Friday, July 31, 2009

A Giveaway

The incredibly talented Layla of The Lettered Cottage is starting a new venture, along with her friend Sarah. It's called Lettered Cottage Home. Layla and Sarah are going to fill their online store with the kind of fantastic pieces that make The Lettered Cottage so charming!

To celebrate, they are having a giveaway! Go check it out, and good luck!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Oops! Hey, guys, I'm afraid I'm just having too much fun to do Thrift Store Thursday this week! My oldest sister left this morning, and tomorrow is my other sister's last full day here, so I'm going to postpone TST until next week. Sorry to leave you hanging...I promise, I have some cool things to show you next Thursday!

I'll be back to a more regular blogging schedule by Monday. Quite a few things happened this week that I'm anxious to show!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Gone Shopping

Hi everybody! Just a note to let you know that I'm going to be kind of scarce around here for several sisters are here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Coming Soon for an Encore Presentation

Confession time:  I haven’t stopped going to thrift stores!  I think I have cut back some, but stop all together?  Impossible.

I also checked out my stats, and it appears that Thrift Store Thursday was fairly popular, even if participation wasn’t huge.  We were a cozy group, and that’s more my speed anyway.

I have noticed that more than one blog around the ’sphere has recently started similar parties of their own.  They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! 

Just kidding.  I’m sure I wasn’t the first either.

Anyway…Thrift Store Thursday is back, friends!  Get your bargains ready for show and tell, and meet back here Thursday, July 30.  I think I’ll probably have some pretty good stuff after the sistas visit.

Thrift store, consignment shop, garage sale, treasure or trinket, it’s all good.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Pantry Project: in Progress

Last week I got some organizational mojo, and started with my junk drawer. I didn’t take any photos of that, but it felt so liberating that I moved on to my pantry.

Before:IMG_3169It was a mess! There is some actual food in there if you look closely, but it had become a big dumping ground for junk. I spent a couple days hauling the kids around to several different stores looking for baskets. I started at the thrift stores, but wasn’t finding what I wanted. In the end, I settled for white plastic Sterilite bins from Walmart.

Then Saturday I ran into Walgreens for something and discovered they had baskets, on sale, no less. We spent Saturday afternoon driving around to every Walgreens in a five mile radius to find enough of the particular baskets I wanted before the sale ended.


Still to do: label the baskets, hopefully do something about those wire shelves, and reorganize the hanging pocket organizer that’s on the back of the door (I hid it from you).

Now when my sisters get here at the end of the week, they will think I'm the organizing queen!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I’m in Love!

Be still my heart!staircase


I love this! I mean it. I’d marry it if I could.

My stairs have a similar configuration, but aren’t as elegant as the one above. Mine is sort of like that one’s ugly step-child (no offense to step-children; I am one).IMG_3188I couldn’t even get a good photo of it.

But I wonder if Craig could create a reasonable facsimile. I’m really liking those horizontal planks, but would it just look weird in a new suburban house? They showed up in the April 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, and I talked about that here, but she apparently did her whole house, not just one or two walls.

I suppose it would be possible to restain the wood darker. Did you see what Centsational Girl did? It’s sensational, all right! Let me just say that merely reading about all the work she did makes me want to wave the white flag and forget the whole thing.

I’ll just keep dreaming for now.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What Were We Thinking?

Monday night we spontaneously decided to get a puppy. Now, we already have a dog and a cat. Lila, our Boston terrier, just turned two, and is what I’d call an adolescent. Not a puppy, but still childish and a bit of a pain. We love her though, and actually it wasn’t 100% spur-of-the moment; the idea had come up a few times in the last couple of weeks but was promptly rejected. Until our sanity left us Monday evening.

IMG_2119 Pinkerbelle and Lila

Having recently looked at the website of the puppy mill breeder Lila came from, we knew that there were Boston terrier puppies available. And somehow, at 6:30 Monday evening “no way” turned into “let’s drive out and see them”. Let’s drive 2+ hours. Each way. And get home at one in the morning.

Long story shorter, we put a deposit on Lila’s half-sister. She can’t leave until she’s 8 weeks old on July 25, so we don’t actually have her yet.


We were powerless to resist.

Here’s Lila shortly after we got her.millers 004

And here’s the new puppy.IMG_3175

Striking family resemblance, no?

While we wait for our new bundle of joy, we need to come up with a name. I like “people” names, and it needs to sound cute with ‘Lila’. So far, here’s our list:

  • Libby
  • Posy
  • Lucy (I like it, but many moons ago we had another BT by this name, and we’re not sure if we want to reuse it)

So, I’m taking suggestions. You dog’s name, a name you’d use if you ever got a dog, the name of your firstborn daughter, whatever. I can’t promise we’ll use one of your ideas, but if you have one, lay it on me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Craigslist Tips

A couple of people have asked how I find such good deals on craigslist. My secret is…I don’t have a secret. No hard and fast rules, but I’ll try to give you some ideas.

Sometimes I just scan the furniture listings without anything in mind. That’s how I found my $35 china cabinet. I wasn’t looking for a china cabinet, but come on, for $35 would you have turned it down?

Sometimes I do have a particular item I’m looking for. In that case, I don't just search that specific category, I search all for sale. Here are some examples of searches I ran when looking for a white slip-covered couch: slip cover couch, slip cover sofa, slipcover couch, slipcover sofa, couch, sofa.

My friend Dixie claims that I have special internet search powers. wonder womanflickr

I don’t know about that, but you do have to use different keywords and spellings. That’s why I used both ‘couch’ and ‘sofa’, and why I spelled slipcover two different ways. I also did not use the word ‘slip covered’ because the description may have said something like ‘includes slip cover’ rather than ‘couch is slip covered’ . If nothing turned up, then I would just resort to looking through all the listings of couch and sofa in case the seller did not mention the slipcover.

The converse works when you’re listing something on craigslist (or ebay). It would seem sensible to title your listing White Slipcovered Sofa, but then you’re going to miss people who are searching for ‘couch’. So you would title it something like Couch Sofa w/ White Slipcover Slip Cover. Your title is really just made up of search keywords.

My last tip is be patient. Sometimes you'll find exactly what you're looking for right off the bat. Sometimes you won't. Keep checking, every day or even a couple times a day, until you find what you want at a price you want to pay. And don't forget to barter a little bit. My sectional was listed for $350, but Craig got it down to $260.

Adding one more thing: look for misspellings. For ebay there's ; I've used it before. I didn't know if there was something for craigslist, but just did a search and found Fewer people find misspelled listings, so you might have less competition for an item.

Now, go forth and shop! I hope this helps you find that super deal!

**I clarified a couple things here after getting some great comments--be sure to read the comments as others have some really good tips, too.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Price My Space

Nester is having a Price My Space party, so we can all brag about how much we did or did not spend on our furnishings. This is right up my alley, as you know. I’m always happy to share how much I paid with anybody who will listen. I’ve pretty much already revealed all my prices, so I’m just going to do this one shot of my family room.IMG_3164

Couch: down-filled, slip-covered—craigslist, $200

Throw pillows: down-filled, consignment shop, $6 each (I plan to recover these)

Coffee table: IKEA, $30

Soda crates: craigslist, $5 each

Window: garage sale, $5 for a pair of them

On the mantel: glass pyramid-- thrift store, $2.50; mercury glass candlesticks—Michaels, on clearance, about $10 total (?); letter balls—HobLob, on clearance, dime each; birds—Dollar Tree (spray painted)

Approximate total: $274

This room is not finished, which is why I didn’t show the other side of it. But other than the fact that it needs something on the wall over the couch, I’m happy with it.

In the comments on Friday’s post about craigslist, I was asked for pointers. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share some of my search methods.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Do You craigslist?

I’m joining Hooked on Fridays today because I’m hooked on craigslist.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about my thrift store purchases on this blog. You know I love to find a great bargain or unexpected treasure. But what if you’re looking for something specific?

Craigslist is a great place to start. I have found several things that I was intentionally looking for, as well as a few that I just stumbled upon while browsing.

This old 46” square window was $20, and exactly what I was looking for to add interest to my big plain 004

My sectional couch was a steal at $260.IMG_2616

We got our down-filled, slip-covered couch last summer for $200, and it was just what I was looking for.IMG_2555

My china cabinet was an accidental find for $35!IMG_2611

Before we moved into this house, I did a lot of shopping on craigslist; I found this console table for $50 and the big mirror for $25. IMG_1082

I also found a black side-by-side refrigerator for $500, with three years left on the extended service contract the original owners had purchased. We had to use it for a repair right away, because after being stored in their garage over the winter it had developed a leak.

Are you looking for something specific? How about something that you could paint or repurpose? Lots of times the older furniture is solid wood and way better quality than you could get brand-new for a comparable price.

How about this buffet for $65, maybe painted white? Rats, I don’t have any room for it.buffet

Look at this cool antique secretary, listed for $100.secretary

Somebody is selling this antique table for $59! Again, I'm thinking paint or maybe just restaining the top.table

There are bargains to be had out there; you just have to look!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

WFMW—Alcohol Removes Ink on Skin

I don’t know about your family, but my kids from time to time like to tattoo themselves with ballpoint ink. Short of scrubbing them raw with a rough washcloth, I found it nearly impossible to remove it, and it would take days and several baths for it to finally fade away.

One day I happened to observe Firstborn using some hand-sanitizer, and was surprised to see his current skin art disappear like magic. Aha! Hand sanitizer is mostly alcohol! I had heard of using rubbing alcohol to remove ballpoint ink on clothing, but never had much success with it (I use hairspray). I guess that’s why it never occurred to me to use it on skin.

I tested it out on one of the kids, and it worked like a charm. Just soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and wipe the ink right off.

A few days later, coincidentally, I had an encounter with a broken ballpoint pen, and had Craig snap a picture in anticipation of this post.IMG_2730

This, admittedly, was tougher than a simple doodle. I washed off what I could; a lot of blue water went down the drain, but it didn't seem to have much effect on how much ink was left on my skin. Then I sat down in front of the TV with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol. CSI kept me occupied while I worked at the ink. IMG_2734Not bad. You can still see some ink under my fingernails (and it just occurred to me that this may not be very convincing since it’s not the same view of my yikes! old lady hand). But I know that soap and water would not have done this well.

Earth shattering? No. But I hope it helps someone next time little Buford decides to decorate himself, on purpose or not.

Visit We Are THAT Family for more tips!

I Was Featured!


Have you visited The DIY Show Off yet?  Roeshel’s blog is a round-up of creative and amazing  projects and tutorials to inspire you.  I submitted my contact paper house numbers and she’s featuring them today.IMG_2399

Be sure to take a look around.  Great stuff!  I mean, just look at Britt’s chandelier on July 5.  Seriously. I’m humbled.

Thanks, Roeshel!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lighten Up

I hope you all had a fun Fourth! Our day was rainy, but we still managed to get in some sparklers and fireworks.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my house and the overall look I want it to have. We’ve done some decorating and painting here and there since we moved in a little over a year ago, but there’s a long way to go. And so far, I don’t feel like it’s really coming together satisfactorily. (I can just hear Craig inwardly groaning as he reads this—more work!)

My likes have changed over the years, and recently I’ve become aware of them taking another turn. I used to really be drawn to rich, darker colors but have been moving away from that in the last few years. Even more so lately, I feel like I want my house to be lighter and brighter. I’m not sure if I would go so far as to decorate totally in white, but it does catch my eye.

white rm bhg

I like the lightness and brightness of this one (below), but it’s a little too clutter-y for my taste. All the purposeful clutter would compete with my accidental clutter/mess/junk.


Country Living

A white bedroom looks soothing and relaxing.whitebdrm


I want to do more searching for inspiration photos, because at the end of the month, my personal decorators will be here for a week. I try to get their input every time I move, and it has been invaluable. The best thing is, they’re free! Yep, it’s a Sisters Get-together! I’m so excited! Fun times ahead!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thrift Store Thursday—07/02

Back in March when I started TST, I said this:

It’s always possible as well that it will show me that I’m spending way more than I think on my “bargains” and nickel-and-diming us to death! In which case the series would have to end.

I’m afraid the time has come, for now at least. I want to cut back on my spending, especially this month (planning a big trip to the beach!). One of the ways I can do that is to stay out of thrift stores. I’m sure I’m not going to quit all together, and from time to time I may still show off my finds. But having a weekly post scheduled on the topic has encouraged me to shop more, to make sure I have something to show, so I’m going to take away that temptation.

I want to thank all of you who joined every week. It was a lot of fun to see everybody’s bargains! In fact, if you find something really great, let me know and I may feature it in a post if you want me to.

So, today’s TST is the last hurrah! I do have a few things to show. I got this cool glass display pyramid thingy at United Volunteers for about $2.50. Now I’ve got to figure out what to display in it.


At a consignment shop I got a bunch of Nancy Drew books for .99 each, plus a Ramona, and Charlotte’s Web.


Then there’s this: Qu'est-ce que c'est?


Ta-da! Vintage folding opera glasses!


I thought they were kind of fun for $2.50.

Okay, last chance to link up!

1. Please link directly to your Thrift Store Thursday post, not your home page.

2. Please mention and link back to my Thrift Store Thursday post.

3. Please put my button in your post, and I'd really love it if you'd use the code to do so :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WFMW—Summer Recipes

For today’s WFMW, Kristen at We Are THAT Family has requested favorite summer recipes.

This idea for this recipe came from Southern Living magazine in the summer of 2000. I tweaked a few things, and we’ve been enjoying it every summer since.

ssaladphoto from flikr

Summer Fruit Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

8 c. salad greens (for 4 servings); I like to use spinach

2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

1 c. fresh strawberries, halved

2 nectarines, sliced

Combine ingredients, drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with 1/2 c. chopped pecans.

Vinaigrette: combine 1/4 c. blueberry all-fruit spread, 1/4 c. finely minced onion, 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar, 2/3 c. vegetable oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1/8 tsp ground ginger, dash cayenne (makes 1 1/2 c, keeps 2 wks in fridge)

Craig and I love to have this salad with grilled chicken on top. You can substitute other fruits you may have; it’s very good with mango and kiwi, too. If I’m just making it for the two of us, I half the vinaigrette recipe.