Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Thrifty Home Decorating

There is no reason to pay more for things unless you just want to spend money because you can.

If you have been following my blog you know I've been thrift store shopping, am a first year snow bird in Arizona, and have added many fun, and some very useful things to my little pull-along-camper-home.

There's more to my thrifty furnishing and decorating. I shop the discount stores and take advantage of sales whenever I can.

Yesterday I found a seasonal table cloth in a store marked down. It was the largest size made, but it was two dollars less than the smaller ones. It was cheaper because fewer people need the really large cloths. Perfect for me. I bought it and used it to make cloths for both my table inside the camper and the one on my patio. there was also enough cloth left to make a table runner, and two place mats.
All this took was measuring and cutting the cloth into the sizes needed and then only straight sewing to hem them. The cloth is a plaid. This made the cutting soooo easy, as I simply cut along the lines on the cloth. It was also easier because the design was woven and not painted, so it was straight and not printed crooked, which happens often with designs printed on.

A few weeks ago, after looking at the window treatments which came with the camper and getting very irritated with how none of them were at the same height, and all were slanted and not straighten-able, I talked my husband into ripping them down. We replaced all but one window with mini blinds. Additionally I made, and remodeled existing curtains.

Of course the curtains came from a discount store. The longer curtains were the same price as the shorter. Some of the windows are quite wide but all are necessarily short. Knowing I would have to hem every curtain, I decided to get the longer ones and use the cloth that had to be trimmed off to make other curtains or things I needed, such as a dust cover for my printer and to recover the head board on the bed so it will match the curtains!
The camper is used, and the previous owner had replace the kitchen sinks and faucet, and counter top, which was good and bad. There were a few things my husband had to fix better and tweak, but it's more homey looking than the standard camper kitchen.

And .... something used to be in one corner of the living area, but it wasn't there anymore. So we had to find something to put the TV, computer and printer on. The table I found was actually another thrift store buy, on half-price-day at Goodwill! That was a bit of good luck, but also a result of frequent shopping.

The piece of furniture fit the space well. The laptop fits nicely on the pull out shelf meant to hold a computer key board, and the cabinet on the side holds lots of things and hides them nicely. Under it where the chair would normally sit we've used for storing, and to hide a trash container.

To hold address and phone books, and some other necessary stuff, sewing and painting supplies, we found three, three shelf book shelves on sale at a discount store. They work great. One is inside and two are in our shed.

For my little crystal lamp I told about in my previous blog post on thrift store shopping, I bought a light bulb and a shade, at the discount store, of course. The lamp, light bulb and shade cost me $13.00 total. It's perfect. The shade matches in color with the decorations already in the camper, and it's much easier to see what I'm sewing.

Other items that are very useful and were not expensive are a little table for my sewing machine, which is actually meant to be a computer table for a laptop and a folding stool I use when sewing, or at my 'desk/entertainment center/storage cabinet'. Seasonal items, which work perfectly with the existing decor in the camper, include a quilt, and pillow cases in a co-ordinating color to dress the bed, dish towels which I cut in half and made into window valances for my kitchen area. Additionally I purchased an inexpensive but fun clock, rug and spoon rest to match. A three dollar clock for the living area, a small digital alarm clock for the bedroom and a comfy chair and afghan, and finally a foot stool, on sale, that also holds sewing supplies round out my decorating and furnishing.

The total expense for all my thrift store finds, decorations and furniture I'm estimating at around $500.00.

My point is this. Anyone who wants to decorate inexpensively can. It takes an investment of time, a little thought about what colors you like and that will work with things you can't easily change, some imagination and a good measure of enthusiasm. It's so much fun when it all comes together. Other RV park residents who have seen our little home have been very complimentary, calling it a little doll house! Cute.

Go out and shop the discount stores and thrift stores and have fun making your home pretty and functional!

God bless and care for you all.

Monday, November 8, 2010

'Thrifting' More and More!

Friends at the RV park invited me to go with them to the Goodwill Store on Saturday because it was half-price-on-everything Saturday! So got myself up and going early, even though it was so tempting to stay in my jammies for a while longer!

Turned out to be worth the effort.

My finds included a vintage crystal bowl, a pretty, and currently very useful crystal lamp, a larger-than-others-I-had skillet, and two old friends! Hadn't seen the friends for a long time, and it was nice to visit with them a little, and I my purchases cost me about $9.00 total! (In the photo below you can see the lamp from Goodwill and the basket from a church rummage sale. In another post I'll tell of other economic finds four of which are also pictured here!)

Previous thrifting trip:

On Friday another friend and I went to a rummage sale at a local church. That was really good value for the money. I think I spent $5.50. I walked away with a clock, two bags of small owl things for my daughter who collects owls, about four vintage glass dishes, a very nice basket for my sewing supplies, a pearl necklace and four other pieces of jewelry (all the jewelry together were $1.10), and a vintage canning jar and lid.

Several days this week:

I've made visits to the Assistance League Thrift Store. This is where I've found all the cute little elephants. The collection is being donated by the husband of the woman who loved them. There were approximately 1500 elephants.

Everyone gave her elephants as gifts, and apparently they all tried to outdo each other! I've collected about 30 of the smallest ones to display in our little camper-home. My collection is entirely from hers. In it I have two thimbles, a little planter, a tiny tea pot, a candle holder, a pitcher and a pendant besides severa; regular figurines. Two of the figurines are on rollers. One is an Indian God (Ganache? or something similar is the name). Others I've seen from her collection were coffee cups, vases, embroidered on clothing, and more.

One day when I was asking the clerks in the shop about this other elephant collector. Amazingly enough, a few minutes later about five of her friends came in. They had just come from planting a tree in her honor at the high school where they had all attended. They had also made a plaque to be displayed so people will know about her and that her friends loved her so much they planted the tree in her honor.

One of the ladies told me their friend's name was Nona. She and the other women had been friends since girlhood. They saw each other once a week for lunch, and called themselves 'the lunch bunch'.  She not only collected elephants for years, she was also a passionate gardener, which was the reason they planted a tree in her memory. She loved gardening and loved her roses best. When her arthritis became so bad she couldn't bend or kneel to tend to her plants her husband made her a stool with rollers to allow her to continue gardening.

The friends said she always gave gifts to everyone who came to visit and to each of them at their lunches. She was loving and well loved. She passed away at about seventy seven years of age.

I love being able to give a few of her elephants a new home! I think she'd be happy someone has them who loves them as much as she did.

Earlier thrifting:

And a couple of weeks ago another friend from the RV park and I visited the local Habitat for Humanity thrift store. At that store I found my tiny little table. In this small space there was only room for a tiny table! When I found it I knew it had been there just waiting on me. It was brown wood and had a tile on top and one on a small shelf near the bottom of it. I painted the brown in the accent color I've been using. Every other park resident who has seen it wants one like it for their little space!

Even other thrift store shopping treasures:

While writing this and looking around my little home thrift store finds are everywhere. An oval metal container with a pretty map on; it is my 'junk drawer' (I don't have enough real drawers), frames for my family photos (I brought the photos via the computer and printed out here) and a small vase from one of my first trips to the AL Thrift Store, and a TV which came complete with remote and booklet!

(OK yes I know you see them, our bingo daubers, in my junk drawer. Well, it's a retirement community! We went to bingo once so far, and as I always do when I'm new and apt to make others who go all the time and seldom win angry, I won one game. A whole $24.00. Guess where I spent most of it.)

(The image on the TV wasn't what I saw when I pushed the button on the camera. Weird.)

And so, that's my most recent thrifting adventures! No doubt there will be more, and more, and more! If you haven't tried thrift store shopping maybe you ought to start!