Guest Room Bench

Several months ago, I snagged this little $5 bench from a thrift store. I thought it would be the perfect addition to our guest room, as it would provide a drop zone for bags or a spot to slip on shoes. My goal was to use things I already had on hand to give it a quick face lift. 

Since the fabric had seen better days, I grabbed a remnant from my stash to recover it. 

We popped off the top...

and were left with a solid piece of wood to recover. The lines were nice and straight, making this a simple piece to recover. I added some fresh batting, covered it with new fabric, and stapled like crazy. The wooden legs received a coat of leftover green spray paint that was stored in the garage. 

To finish it off, we added a mirror that we already owned above some pegs that I bought for $1. It's nothing earth-shattering, but I like that it makes sense of that blank space between the door and closet. Gotta love a quick makeover!

Hmm... Maybe I should do a post on the entire guest room, as it's received a few additional updates this year. 

Nifty Thrifty: May 2016

Several of you (all five of you lovely readers, haha) mentioned that you enjoyed the previous thrifting post. Since thrifting is one of my absolute favorite things to do, I'm happy to keep these posts going. Let's get into it.  

I am still swooning over this rocker. This look is very much "on trend" right now - especially in the world of mid-century nurserys seeking a sleeker, more modern look. Being in nearly mint condition certainly didn't hurt either. 

Woven seats are trending, with leather leading the way. Although not leather, I thought this was a fun set - unfortunately there were only three chairs instead of a full set of four (one of the drawbacks of thrifting). I picture these around a game table in a basement or man cave, or maybe next to a console in an entryway for added interest and a place to slip on shoes. And while the color of the wood is fine, these could look cool painted all black or even an unexpected contrasting color.

Finding quality textiles for CHEAP is the best. This set of cloth napkins is from Crate & Barrel. I appreciate that they can be washed (they're used, after all), but the reality is that many of the cloth napkins and table cloths I run across look as though they've hardly been used. I mean, how often do you use yours? I'm definitely trying to use our cloth napkins more often, and I love the thought of dining alfresco with these. For the record, I often find used textiles like this from Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, World Market, and Williams-Sonoma. 

Here's a darling vintage set of napkins. Bring back all the embroidery!! These reminded me of my SIL...shout out to Leah!

Dressers like this always make me want to redo a bathroom. I see these used all the time as vanities and paired with a vessel sink. I was glad to see that all the ring-pull hardware was in good shape.

Love this shabby table! No surprise that it already had a "sold" tag on it. 

I always keep an eye out for full sets of glassware. Wouldn't these be fun for ice cream sundaes? I'm having flashbacks of our Whit's End Odyssey party back in day...

I've never been to Europe, but photos of Cinque Terre get me every time. I'd reframe this watercolor print in something more modern - maybe a black or dark wood frame, or even a fun color pulled from the picture itself. This could add a nice pop of color to a home office (so you could dream about wherever else you'd rather be...), hallway, or a bathroom. Bonus points if you've actually been there!

Side tables are a major weakness of mine. If this had been part of a set of two, it would have come home with me. Thumbs up for casters, unblemished caning, and the details on the legs. The brass accents don't hurt either. 

It's a little tough to see, but this creamy white headboard with matching footboard (the one with the painted flower on it) would be sweet in a little girl's room.

So I really thought I'd stumbled across the find of the century when I saw this Jenny Lind bed for $20. That's pretty much unheard of. I was thisclose to hauling it home (heck, I'd resell it for profit if I couldn't find a place for it) when I realized one of the spokes had broken off. Nooooo!

My sister, Hannah, has been adding to her milk glass collection, so this little beut came home with me and will eventually make its way across country to Nashville. I love that it's on the smaller size for a cake plate, complete with a rimmed edge. I'm sure she'll fill it with homemade macarons - or maybe one of those tall, thin round cakes?! 

I found one of these pocket change plates a few years ago and gave it to my brother-in-law for a birthday gift. Naturally, this one needed to come home with me so that there could be a set in our family. Brass deserves all the heart eyes!

This tablecloth screams boho. Wouldn't this fabric make a fun throw pillow? Again, I really need to learn to many lost opportunities. 

This one's a little random, but these lined Pottery Barn curtains were just a few bucks. The spunky green color and corduroy texture would make a solid addition to a boy bedroom or playroom. My only beef is that they were 84 inches long, and I usually prefer my curtains to be 90 inches plus so they can be hung high and wide. 

If you're still following along, I saved the best for last. I am SO into this chinoiserie style dresser (don't miss the bamboo/rattan edges). It's beat up, but a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware would bring this baby completely back to life. It was $20, and I have a feeling it'll still be there next weekend at half off - so $10! The size of this would be perfect in an entryway - or even a guest bedroom. And in spite of my normally neutral tendencies, I'd say go all out and paint this a bright color - peacock blue, coral, navy, red...even black. Lacquered would be amazing, but of course I have no idea how to do that... 

Each of these pieces could provide a starting point for designing a room. And that is why I need some other homes to work on, since I'll never have the space in my own home, and of course my ideas are all over the style board. Let this be a lesson to you - thrifting can provide great inspiration!

As usual, what would you take home? Cheers!

Mother's Day 2016

Over the past few years, our family has adopted a “Christmas in May” tradition.  It really is the best of both worlds, since May in Indiana is green and warm - and pretty much just a lovely thing.  The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season has subsided, leaving obligations few and far between, allowing us time to hang out with each other.  We all love it.  This year was no exception, and since we all (aside from Uncle Caleb/C-Dogg - boo!) were able to spend Mother’s Day together, we decided to make it an extra special occasion.  

Truthfully, my sister, Hannah, was the main gal behind this operation.  While we all chipped in a few thoughts and the occasional helping hand, she really brought this to life.  (I tip my hat to you, younger sister.  I never thought the day would come, but I hereby relinquish my duties as eldest sibling and happily pass them on to you.  Ha!)  

So you’re probably wondering what in the world I’m babbling on about.  The most fabulous Mother’s Day styled dinner, that’s what!  We were able to make the most of my parent's beautiful property, with the marshland that Dad grew up on serving as our backdrop.  As my SIL, Leah, said so well, this really was about honoring Mom and Dad, and enjoying a special time together.  The ambiance certainly didn’t hurt – but that wasn’t the main event.  When Ross suggested that we all share our favorite “Mom Moments,” resulting in a delightful walk down memory lane, it truly was the icing on the cake.   

We love you, Mom!  After all the Mother’s Day brunches that you threw for others while we were growing up, you definitely deserved a night to call your own.    



Nifty Thrifty: April 2016

My sister, Hannah, lives in Nashville - home of 5th & Taylor, where the fried chicken and jammy sausage biscuits will blow your mind, and a spoonful of Jeni’s ice cream will lead you to spend $25 for a pint (that’s not a typo) of browned butter almond brittle goodness to be delivered across country to your front door. Divine dining aside, thrifting in Nashville is expensive. It’s hard to find unique pieces at junk prices, because people recognize their value. While amazing shopping abounds, it comes at a high price.  

And that’s when I realized that Colorado Springs is a gem of a city when it comes to thrifting. So few people seem to recognize the good stuff. They’re browsing racks of Gap blue jeans, while dough bowls and full sets of Wedgwood and Wexford await an aisle over. (That’s only sort of true…I’ve yet to stumble upon a dough bowl. I’m optimistic though.) Or they’re hikingbikingclimbingskiingbeingsuperhardcore. I love those things too, but sometimes a girl just wants to shop, am I right?!  

On Saturdays, our local ARC thrift stores discount most everything to half off. Since I refuse to become a hoarder, I’ve decided to take photos of my favorite finds and post them here every so often. Along with a photo, I’ll add my two cents as to why I think these items are great finds. Are you excited for some virtual window shopping?! Check out the wares of the past month.  

I adore mid-century side tables. These remind me so much of the ones in our living room, and they are the best! Tall and slim, with very cool knobs. Best of all, they are a matching pair, which is really hard to find at an affordable price. Pretty sure these were $25 total... I noticed that someone snagged them before I left the store.

Again, love the mid-century vibe of this bench. It actually came home with me. I'll post an update on this piece soon, as it received a paint job and some new upholstery, along with a new home in our guest bedroom.  

Anything rattan/bamboo has me smitten these days. Those stripes don't hurt either - although they were pretty badly stained, so new upholstery might be involved. One of the best things about rattan is that it looks great natural, but it's also crazy easy to spray paint. It takes on a decidedly more modern feel when done up in a crisp white or cheery color. This pair would be fun on a porch - or even in a bedroom reading nook.

Apparently I found several "pairs" this month! That's always a win in my book. These lamps could use some new shades, but I was really drawn to their marble bases. How cool would these be in a handsome library? You know, because all of us have libraries these days...  

Chunky wooden curtain rod rings add such pretty detail to window treatments, and there was a whole slew of them. At half off, they'd be a buck apiece. Not sure if that's a good deal or not...

Why hello there, waxy armadillo. Just seeing if you were still paying attention. ; )

I always love a good bankers chair - the darker color on this one is great. These work well in home offices - even pulled up to a built-in desk in the kitchen - or in a bedroom.  

I picture these pretty lamps in a girl's room. Gotta love the marble base and soft pink combo. 

Bird botanicals are another favorite of mine, and again, this was a full set of four rather than one lonely piece. I was kind of digging the matting color, but those could be swapped out along with the frames - or spray painted. For a more modern look, re-frame these with crisp white matting and black or white frames.  

Oh are so dreamy. I actually took these pretty pieces home with me. Maybe for Molly's big girl room? Not sure if the frames will stay or go yet...

It's really hard to tell from this photo, but this mirror is huge! While the frame color could stand to be updated, this was a steal at about $15. Perhaps leaning against a wall in a bedroom or entryway?  

I'd swap out the art in this one, but the large bamboo-style frame caught my eye.  

Love this tablecloth for dining alfresco. It lends that bohemian vibe and brings in a nice pop of color.  

Yeesh...okay, apparently I have an addiction to rattan. I really love the lines of these chairs. Unfortunately, there were only three chairs to this set, which makes them significantly harder to use. I suppose two of them could be used at the end of a table. Also, I wasn't sure if they'd be very comfortable, but adding a cushion would probably work just fine. 

Very cool architectural piece. Could work well as art or propped up on a mantel. It's definitely a statement piece.

Thrifter in training. Liam actually loves looking around the ARC. I should totally do a separate post on his favorite finds. Let's just say he's still developing his "eye." : ) So this basket. It's just massive, and it's hard to find big baskets in general, let alone for $5. I wondered if this could be tweaked to work as a Christmas tree basket skirt, but it's probably too tall for that. Liam said it would hold all of his toys - of course.

Chunky cutting boards are always fun. Stuff like this works well for staging.

And while this one might look random, I am so into it. It's a queen duvet cover made from a nubby linen material. I love the boho look of this and think it would be so cute in a teen's bedroom. 

So many of these pieces could provide a starting point - that spark of inspiration - for a room. With a little digging and a few tweaks, most of these would be good as new (and probably higher quality) at a fraction of the price. Okay, time for the favorites game! Which one would you take home?

Boy Oh Boy

One of the best parts of hosting a baby shower is that no kids are allowed!  Oh the irony.  While we love our babes, there is something so refreshing about gathering with a group of just women.  And it also means I can pretty things up a bit more, since no chubby hands will be grabbing for things!  

As this is Amber’s second baby boy, I decided simple and celebratory was best.  Invites were sent via Pingg (a service similar to Evite) for an evening of dessert and drinks.  I made some of the food myself and filled in with additional goodies from Trader Joe’s and Nothin’ Bundt Cakes (which Mom and I happily tested out prior to the shower).    

And as my Mom always says, everything looks better on a pedestal – cake plates for the win!

The décor came mainly from fresh eucalyptus that I snagged at Trader Joe’s, along with a few votive candles plunked into mason jars.  As usual, I laid out food on white serving ware.  I love that it all goes together but isn’t too matchy matchy.

Since all of us pretty much dread shower games at this point (thank the Lord – no more sticking our faces into diapers loaded with squished up chocolate bars), I skipped right past ‘em and opted for a simple craft instead. My thought was that sometimes it’s nice to keep your hands busy while you chat, and I loved the idea of everyone gathered around the table - talking, nipping at dessert, and creating a personal gift for Amber and her new baby to enjoy.  

You really cannot have too many burp cloths (which lend themselves as cleaning rags in their second life), so I decided we would gussy some up as a craft.  I picked up plain white cloth diapers at Target, as well as embroidery thread, fabric stamps & paint, plus ribbon from Hobby Lobby.  Amber’s nursery décor is mostly navy, blues, and greens, so I stuck with those colors.  I figured there was enough variety to satiate the more ambitious crafters while allowing other guests simpler options.

It ended up being really fun, and while I didn’t get any photos of the completed burp cloths, there were several really cool ones.  I would totally do this project again, as it was a wonderfully low-key form of entertainment.  

Finally, everyone wrote a baby blessing in the book I Love You More, which Amber will be able to pass on to her son every time they snuggle up to read. 

I’m so grateful for sweet evenings like these!  And of course, congratulations to my dear friend Amber on her baby boy!




Teacher Appreciation Gifts

After teaching 8th grade English for seven years, I’m fully aware of how necessary it is to show teachers our gratitude.  Recently, I organized teacher appreciation gifts for our church’s Sunday school and thought I’d share some tidbits in hopes that you’ll pay it forward in your own community!

There’s always a debate over whether or not giving a gift card is too boring or impersonal, but honestly, I LOVED receiving gift cards as a teacher.  We ended up going with a card to Trader Joe’s, since we figured they have something for everyone.  (One teacher sweetly let me know that she’s using hers to purchase several bouquets of flowers.  You go, girl!)  To keep the gifts from feeling sterile, I chose to add in a few semi-personal touches, along with cute packaging. 

I kept it pretty simple, using a lot of texture and twine, plus a “Thank you for helping us GROW!” message written on black paper with a chalk marker.  For the record, I snagged all of these items- twine, burlap, paper sacks, paper, & chalk marker - at Hobby Lobby and lucked out with them nearly all being on sale. 

To drive the message home a bit more, I ordered a tray of succulents online and added an individually wrapped plant in each teacher’s gift (you know, to make sure they got the “grow” part of the message ; ).  So I’m probably the last person on earth to realize this, but did you know that succulents can be ordered in bulk online?!  The best part is that they were sooo much cheaper this way.  Less than $1 per plant.  And they arrived on my doorstep within a few days in perfect condition.  I ordered these from Mountain Crest Gardens, but they can also be found on Etsy, eBay, Amazon, and a bunch of other sites.  Since succulents are so hardy and require hardly any maintenance, I figured they were one of the few plants I could keep alive until the gifts were delivered…

Well, hello there, lovelies. 

To stay within budget, I decided to keep the succulents in their own plastic dividers rather than buying individual pots for each one.  I snipped around each divider and then masked the black plastic by wrapping each plant in a square of burlap tied with twine.

Of course, I had to throw in a sweet treat, so each gift included two homemade chocolate chip cookies, which I slipped into a small plastic baggie tucked inside a prettier sack covered in gold polka dots. 

Since I needed a way to easily transport and hand each teacher their gift, I opted to assemble everything inside a simple brown paper bag, tied off neatly with baker’s twine and a thank you tag.  The cookies, succulent, and gift card nestled inside each one nicely. 

We handed these out on Sunday morning – which tends to be slightly chaotic around our house – so I pre-assembled these on Saturday.  The cookies kept just fine in their plastic baggies, as did the succulents, being such wonderfully difficult plants to kill.  Pretty packages for the win!

It’s been a joy giving these to the teachers who bless our kiddos each week.  And although it’s a simple gesture, it’s been gladly received.  How have you reached out to the teachers in your world lately?