Tuesday, July 24, 2012

buy what you love

Let me start by saying that I am not super antique savvy, nor do I have any desire to be. I do love watching Antiques Road Show and Market Warriors and I take the advice offered there, buy what you love
And that is exactly what I did this past weekend at my neighborhood antique store.

With my best girlfriend in town, and two husbands willing to baby chase for a couple of hours, we headed out in her truck. Let me show you what we found while I throw around some antiquey terms I learned from PBS.

This particular shop offers antiques, reproductions and contemporary thrifty items. These soap dishes seemed great for anything but soap, business card holder, floral frog, etc. Hmmmmm, that gives me an idea, I  may need to go back for one of these.

This guy greeted us on the way in. I don't know his provenance but I didn't love him 85 dollars worth. 
Pretty cool though.

The crowded store didn't always allow for the most optimal photos, but believe me, this drink bucket was huge and a steal at $12. It had a replacement lid but this round wood box had an igloo liner in fantastic shape. Great for outdoor entertaining with a rustic or mid-century modern feel.

Jessica and I both loved this rug and we were almost going to fight over it (not really) before she remembered she doesn't like orange and I remembered all of the other home projects that needed my attention, and wallet, first.

This is a great example of something I would have bought if I wasn't married. I was smitten with this footstool. No joke, I even loved the fabric. It was only $28 bucks (look at those legs) but I could hear Dana groaning in my head, he would have hated it. That's love for you.

So what did I buy? Something for little Desmond of course.
High up on a shelf sat this rocking horse. Handmade horses don't come cheap and I expected him to be out of budget, but for only 24 beans he got to ride home with us. 

This goes back to buy what you love. Although he is handmade and solid, his head had been replaced at some point over time causing him to lose any real vintage value. This fact actually makes it a lot easier for me to take the leap and paint him a nice bright color.

I can't wait to get started, Desmond is going to love it.
I promise a full report when I'm done.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

inventive birthday invites

 With less than a month to go before a certain 1st birthday party the diy-ing is in full swing.

First our theme;  Strong Man Birthday!
 Fitting since this kid is a toughie and I have called him Mama's Little Strong Man since day one.  

Although the popularity of strong men is on the rise I don't expect to see barbell party favors at Target this year, but no one around here wants a store-bought party anyway...at least not yet. 

A quick google search revealed a vintage strong man image on etsy for $1, and I could use it for all sorts of party decor. Sweet! I hit the purchase button and was ready to start on the invitations.

I popped the image into Photoshop and added some text and party details. I now had a quick and easy party invite ready to print.

Since this is going to be a small family gathering I only needed 5 sheets of paper for my invites. After some printing trial and error I headed for my trusty journal of recycled color paper that I bought 8-ish years ago, it has come in handy for all sorts of projects.

The texture of the paper really adds to the old-time carnival feel, here's a close up:

An awesome invite like this couldn't go into a plain envelope, time to whip something up.

Enter these popcorn bags and thank you cards that I stumbled upon in a $1 bin at Michael's while buying canvas for this guest room project. Boy am I glad I swooped them up. These paper bags can be converted into envelopes.

Time to flatten!

A quick cut to remove the gluey bottom and make a shorter envelope.

Off to the sewing machine!

Sewing paper? YES!!!! You should try it.
I stitched to close the bottom of the envelope and also up the sides to keep the bag pressed flat.

I didn't want to seal it closed though. I wanted the envelope to still look like a bag when it was opened. After a quick look around the studio I found this ball of natural string that would work perfectly.
They look so pretty!

I thought I was done until I found a pack of red raffle tickets the next day at the dollar store (this was not a usual pit stop and the flukey nature of this find makes it all the better.) They came 250 in a pack, and I only needed 10, but I will be able to use them for decoration on the big day too.

Since they looked so darn cute when I was done, and to ensure no tickets were lost, I put them each in a 
6" X 9" manila envelope to mail. Which, by the way, still counts as a letter and only needs a 45 cent stamp, bonus.

Not including postage, here is the expense breakdown:

Strong Man image, $1
6 Carnival popcorn bags,  $1
Red raffle tickets, $1
Journal paper, string and manila envelopes I had in the studio.

And if you include the thank you notes:
6 Carnival thank you notes, $1

That's right, the grand total for this project was 4 smackers for party invitations and thank you notes. Unheard of! Sometimes I even surprise myself.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

thrift score thursday

In an attempt to get back to my old thrifting self, I am creating this reoccurring post to display some of my great thrift store finds and show off what I do with them. Since I will always be shopping with baby I am setting a goal of one post per month, that sounds reasonable.

The Hunt:  Rectangular Tablecloth. We are receiving a hand-me-down dining table from my folks that, despite being older than me, is in great shape. It is large with leaves to fit 8 or more people. I only own vintage tablecloths (my grandmother's) that fit a card table or small round table, which is what we currently use.

The Score:  Twin size Ikea duvet cover, 100% cotton. BRAND NEW!!! That's right, never used.
My eye went straight to it on the rack.
 I love the versatility of the organic orange shapes; great for Autumn, parties, or all summer long. The best part, no stains to remove and minimal sewing to close up the duvet hole.

That's right, 5 bucks! 
You can't buy a rectangular tablecloth at Target for that. Did I mention that the duvet was new? 
But wait, that tag says 2 piece...

Bonus:   ...It did come with a sham that had been used and washed and used and washed some more. You can see the color difference. Still stain free but the faded orange was looking more burnt than bold, on the bright side it looked kind of vintage to me and I can see a future for it in our house.

Hmmmmmm, maybe the b-side to some throw pillows?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

diy for desmond

We are incredibly fortunate to be still using gifts from our baby shower, more incredible because this baby is growing like crazy. The fact that his bibs were covering less and less of him couldn't be ignored any longer.

This past weekend I carved out a couple of hours to diy for Desmond. 

I whipped up a quick pattern (on the back of a cereal box) that was a combination of two bibs. One from the book Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner and the other by my friend April Scott, Desmond owns two of hers and we love them.

All four are made from fabrics that I had in my stash, yay, I love shopping in my studio.

Although we're not big on sports themes around here, this vintage pattern may just be my favorite. It includes a hockey player (rare) and he's not wearing a helmet.

This is a much better look.
His face may say, "Not now, I have a mouth full of apple." But I know he's thinking, "Thank you Mama. A well fitting bib makes the man."

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Pardon my absence, we were part of the hundreds of thousands without power for a time. Pardon the lack of photo journalism, when you are taking shelter from tornadoes and rationing your bottled water usage you aren't thinking about your blog you are thinking about your baby.

After all of the organizing and decorating, prepping and primping, we lost power while our house guests were here....from Maine...and it was 101 degrees. 

Here is a snapshot of our weekend of chaos. 

Thursday AM : Tucker is playing in the yard and pulls a muscle. Dana takes him to the vet and he has since  made a full recovery.

Thursday - Friday : Family arrives and everything is looking up. That includes the heat which is keeping us all inside and cancelling some of our site seeing. This is hot even for southerners.

Late Friday Night : Dana and I hear the severe thunderstorm warning while at his folks. We fly out of the house and run all the way home with me pushing Desmond in the stroller (good thing it's a jogger) and Dana still holding his beer. Dana says, "This has to be one of the funniest things we've ever done together."
We make it inside just in time.

Saturday : My in-laws lose power. They live in our neighborhood but we are miraculously electrified.
Fortunately they have a generator, no air conditoning but the water is running (we are on wells.) 

My brother-in-law and his wife move to Canada. The UHaul in our driveway causes neighborhood gossip.

Saturday Evening : Dinner is moved to our house. Everyone staying with us pitches in to help convert our table for 4 to a table for 14.  Another storm is on the way and I suggest we get dinner in the oven sooner rather than later. 

Just as dinner is about ready the smart phones in the room go crazy with a tornado warning. We lose power. Everyone takes cover and I strap Desmond to me. Thankfully is was an EF0 but it struck very close to us.

Our house has no generator. Everyone heads back to my in-laws to have a working toilet and running water. They will all sleep there on cots and air mattresses and couches. 

Sunday : Half of our guests head back north to slightly cooler temperatures and electricity. Desmond falls on  his head, we take him to the emergency room. (In and out in a half an hour, luckily he's fine.)

Sunday Night : With half of the guests back home Dana and I decide to sleep at my in-laws where there are at least fans and water. I was also saved from having to buy disposable diapers by my father-in-law who deemed it a good use of our precious generator energy to wash diapers.

Monday Morning : Waking up with little Desmond to the sound of silence outside our window, no generators buzzing, we have POWER!!! 

Our guest dog cooled down fast.

Monday - Tuesday : All of our guests have safely returned home after a calamitous visit. I can't believe those resilient Mainers have actually promised to come back again.

Despite a trip to a museum and nature center my nephew is most excited about the cable, ie cartoons, being restored. 

Wednesday : I am knee deep in tablecloths, towels, and bedding. I refuse to run the dryer in this heat for more than a fluff and have linens hanging all over the place.

But it is the 4th of July, after all, and we escape the cleaning that remains and exhale a sigh of relief that our wacky weekend is over as we enjoy some fireworks.

Hope everyone out there didn't have to wait to long for the air to come back on.