Thursday, March 29, 2012

Custom Kicks

Okay, so this is a little off topic from Thrifty Thursdays but I had to share my favorite birthday present from my husband.  My craftiness is rubbing off on him, he designed these new shoes just for me...

He picked every detail from the pink interior, to the gingham tongue and stripe down the back and even the color of the stitching and stripes.  I love them!!  They are just unique enough but still have the classic Converse look.  You can go really crazy with the designs, create your own here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Make the most of your military moves with the accessories that you display throughout your home. Accessories are a great way to show off the places you have traveled to and lived. They don't only add a great personalized touch to your home but they are great conversation starters. Accessories, artwork, photography, and trinkets allow you to remember family trips and moves in a unique way.

Here are a few fun ways to tell your family story through accessories...

Customized Washington DC Pillow from Christin Morgan's Etsy shop.  Visit Christina's Etsy shop to get a custom pillow from your state or country.

Ikat- Southwestern Prints from Pixie Pixels Etsy Shop.  Visit Pixie Pixels Etsy Shop to order your own prints.
Copyright Pixie Pixels 2012.
Georgia Water Color Artwork from Katie Daisy's Esty Shop.  Visit her Etsy shop to get your own or one like it from your state. 
Copyright Katie - Daisy 2012

Texas style accessory- Cow skull and Vintage Dutch shoes from Joanne's Etsy Shop

Thailand Photography from Kallie Brynn Photography.  You can purchase a print from her here. 
Copyright Kallie Brynn Photography 2012.

Driftwood wreath from MaderaDelMar Etsy Shop.  Click on the highlighted link to order a driftwood wreath.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The easiest way to bring life and color to your interior space is by incorporating live plants. Plants not only improve the air quality in your home but they can also improve your overall mood.

I do not have a green thumb so I won't even try to give you gardening tips but I can point you towards a great source.  Delray Plants offers monthly YouTube tips to help get your garden growing.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Baby Lucy's Room- Part 1

It's Family Friday!!  For the next few weeks my sister will be sharing the progress of her new baby girl's adorable nursery.  I would love to take credit for this design but this was all Lucy's crafty mom.  *Fun Fact, Lucy is my 5th niece, I also have 5 nephews and 1 more nephew due very soon.  Since there are kiddos everywhere in my family I will be sharing lots of fun family projects.  

Part 1:  DIY Wall Monogram 

The background color is Behr "Anonymous" in eggshell.  To create the monogram she borrowed a movie projector from a friend, connected it to her laptop and created a word document with the letters in French Script font. She placed the projector across the room (on top of her changing table) and traced the projection with a pencil directly onto the wall.  The final step was just filling in the outline with a few coats of gloss acrylic craft paint from Michaels Craftsmart Brand in Pink/Rose using a small foam brush.  

Tip 1- Keep a little extra of the background color on hand for any touch ups.  
Tip 2- When lining up the monogram make sure to use a level or at least measure from a level point on both sides (up from the chair rail or baseboard) you will be kicking yourself if you finish the project and the entire thing is crooked. 

If you can't find a projector,v you could use a Cricut cutting machine, have the monogram printed in a large scale and use trace paper to transfer the outline onto the wall or if you are really talented draw the letters free hand.  
My sister also suggests having it printed at a copy center the exact size you want, color the back of the paper with a dark pencil then tape it to the wall (pencil facing wall).  Once in place, trace over the letters/design then when you take the paper off the outline will be on the wall (pencil transfers from the back of the paper to the wall).
There are also vinyl letter options that can be found on Etsy.  Vinyl letters are a great option for renters

Isn't it adorable!! I love her color selections!  They are girly but will coordinate well with other colors and patterns in the future and will grow with her throughout her childhood and teen years.  She also placed the monogram in the middle of the wall that will eventually be the bed wall when Lucy is older and made sure it was high enough that a standard head board would still fit underneath.  


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Thrift store and antique shopping can be overwhelming and and you may even think it's not for you.  I have put together a few tips to help prove that even you can find amazing deals and beautiful pieces at affordable prices.  

1- Be Patient.  Don't expect to find something amazing every time you walk into a thrift store.  A good thrift/consignment/antique store will have new inventory coming in every couple of weeks (some even more often) if it looks like the same exact stuff has been sitting on the shelves for years, it probably has and most likely it won't be worth your time to sift through the junk.  Talk to the shop owners and find out how often they get new things in, those are the shops worth re-visiting every so often.  If you go in thinking you are going to find gold, you won't.  Have realistic expectations and then you will be pleasantly surprised when you find a hidden gem.

2- Spot the hidden gems.  Remember, it is a second hand store so things won't be in perfect condition and some one got rid of them for a reason.  But also remember that their reason may have been something as simple as the color, outdated style, fabric, or function.  Keep an eye out for the shape not the color and it's ability to be fixed.  For instance, the brass lamp above has a great shape just an outdated and tarnished finish.  All it needs is a coat of paint and it can be an updated statement piece (keep an eye out for it's update next week).  

3-Be realistic.  If you have zero handy man skills, don't buy an item that needs complete reconstruction.  Know your abilities or at least someone that can help you and stick to items that you can improve yourself.  Don't spend $5 on something that is going to cost you $50 to fix when you could have just bought a new one for $10.  Look for furniture that just needs cosmetic repairs not structural (unless minor) lighting that you can re-wire yourself, and accessories that just need a little cleaning or spray paint.

4- Spot a good deal.  If you are looking for something in particular research what that item would cost if you were to buy it new or from a few different shops.  For instance, if you are looking for a new kitchen table, check out the pricing at a few different furniture stores (you can check online and save yourself a trip).  Having an idea of what a new table costs will help you determine if the used table you find is actually a good deal.  Also, take into consideration the condition of the table.  If it just needs a little cleaning up then you will probably be willing to pay more but if it needs a complete makeover then it should be drastically less expensive than a brand new table.  

5-Don't be afraid to haggle.  I tend to feel bad about asking for a better price (I don't know why, I know they mark up the price so they have wiggle room) so I have learned to ask in a way that seems a little nicer.  I ask if they offer any kind of discounts; military, student, designer, ect.  Or, mention that you really weren't wanting to spend more than $___.  Or just flat out ask if they would take $___ and always start off a little lower than what you really want to pay.  Don't be ridiculous, you will just anger them and they won't want to work with you at all.  Having worked in sales myself, I was always more willing to adjust the price for customers who were nice and realistic about their expectations.  10-15% off is probably a safe amount that most sales people are even allowed to give without getting special permission from their manager.  Some stores do have hard pricing and can not make adjustments but it doesn't hurt to ask.  

6- Start small.  If you are new to second hand shopping, don't jump in full force and buy a piece of furniture that is going to become a 6 month long project.  Take baby steps.  Start with a few small accessories, candle holders, picture frames, etc.  You may find things that don't need any work or even just a coat of paint.  Not every project is going to be amazing and you may have to try a few before you really get an eye for potential.  This will also help you find the go to stores that are worth your time.  

7- Not a DIYer?  Don't worry, there are still plenty of great thrift store finds that don't need any work.  They may take a little more searching but they are out there.  Also, you are in luck because more and more stores are refinishing pieces themselves to sell.  With DIY being the 'in' thing right now, many local shops are bringing in artists to refinish a few pieces (the table in the picture above).  These pieces may cost a little more but they are still unique and affordable.  

Why do I thrift?  Not only is it an affordable way to handle my shopping addiction but it helps me add a unique and personalized touch to our home.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This project combines my love of travel, chalk board paint and hoarding.  
We started collecting magnets a few years ago as our vacation and moving souvenirs (we even have one from Iraq),  It is a fun (and cheap) way to look back at the places we have been and they don't take up much room in a suitcase or moving box.   

I am not a big fan of having our refrigerator covered so we created this super simple magnet board to display them in our kitchen.  The magnetic part is just a piece of sheet metal from the hardware store (to get the size you want use sheet metal cutters not standard scissors and wear work gloves, that stuff is sharp).  I taped off a square with painters tape and slapped on a few coats of chalkboard paint (one of my obsessions).  The frame was made by my handy husband but a store bought frame would work just as well.  

Tip- try and get magnets that have the location written on them or are at least really obvious about where they are from.  Also, use a silver sharpie to write the year on the back. 

Monday, March 19, 2012


A few weeks ago I got to go on a FIELD TRIP for work.  There were no school buses or bagged lunches but I did get to tour a factory and my parent's were there as chaperone's.  Actually, they were kind of my clients too.  They are building their own home right now (check it out here) and were in search of authentic, old hardwood floors so we took a trip to Locust Grove, GA (just outside Atlanta) and toured the Authentic Pine Floors warehouse and showroom. 

The majority of their flooring is reclaimed from old barns, distilleries, etc.  They also mill 'new' wood but everything is milled, stained and sold from their location in Georgia.  A very rare thing in any industry these days. 

Staining process.
 You can buy the  wood pre-finished or unfinished and have it stained once it has been installed.  Above is some planks drying between layers of staining. 

The possibilities are endless at this place.  They will distress or handscrape the wood for a more rustic look and there are several different stain options.  They also have planks up to 12 inches wide which are really cool looking and hard to come by in the flooring industry.  (Standard widths range from 3-5 inches).  No, I am not getting paid for advertising, I just really fell in love with how beautiful there flooring is. 

Here is some of the flooring displayed in Authentic Pine Floors beautiful showroom.
How fun is this Ping Pong table!

Just wanted to give you a better perspective of how big each beam is. 

Super windy that day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


 A while back I helped my sister in law, Heather add a little color to her Pediatric Therapy office.  We wanted to keep it professional and organized but also inviting and fun for the kids.
 To start, we took our color inspiration from their logo.  The entry wall was a simple DIY project.  We had the logo blown up at a local printing shop and used the frame from a  Walmart full length mirror.  I used my Cricut to cut out the quote on sticky back vinyl. (If you don't have a Cricut borrow one from a friend or you can have vinyl decals made at a local sign shop.)

Artist- Clayton
 Heather came up with the idea to display her kids artwork throughout the office.  It's a great way to add to the kid friendly atmosphere and it's FREE.  
Artist- Ella  

Artists- Ella and Clayton 

Most of the accessories, shelving and storage boxes were found at Ikea.  We also painted a few items that were already in the office black and orange to continue the theme.  


$15 THRIFT STORE FIND ! This simple arm chair was pretty dirty and needed a little love but it was structurally sound and easily recovered so I couldn't resist. The fabric is heavy duty canvas and durable enough for upholstery use but only about $8/yard (1 1/2 yards were needed).

The silver furniture tacks (from Home Depot) are not only functional (hold the back panel in place) but also add a great little detail. I sanded and distressed the finish and then finished it with a coat of polyurethane to keep it protected. * Use 220 grit sandpaper before you put on the final coat to get a smooth finish.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Whether you are in the military or not moving is no fun. Here are a few tips to help make the process a little easier...

Tip #1- Hang on to important moving boxes. TV, computer, china, etc. if it was expensive and came in a special box with Styrofoam that molds to it then try your best to not throw it out. I learned from my sister’s many Army moves that TV’s don’t do well when you or your movers wrap them but if you put them back in their original box they will last through many more moves.

I know that space is often limited so be creative with your storage solutions. Our china boxes are hidden on top of our kitchen cabinets, the molding along the top is just high enough to disguise them. They also provide a great platform to display accessories. The empty TV box is light enough to rest on the rafters in the attic and we break down and store as many standard boxes under the beds that we can. *Broken down moving boxes act as great drop clothes for paint projects too.

Tip #2- When you need more boxes, and you always need more boxes find free ones before you buy. Craigslist and SargesList are a great place to find free boxes. People are always moving and most people don't move as often as us so they want to get rid of their empty boxes. Before our last move I found a guy willing to give me as many boxes as I could fit in my car for free just because he didn't want to have to haul them off to the dump. Ask around on your military base and check with local military family groups too, I am sure you will find someone who will give or sell you their extra packing material. (When buying stuff off any classified add be sure to take someone with you and let a 3rd party know where you are going, you can never be too careful. There are a lot of crazies out there)

(photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Tip #3- Organize. This may seem obvious but the more organized you are the easier the move will be. Clearly mark the boxes that contain things you know you are going to need right away when you get to your new home. I like to pack a few basic pots, pans and 2 sets of dishes, glasses and silverware in one box together so that I don't have to search through several to eat a bowl cereal the first morning. Same goes for clothes and toiletries, pack a three day survival kit to give yourself time to get settled.

Label, label, label! A Sharpie is a movers best friend. On the outside of EVERY box, list the room it goes in, the type of items and the major things that you know you will need to find easily. It always helps to keep like things together

Tip #4- Keep it light. Even if you hire movers, at some point you will have to move boxes around so don't over do the weight. Pack heavy items such as books in small boxes and only fill them half way with books and fill the rest of the space with your lightest items such as pillows and towels. This is one area where you may find yourself mixing random things together but your back will thank you.

Use as few large boxes as possible and keeping most of your boxes uniform in size helps with fitting them easily into moving vans and storage units.

Tip #5- Everything soft is packing material. Bubble wrap and peanuts can get expensive and wasteful so get creative with packing materials. You have to pack your towels, pillowcases, blankets, sweaters, etc. anyway so may as well get double duty out of them. Try to keep them with the correct room as much as possible. Kitchen towels and aprons make great wraps for dishes and glasses, socks are great for perfume bottles and small trinkets, and throw pillows are perfect cushions for large picture frames. Old comforters and mattress pads can be wrapped around furniture to help keep it from getting scratched and dinged.

Tip #6- Contain your liquids . One of the most frustrating things to pack is liquids. Most moving companies won't take cleaning chemicals, paints, etc. but replacing every bottle of bleach, can of Lysol and jug of laundry detergent can add up really quickly so if you can salvage any here is how to transport them. First, don't buy anything new for at least a month before your move and make do with what you have. For the things you can't use up, close every lid as tight as possible and use ZipLoc bags, plastic wrap and rubber bands to help seal them. Use mop buckets and plastic bins to store the bottles upright then wrap the entire thing in trash bags and clearly mark which side is up. You will most likely have to move these items yourself and if you aren't driving to your new home then unfortunately you will have to start fresh.

Tip#7- Take advantage of the positives to moving. As stressful and frustrating as moving can be, it provides you with a great opportunity to clean out and purge yourself of any unneeded items. Start early and take small steps. Go room by room, drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf. As you go make 3 piles; Pack, Trash, and Donate/Sell. Get rid of trash as you go, letting bags pile up will just add to the chaos. Use a spare room, extra closet, or unused corner to store boxes as they are filled pack it first and use the space to store boxes as they are filled. Sell the quality items on Craigslist, have a yard sale or take them to a consignment shop and donate the rest to your favorite charity. Many will even come pick the donations up such as Habitat for Humanity and local women shelters. If you are in the military don't forget to ask your local Family Group if they know of anyone who is in need of any of the items you have. There are always soldiers and families that would love to have your old tube TV or basement sofa.

(photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Tip #8- Don't be afraid to ask for help. I have had more than one move while my husband was either overseas or away at training (I swear he plans it) and there are some things that I just can't lift on my own. I'm pretty strong, but the couch wins every time. The military will pay for movers when they are sending us somewhere new but if I want to move home while my husband is deployed its on us and we can't always afford to hire help. Family and close friends are usually willing to help, especially if you guilt trip them :). Make sure to repay the favor either with their next move or even just treat them to dinner. Split up the move, have one friend help you pack, another help you get large items down stairs and more to help you load and unload. If people know they only have to help with a small part they are always more willing to volunteer.

Tip #9-Don't forget the other parts to moving. A few weeks before the big day, schedule your cable, internet, phone, utilities, etc. to be turned off at your current home and on at your new home. Give yourself a day or two wiggle room in case your move date changes at the last minute. You will probably have to be in the new home for many of these services to be activated so if you can't be there early be prepared to live without internet, cable and possibly gas for a day or so. Have your mail forwarded for at least a year and change your address with your bank, credit cards, etc. If you are renting, make sure to check your lease and give notice to your landlord that you are moving out. Most states require a months notice and if it is a military move they can not withhold your security deposit for breaking a lease early. But, if you don't give adequate notice and you do not have military orders then they can refuse to return your security deposit (trust me, I learned this the hard way).

Tip#10- Overlap your moving days. Whether you are moving locally, across the country or around the world, you should always overlap the end of your current and the beginning of your future lease. 3 to 5 days at least to be safe. You never know what kind of delays can occur, moving trucks can be held up, old tenants may not move out in time and landlords are notorious for not having properties ready. You never want to end up homeless with no where to keep your things.

Happy Moving!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


If you are in the Savannah, Madison or Greensboro, GA area you have to check out Pinch of the Past!!  Such a great store for any DIYer or antique/vintage lover.  It is an Architectural Salvage but they also have many other random vintage finds.  Piles of old windows, mantles, columns, doors, knobs, ironwork and much, much more.  Pinch of the Past is definitely the kind of place you are going to want to spend some time sifting through to find great pieces for your home. No, I don't work for them, I just really love this shop!! ( I should totally get an extra discount though for all of the name dropping I do for them)

Many of the things they have would be great to use in a restoration project or permanent changes in a home that you own but there are plenty of opportunities for finds that can move with us renters.  The old corbels and wall brackets would really dress up a book shelf, the old columns could be cut down to use as table legs and I think a few pieces from the old pipe organ would just be cool to hang on a wall as an art piece.  

  They have stacks of old mantles, in good and bad shape.  Some are ornately carved and others are simple and classic.  I love the old iron fireplace grills and summer covers so much that I convinced my parents to buy one for the home they are building (keep an eye out for how that project turns out).  

 The random accessories are great too.  I would love to paint the bust and globe some crazy metallic or fluorescent color and those doors are amazing.  I just have to find the right project and customer to convince. 

Are you thinking, hey not cool, I don't live in Georgia?  Don't worry.
Most towns, especially older ones have some place similar to this, it just takes a little searching.  Because they are small businesses you aren’t likely to find them on Google so ask around.  Any local designer, decorator or small shop owner should be able to point you towards some great hidden gems.  Most antique/thrift store owners know about all the other local places too so don’t be afraid to ask them to point out a few others.  Some of the antique/ thrift stores in Savannah have even put together a brochure with a directory of all the local shops and they often trade and work together.  

Also, Pinch of the Past has a catalog on their website of select items you can order.     

Monday, March 12, 2012


I inherited this old round table from my parents in college, they didn't want it because the cherry finish was outdated and after feeding 5 kids off of it for years it was pretty scratched up. I forgot to take a before picture so this one from Christmas is the best I can do. 

I love how it turned out!

This was my inspiration.  I found it on Pinterest, but sorry I don't know the exact source. 

For the chairs I spray painted them first to get into all the nooks and crannies and then hand painted over them with a black satin, latex paint.  I still need to put a polyurethane coat on them to help protect them but I ran out of weekend.

The table was a little trickier but much easier than I expected.  I wasn't sure how the paint stripper would work since I am pretty sure this isn't solid wood and the pretty part on top is only a veneer.  But, I figured if it didn't look good I could always paint the whole thing.

Step #1-Spray. I am in love with a new product for all of my future paint/stain removal projects.  Citristrip paint stripper was so easy to use.  Make sure to wear rubber gloves and coat the entire piece (you can get it in a spray or paint it on with a brush/roller, I used the spray).  Follow the directions on the can to determine how long you need to let it sit, I only waited 30 minutes but should have waited a little longer.

Step #2- Scrape.Use a plastic scraper to remove the stain, (still wearing the rubber gloves).  It should scrape off really easily, if it doesn't then wait a little longer and try again.  This part is pretty messy, you should either have a drop cloth down or do it somewhere where it won't kill your grass or stain your driveway.  Definitely DO NOT DO THIS INSIDE!  The fumes may not seem too bad (another reason I like this product) but it is still powerful stuff and you don't want to get it on anything that you don't want the paint stripped off of.

Step #3- Sand. To get the last layer of stain and make sure the finish is uniform give the table a light sanding.  My husband's latest birthday present was an orbital sander, (we get pretty cool presents around here) and it really makes sanding a lot easier.  If you think you will have more sanding projects in the future it would be worth the small investment.  A small electric sander or hand sanding works too, it's just way more time consuming.

Step #4-Clean. Wipe the table with mineral spirits on a soft, lent free cloth to remove the dust.

Step #5- Stain.  Pick your stain color and follow the instructions on the packaging.  We used Minwax Driftwood but keep in mind that it will stain differently depending on the type and color of the wood.  I let the stain sit for about 5 minutes before wiping it off to just give it a light color.

Step # 6- Seal. Protect the finish with 1 or 2 coats of Polyurethane.  I used Minwax Fast-Drying because I am super inpatient but regular will probably give you a more uniform finish.  Once again, follow the instructions on the can and sand between coats and clean with mineral spirits before applying another coat.

When my mom saw the table, she asked me "where did you get your new table?"  Since it was once hers I am pretty sure that means the project was a success.