If you have two loaves of bread sell one and buy flowers. For although the bread will nourish your body, the flowers will nourish your soul.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sometimes You Just Hafta!

Yesterday I had a few spare minutes and stopped at my local Salvation Army thrift store and there they were. Five plates that I knew were going to be an exact color match to the set of vintage creamy white, gold edged dishes I bought about a month agoDifferent pattern, different company, but so similar. They were only 45 cents apiece. But the real clincher was the monogram... an "M". 
Sometimes you just hafta.

The plate at the top is from the set I bought earlier, the bottom stack is the new set of 5 plates.  Perfect match. 

Stacked. Sorry about the camera strap, great photographer that I am.

monogrammed plate...The Salem China Company; Salem, Ohio;  pattern #9053, wreath monogram.

bottom plate...Triumph, American Limoges; Sebring, Ohio; Hollywood pattern; 22-K gold.

The Art of Thrifting or Fleas 101

Often, when discussing flea marketing with someone who isn't into it, I'll get a comment like..."It just looks like a bunch of junk to me"... or something to that effect. And the truth of the matter is...it usually is mostly junk. And it really isn't for everyone. Some don't have the time and some just aren't interested. But for those of us who love it, it's a combination of antiquing, bargain hunting, collecting, and the thrill of the hunt. A few of my friends over the years have asked for advice on how to be a successful thrifter. So I've put together a few pointers. 

1. Find your shops.
    Most towns have Goodwill, Rescue Mission or Salvation Army thrift stores
    where they sell donated items. Sometimes you can also find church 
    sponsored second hand shops and privately owned consignment stores.
    You'll find ones you like more than others.

2. Visit frequently.
    It's all in the timing. Sometimes you find a lot, sometimes you leave empty 

3. If you find something you really want, you'd better get it...it might not be 
    there if you go back later.
4. Arm yourself with a few simple useful shopping tools. 
    Make sure you have your reading glasses with you if you use them, or have 
    a small magnifying glass for reading the backs of dishes, silverware, labels, 
    etc.  A measuring tape of some kind is also handy. A magnet is useful if 
    you're shopping for brass (it isn't magnetic...painted metal is). Keep a 
    notepad if you're looking for something specific (measurements, 
    manufacturers, color swatches...) A wonderful price on a hall table doesn't 
    do you any good if it doesn't fit in the space.

5. Don't assume because you found it in a thrift store that it's thrifty.
    This is a biggie. Items are priced by fallible human beings. They don't
    always make good judgment calls. 
    Use common sense. I've seen used items priced higher at a flea market
    than could be purchased new elsewhere.

6. Always look in boxes, small and large.
    If you watch your fellow shoppers, you'll notice that the majority walk past  
    without looking in boxes and underneath things. I've found a lot of goodies 
    that way.

Both the lamp and the chair were found in a corner at Goodwill, still in their original packing in boxes from Pottery Barn. They were $4 and $3. I later found the lamp in a PB catalogue for $79.

7. Take advantage of bargain days.
    Some thrift stores have special bargain days. One of the stores I shop 
    at has "frugal fridays". You can purchase one item at 50% off. Another day
    each week they offer the same discount on books, another day, clothing.
    I found a basket of crystal votives. You couldn't tell what they were at first.
    Each was wrapped individually in a paper towel. There were 8 for $5. Not a 
    bad price. But it was Friday...I paid $2.50...much better!


8. Think outside the box...Imagine the possibilities.
    This is probably one of the more difficult challenges. Just remember that 
    almost anything can be painted. Look for shape and form. A nicely shaped 
    yucky colored basket could be spray painted another color to match your   
    child's room. The same thing goes for a classic wooden candle holder or
    picture frame. A terrible looking floral arrangement might be in a great 
    looking container. If the price is right, it might be worth it just to buy it for 
    the container and pitch the contents. 
    I almost passed up these napkin rings at 75 cents for 9 because of the
    But with a light sanding and a coat of rubbed bronze spray paint they're 
    now more current and neutral. 

I found this pottery and wicker basket in a color I didn't want for $4 and knew I could spray paint it white. I think it will be really pretty full of ivy.

9. A little cleaning goes a long way.
    Often glassware in a thrift shop has not been cleaned, is cloudy, and not 
    very appealing. The same item taken home and washed til it sparkles will 
    be beautiful.

10. Thrifting is a wonderful economical way to build a collection of something.
     When you are on a budget, you don't always have the money to go out 
     and purchase an entire set of crystal, china, candleholders, silverware, 
     etc....   But you can afford a couple dollars at a time.  

For example...a long time ago I bought this heavy glass star votive candle holder from Avon. It's just so pretty lit, and I've always loved it. Once, when at my Aunt Lois's house, I noticed that she had several clustered together on her table and I loved the look. I started finding them at flea markets and yard sales. I've never paid more than $2 for one, and most were 50 cents to a dollar. I now have 15. That seems like a lot but they look awesome lined up on a mantle, down the center of a long table runner, or lining the patio wall at night.

In closing.... 
When it comes to flea market, yard sale, and thrift store shopping, it's very easy to become a pack rat. I try to follow two rules of thumb. First, I've become pretty choosy. The item has to be either something I can really use, or something I really love. And secondly, I then try to get rid of something I don't really use or really love.

A final thought....
If you get home and a few days later think "why in the world did I buy this?" remember, this isn't brain surgery.  You probably didn't pay much for it....donate it back!   lol! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Garden Shoes

Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a fashionista. (Did I spell that right? Spell check doesn't recognize the word.)  Anyway...I do like to look nice and will willingly and thankfully listen to the advice of my family on what looks good and what doesn't.  However, when I'm at home, doing physical work, I dress for comfort and economy.  That's my way of saying I wear things that I don't mind getting stained, ripped, ruined.  In other words...faded, torn, justcameoutofthelaundrybutstilllooksdirty clothes. (Take that, spell check!)

Clothing reaches a point right before they fall apart that they are most comfortable. Take my garden shoes for example. My family thinks I should throw them out. To me, they are comfy, I don't care about mud and grass stains, and they still have some wear left. Granted, every once in a while my foot falls out. But shouldn't I be the one to decide when it's time to put them out to pasture?

For Christmas, Adam and Renee bought me a pair of Crocs to garden in. I got the "I-know-they're-the ugliest-shoes-ever-but-they're-the-most-comfortable-things-you'll-ever-put-on-your-feet" story.  The fact that they can be hosed off has merit. 
Garden season is beginning. I'm open to change. I'll be trying them out in that capacity (I have been wearing them inside the house).  I do, though, have to agree with the ugly part. 

(just between you and me...i still have my holey ones...just in case)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Patio Dreams

When you dream, dream big, right?  This is my dream for our patio this summer. I would love a pergola.  We had one of the kind you can buy at Lowe's...with metal frame and canvas top. I love to eat outside, from my morning bowl of cereal while watching my birds, to dinner with family and friends. We enjoyed it for several years, but it finally succumbed to the elements. The location where it needs to be gets a lot of wind and even though we had it tied down, it eventually bit the dust. I would love to build a permanent, wooden pergola. I've been collecting photos for inspiration.

Dream along with me.....sigh......

                                     cote sude                                     
septermber 2006

source unknown

better homes and gardens

martha stewart

martha stewart.com

country living

 weekend magazine

 better homes and gardens

And how's this for sheer romance and beauty?
aiken house & gardens

This last photograph was from another one of my favorite blogs, Aiken House and Gardens.  Treat yourself to a visit...it is truly a delight to both eyes and ears. Carolyn graciously allowed me to share this photo with you. 
* Edited to add new pics as I find them

new england home

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How Not To Spring Clean...or...How To Make Others Feel Good About Their Homes

I am doing a public service today. You are guaranteed to come away from this post thinking "at least my house doesn't look as bad as hers!"

It all started last Thursday.  Actually, it started earlier than that. What began as a small loose seam on the wallpaper beside the toilet in the bathroom, would mysteriously grow to a hole. I'd mend it a couple times but it kept happening...coincidentally on days I had certain young visitors of the grand kind. This little area of missing wallpaper eventually grew to an area roughly the size of a piece of notebook paper. Something had to be done. In all truth the room had started to look a little worn and I was so ready for a change. So....last Thursday after school we cleared out the room and I told the grandkids (ages 11, 8 and 4) to go to it and start ripping off the wallpaper...legally.  They did almost the entire room by themselves and did a great job. 

Here's mess #1.

Then, over the weekend I was pulling music out of the file cabinet for my son's girlfriend who, by the way, is a fabulous singer. When I went to put it away this week I acknowledged the fact that the file cabinet was stuffed to the gills with music and some things had to go and it also had to be better organized. This resulted in the piles of music everywhere and the pool of trash in the middle of the floor.

Mess #2.

When preparing Monday evening's dinner, I wanted to fix a really good meal (especially since the house was such a mess) and needed my special recipe for pork loin with cherry sauce (I need to post that some time...it's delicious).  Well, I started rummaging through my stack of loose recipes...you know what I mean. That pile or box of recipes you have that you've printed off the computer, ripped out of magazines, quickly copied off the cooking channel, jotted on an envelope at someone's house, torn off boxes and labels. Yeah, that pile. 
I couldn't find the recipe.  That led to me pulling out the entire stack and starting to sort and organize. All over my previously cleaned off island. I'm not finished yet. 

Mess #3

In needing more light to see to sort, I had to replace 3 burned out lightbulbs in the chandelier. For which I needed a stepladder. And, while I was up there, I might as well take down the crystal swag I had wrapped around it for Christmas. And while I had the stepladder out I might as well take down the swag from the china cabinet, which led to the wreath on the wall and the one on the door. Which is why the table is full of Christmas stuff that needs to go to the attic.

Mess #4.

Which leads me to the attic. I didn't even have the nerve to take pictures of it. I'll take the Christmas stuff from the table up with me when I go up into the attic tomorrow to clear a path so my husband can replace the exhaust fan in the bathroom ceiling so I can start painting the ceiling and....isn't this where I started?  Sigh......I think I need to go lay down.......I'm tired.