better. This week I happened to find some great treasures at all three places—and believe it or not, the best deal of all was from Goodwill!

 I found this adorable chalkboard at a garage sale right down the road from my house, for only 50¢! It was the perfect wall hanging to fill in the blank spot between my kitchen cabinets and the living room window (the first view you see when you enter from our front door).
This lovely box was 75¢ at the same sale. The birdhouse on top of it I found at Goodwill several years ago. Of course, the two cuties in the picture were DIY projects—the best DIY projects ever! LOL
This adorable pair of wooly sheep set me back a whole 75¢ at a garage sale last week! I also collect old books wherever I find them—rarely paying more than a dollar apiece (usually at Goodwill).
The candlestick in this vignette was 50¢ at the same sale where I found the sheep! I found the bird plaque at Dollar Tree, of all places—it was one of only two left. As I mentioned before, I snatch up pretty much every bird I find. But this one was especially perfect because it brings in the aqua/robin’s-egg-blue color that I’m trying to work into my dining room since I added new curtains (post soon to come!)
This pair of canisters was $1.99 each at Goodwill. Generally I wouldn’t have paid that much for them, but I got the weekly sale colors confused and thought they were half off… LOL! And by the time I noticed, I was too excited about my next find to care! J
Their lids were originally plain wood, but I spray-painted them with Krylon spray chalkboard paint (left over from my Mother’s Day project), so that I could write their contents on the lids! Perfect for organizing the various little snack pouches and mini candy bars that always end up rattling around loose in the pantry. J
But the prize for the best find of the week goes to……………..
My Goodwill chandelier! I have been looking for awhile what seems like forEVER for a chandelier to hang in our dining room.  (Right now, the only lighting over our table is the hideous inset fluorescent-tube fixture that came in the original school building [the building we converted into our church & apartment].) I stopped on a whim at Goodwill one evening just before closing time, and did a cursory run through the aisles looking for new treasures.  I found the canisters mentioned above, and was just about to head to the checkout when I decided to swing through the large item section at the back of the store— the area where furniture and pretty much anything that doesn’t fit on the shelves is piled.  Imagine my shock when I saw this beauty peaking forlornly out from between several larger boxes! (okay, she’s not quite a beauty, YET, but I have high hopes for her!)
The sticker said “$6.99”, but again, I mistook grey for the color of the week—so I thought it was half off, or $3.50. Believe it or not, even at that price, I actually had to think about it for a minute before throwing it into my cart! When I got to the checkout, I asked the cashier about the “5 glass pieces” written on the tag. There had been no glass globes with it when I found it (not that I really wanted them), but the lady sent another employee back to look for them.  A minute later, the lady returned, saying, “Someone must have taken them, so I’ll let you have it for 99¢. Do you still want it?”  Somehow I managed to restrain my excitement and reply in a semi-calm, I-find-chandeliers-for-a-dollar-every-day voice, “Yes, that’s fine!”
So now I just need to decide the perfect color to paint her, and then talk Mr. Superman into hanging it above our dining table—and I can finally feel like I have a real dining room! Praise the Lord for Goodwill treasures!
So do you prefer thrift stores or garage sales for your bargain hunting? What is your favorite garage sale or thrift store find?

UPDATE: Thanks, Rhoda, for featuring my thrifty chandelier find at Southern Hospitality!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My "Chair" Lady

On Monday when I introduced you to Elsie, she looked like this:

With a well-sat-on, bedraggled seat, and a worn finish, poor Elsie was the Eliza Doolittle of the storage room—the perfect candidate for a rags-to-riches makeover!

Looking past the ratty brown clothing and flat” hair color”, I could see she had great personality. After one coat of semi-gloss white, her inner beauty started to emerge—but she was still on the rough side. She wouldn’t pass the Queen’s inspection yet!

Three coats of paint later, I decided she was well covered—but maybe a little TOO white!

So I took my scuff pad to her, and distressed all of the edges. Note to self: Next time use sand paper—it took a LOT of arm motion! (READ: my arms will be sore for a week!)

Ahhhhh, much better!  Now to redress her…

Her old seat cover was worn and pilled, and the padding (layers of some sort of cotton batting) underneath was very well squished, so I added another layer of Styrofoam:
(I actually stole the foam from an old changing pad whose vinyl cover
had been ripped beyond repair… told you I was cheap!)

As I mentioned Monday, I’ve been looking for the perfect fabric for Elise’s new outfit, but couldn’t find it.  Finally some inspiration hit me—in the form of a burlap sack I dug out of the fabric bin at Goodwill!  Now, I know, burlap isn’t exactly the fabric choice of most fair ladies, but with all the burlap inspiration floating around Pinterest and Blogland lately, methought that I could “pretty it up” with a design of some sort.  Only problem was, I had neither black paint, nor the ability (or patience, really) to painstakingly cut a fancy stencil.

So I did the unthinkable—I FREEHANDED my design (an olive-branch wreath with the date of our marriage) onto my burlap sack, with—would you believe it—a Sharpie permanent marker! (PLEASE don’t stone me!) I think it worked pretty well (although if anyone wanted to send me a Silhouette vinyl/stencil-cutting machine, I certainly wouldn’t object! J)

I then positioned the burlap overtop both the old and new padding, carefully measuring eyeballing it to make sure it was centered.

Then I stole borrowed my hubby’s Stanley electric staple gun, and stapled the burlap onto the seat. (He better be careful, or I will appropriate it—I think I’m addicted to stapling things!)

(See the extra row of staples on the sides? I stapled it once, then decided it wasn’t tight enough, so I pulled it tighter and stapled it again, closer to the edges. I trimmed off the extra fold of burlap, leaving only the staples in the wood— yes, I was too lazy to pull them out [but no one will see them under there, right?] So note to self: make sure to pull upholstery fabric much tighter than you think necessary!)

Elsie was then reunited with her seat, and voila! A transformation to make Professor Higgins proud!

Now she glides into the royal palace, confident in her newly uncovered beauty…

…and smiling radiantly in the spotlight of attention that only a dramatic transformation can bring!

(My own little princess had to get in on the photo shoot…)

Elsie now holds court in the corner of our dining room, next to my desk (where afore-mentioned princess claims her as her perch to keep me company when I’m working on the computer)! J

Once more, Elsie’s dramatic makeover:

What do you think? Have you jumped on the burlap bandwagon yet?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Warriors!

No, we didn't join the National Guard :), we've just been busy with all kinds of projects this weekend! (Okay, all week...) Mostly, we've been working on the new apartment that we (well, mostly Hubby) have been constructing in one wing of our church building.

Isn't drywall so much fun? NOT... Actually Hubby did make it a bit easier by creating a plastered texture on all the walls-- no sanding! (Hooray!)

We did add an extra step of priming all the walls with three gallons of flat white paint (which we already had laying around... FREE, hooray!) This will keep the real paint from soaking in, and we'll actually end up using LESS of the "expensive" paint.

So far we've gotten the apartment's master bedroom painted.  Hubby picked the colors, as well as the two-tone color scheme (based on the wall treatment from some high-end lofts in which he recently installed plumbing).  I think it's going to turn out pretty neat!

I've also been working on my own project this week...

This poor little chair was residing forlornly in one of the (many) storage rooms around here. The faded wood finish and ancient brown fabric are in pretty woeful shape, but she's sturdy, and has great lines!
So far, I've painted it (color to be announced), but I'm still looking for the perfect fabric to recover the seat. (Remember, I'm EXTRA cheap thrifty, so it has to be free or pretty close to it!) I've been scouring Goodwill, but haven't found the perfect thing yet... I do have some pretty good ideas, though! Stay tuned for the reveal!

Of course, all of these projects have been in ADDITION to all of the church work (our Saturdays and Sundays are so full that my hubby semi-jokingly says that he looks forward to work on Monday because then he can relax!)

So how about you? Did you get any exciting projects finished-- or started-- this weekend?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things...

“Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens... Bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens…”  Okay, the things that made Maria all warm-and-fuzzy will probably not be the same for me (or you), but I have found that surrounding myself with the things I love does make any place happier! Here are a few of the things that make me happy (not necessarily in order of importance!):

1)      Books (the older the better!)

Yes, these are only a fraction of the books we own… and, yes, these bookshelves are in my dining room. :0 (Someday I hope to have an entire room dedicated to our library! J) My not-so-secret goal is to create the world’s most complete library of good books for my kiddos (okay, and myself, too)!

1)      Birds!

Birds, birdhouses, eggs, nests… if it’s avian-related, I love it! (This little distressed-white ceramic fella (above) was actually a Dollar Tree find!)

1)      Being a child of God!

“Can I get an ‘Amen’?” J

1)      My Beloved <3

AKA Mr. Superman—world’s best husband, daddy, and preacher! J  (Oh, and provider…  our church is still small, so he works a full-time job in order to pay the bills!) He also built our home! I firmly believe that if it can be built or fixed, he can do it!

1)      My Bambinos!

My three little munchkins! J I am sooooo blessed!!!

1)      gloBes and maps!

Okay, I couldn’t find a “B” word for this one (and seriously, I wasn't trying to alliterate when I started.. it just turned out that way!) —but I love maps, and globes.. oh, and signs, too! Same rule as the birds—if I see them, I snatch them! (If they’re a good enough bargain, of course J)

1)      BARGAINS!

Like this $0.50 garage-sale sunburst mirror (it was originally Southwesterny-pinkish, but I sprayed it chrome... this pic doesn't do justice to its new state of gloriousness!)…

Or my $1 media cabinet (it was missing one drawer, and one of the shelves needed a screw (nothing a thrift-store basket and a raid of hubby's hardware drawer can't fix!)...

Or this adorable $2 vintage kiddy chair I found at a garage sale last weekend…

These are just a sampling of the great finds I’ve snatched up while stalking local garage sales and thrift stores! I LOVE finding great deals—the cheaper the better!

Last but not least, I love…

1)      Beautifying my home (on a Budget, of course)!

 I’ve discovered that home décor is not about chasing the latest trends (unless it’s really something you love)… it’s about surrounding yourself with things that reflect YOUR (and your family’s) personality! And it doesn’t take a lot of money, or an interior designer (though both of these might make it easier J), to create a home you and your family will feel “at home in”! It just takes time, creativity, and lots of love!

So how about you? What are YOUR favorite things? What do you do to bring your family’s personality into your home?