Monday, March 15, 2010

Thriftiness Born of Necessity

When it comes to decorating, I'm a sucker for anything damaged, old, or neglected. It's such a sense of pride to snag a super cheap deal, put just a little love into it to, and give it a place in your home. These pieces are always the most special and guests can never believe the story behind them.

Not to mention the fact that I am a broke graduate student who couldn't afford nice things if she wanted too! I've been rescuing old, cheap finds since high school.

One of my favorite monthly activities is a trip to the clearance art frame section of Hobby Lobby. I'm not talking the 40 or 50% off sales they have frequently...heh, childsplay. But the section for damaged, discontinued, or custom size frames that were never sold.

The "island of misfits" if you will.

If you've never stopped in this section when in need of a frame for art, you should be aware that it's a gold mine! I was beside myself when I stopped at my local Hobby Lobby recently and saw the section was no longer there. I was so upset! But thank goodness, it had merely moved and I overlooked it.

I think these pieces are often overlooked and that makes me sad... :)

You would be amazed at what the smallest, often unnoticeable, ding can do to an item's price tag.
Tiny chip=80-90% off!!!
It's often repaired by a little touch-up paint, with sand paper if needed, or even just an appropriately colored sharpie. I have a closet full of these misfits for when my paintings are needed to be framed.

This guy only cost me $7. For an 18x24! It was unfinished wood, which meant I could paint it any color I needed it to be when I decided what was going in it and where it would hang. I just mixed a dark espresso color paint and gave it a coat, then sprayed with some gloss sealer.
Voila! My mom's painting found the perfect home.

I often say creativity is just having the bravery to try anything. I believe I'm no better than anyone else would be at creative projects, I'm just willing to try. Don't be scared of even large scale fixer-uppers...they have the most pay-off.

The dresser in my bedroom was left by tenants in a rental house of my family's, then stored in our barn, only to become chipped, covered in dust, and spider-infested.

I saw potential and decided to restore.

I removed all the drawers, sanded it down, then gave it a walnut stain...And it was brought back to life! Although it only cost me a small can of stain, the price I paid for this adventure was much higher, considering I got a nail through my foot getting it out of the barn AND decided to embark on this outdoor project in ARKANSAS!

But a tetanus shot and 103 degrees later, I still love my dresser!!

Just note: Do not wear flip flops and try to push a 100-pound barn door closed with your foot. And plan ahead, so time consuming projects do not have to be completed when a heat stroke is likely!

I regret I do not have before pictures, because I completed this 4 years ago, but here is the after:

Neglected dresser from barn: $0
Can of stain: $6
Sand paper: $2
Getting out of bed the next morning and passing out after taking one step due to an infection from the rusty nail...ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY PRICELESS!

The mirror above the dresser was an old "gaudy-gold"...yeah, you know the look... that I found at my house. I used a rag and beige paint to make it fit. I don't know if you can see, but the 2 painted river rocks from my art post are on the dresser.
Pick up a rock. Paint it. Cheap and Lovely.

In the frames above my bed, I put black and white pictures I snapped at the beach. Inexpensive and Original.

And there's my poop-face. No, I didn't pose him...He's camera-ready at all times.

The artwork in the bathroom was so easy...and FREE. The frames I had already and I just tore illustrations I liked out of an old poetry book. I love how they turned out and filled in the space well.

The couch and loveseat in my living room were my parents' so I got them when my dad bought new furniture. I bought the fabric at a home decor store in Hughes and had them reupholstered. The biggest change was having the skirt ripped off to expose the legs. Much more modern. Reupholstering is not quite the cheap route I though it'd be, but they looked much better and have served their purpose over the past 4 years.

If I'm not digging around in the barn, I'm snooping in the attic. This frame was empty and dinged up...not to mention brown and gold. Eww. With a little black paint and sealer, it framed my Meemaw's painting just right.

And Sean was thinking of me when he grabbed those Febreeze candles for $2 at the ACE sale. :)

I guess my thrifty ways have rubbed off on Sean a little over the years. He was on the lookout for an old, stand-up, movie theater popcorn machine to one day go in our "theater room" that is now just a figment of our imaginations. I figured we could find a true vintage one on Craigslist but, no dice. He went with the next best thing and snatched this vintage-style commercial one for $75 in an Ebay auction at the last second.

I said he probably just ruined some 1o year old little girl's birthday present. He was proud. It stands in the corner of our living room for the time being.

And produces movie theater popcorn for next to nothing.

Please believe we popped a batch and stuffed it in my purse before going to see Dear John!

EVERYwhere else they were around $150. Good deal.

One of my favorite little nooks in the house started with an unfinished plywood shelf. It was unused and had no purpose so, again, with classic black paint, it was transformed.

The lamp was a garage sale purchase for, I think, $5. The shade came from a lamp in the house that I loved, but became a casualty in a rough-house war between Sean and Oliver. Boys.

The charcoal sketch was one of mine from high school and the vase was on clearance for $6 at my FAVE, TJ Maxx. I LOVE TJ MAXX.

The moral of this story? Give some old, forgotten pieces a new lease on life. You'll be proud, and have a few extra dollars in your pocket.

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