Thrifty Transformations!


We always look forward to the end result of any task at hand, but there is always a process of getting there.  Now the process can be fun, but sometimes it’s a messy one!  I like to think I have the gift of transforming something not so nice into something pretty cool; after giving it a little love.  A flood of ideas pour into my head, and then I have a project and a vision to complete.  I was on a mission to find a chair to use as a decorative piece in my bedroom; I found this piece and the price was right.  And of course my bedroom walls needed something fun also, so I unexpectedly found some vintage plate holders.

The processing of removing old, gross stain is a process that is messy and also gross.  I somehow got involved in that process quite a few years ago when my dad pretty much let me re-stain all of kitchen cabinets and doors.  I suppose normal teenagers wouldn’t have loved that idea, but I think I was more concerned with him playing various Bob Dylan CD’s over and over when I probably wanted to listen to Blink-182 or Tool.  Needless to say, I learned to appreciate Bob Dylan and learned something new that summer that I still use to this day.

The chair needed a little wood glue so anything weighing more than a cat could sit on it.  Then, there was the process of removing all of the nail head detail — thankfully, I had received a tetanus shot the year before.  Once all of the nail head, staples and fabric were removed, the process of removing the chair’s existing stain began.  That process makes you realize how detailed the chair really is.  However, once those steps are complete, you can then pick out the fun details like fabric, but if you’re like me that step usually comes first…

When I re-finished the chair, I had what is sometimes called a ‘happy little accident’ — I had the chair all stained and needed to seal it with the clear, shiny top coat.  I could only find this American oak stain/polyurethane mix that had a top coat mixed in.  So improvising, because honestly I wanted to finish the chair, I used the American oak top coat.  I liked the end result a lot and will most likely try that again.  The chair has a slightly warmer tone to it and I think the grain stands out even more with the two colors blended.

While I was on the mission of finding a chair, I found one plate holder, then another and then a couple more.  I like when that happens, but I also like when I already own a plate that fits perfectly in one of the plate holders — who passes up a plate that says ‘hot mess’ at Urban Outfitters years ago?  Clearly, not me.  I also like when I find two other plates that fit my color scheme and represent things I like.  The plate holders only needed to be cleaned up a bit and a fresh coat of gold spray paint was applied.  Now all the pieces share a space and bring a smile to my face when I see them!


Planning a Pizza Party Picnic

The third friday during May is National Pizza Party Day, coincidently that day fell on my birthday this year, which was perfect!  I love pizza, I love themed events and who doesn’t love a party?  Immediately, the ideas started to form and a pizza party picnic was happening.  I was probably on Pinterest and stumbled across events with balloons, picnic themed parties and checkered print everything – then my search began for such items for my event.

Not only was the weather perfect, but all of the details blended together perfectly to give an authentic picnic feel.  While I like the theme to shine during an event, I don’t think a fortune needs to be spent to achieve it.  Some of the items are not used on a regular basis, so why spend a ridiculous amount of money on them?  The picnic baskets, flower vases and the cookie/watermelon stand are all from thrift stores for super cheap.

There were too many details that were my favorite for this event, but I can say the pizza balloons and pizza cookies were at the top of the list.  I was able to find red checkered everything – from plates and napkins to paper straws and tablecloths, at that point I had to tell myself that was enough of the print.  Luckily, I found the right amount of pizza flavored or shaped snacks to have a fun variety; they were also great conversation pieces!  Selecting a theme helps keep planning structured, and for me, it helps me say ‘no’ to a lot of unnecessary details I would try to add.  So for your next party, try planning something fun with a theme!


A special thanks to those who joined in the fun for the Pizza Party Picnic!

Seeing Green with a Touch of Spring!

Currently, spring should be in full effect.  However, in the Chicagoland area, that is not the case – we can see snow flurries one minute and five minutes later we can see the sun shining like the snow never happened.  I took advantage of a sunny, spring day and bought some colorful, pretty flowers and put my collection of green Goodwill vases to use.

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I love colorful flowers and colorful home accessories!  This gives me an opportunity to change the look or feel of a room in the most inexpensive way, and I like the basics to be neutral colors that ‘go with everything’.  One of my favorite colors is green – specifically either a rich emerald green or a bright chartreuse green.  During my thrifty adventures, I kept seeing the emerald green glass vases and started to buy the unique styles I didn’t see everywhere – trust me you start to see a lot of repetition and price differences.

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Two of my favorite finds are based on their shape and texture.  The first is a taller, thin piece, but the texture reminds me of the pyramid studs, most reminicent in punk rock accessories.  The second piece is round and short with scales – we could go as far as saying they’re like mermaid scales.  Besides having great shape and texture, these had amazing prices!  Specifically the mermaid scale vase – I found that for 45 cents, 50% off of 90 cents, and the other vase was about $2.00 or less.  I have personal rules for what I will pay for decorative things; I work well in a budget!

Now for adding color with flowers to my fun finds.  Since I went with the emerald green vases, I wanted the flowers to complement them.  I kept my color scheme to white, green, yellow and purple.  The flowers or fillers I went with are as follows: Hydrangeas, yellow calla lilies, carnations, yellow aster solidago, yellow and chartreuse button mums, boronia and some form of mini white daisies.  Some helpful tips I learned – hydrangeas do not like to be cold and will make you aware of that when they start to wilt, boronia is very fragrant in a good way and cats should not eat calla lilies or lilies in general (the cats are fine).

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The idea of having different vases in shapes and sizes is to either have them displayed as a group for a more dramatic look or separately for as something simple and pretty.  Sometimes you want to have one really nice arrangement for your dinner table with different flowers and texture or sometimes you want one type of flower in one color on your nightstand next to your bed.  For me it depends what flowers are in season, what color I want to see, if there is a special event or if it just makes me smile when I see it!

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By no means am I a florist, but I know what I like and what has a good visual flow.  I think this is a fun and simple way to bring a little bit of spring into your home, especially if you’re waiting for the weather to catch up!