Friday, January 29, 2010

My Little Pretties

I consider even a bad day thrifting to be a good day, because... well... I am thrifting!  It is one of my greatest obsessions.  Even if I don't find a thing, I still love the thrill of the hunt.  I love to consider the possibilities, the "what ifs" and the "how abouts".

I swear, when I walk into a thrift store, my eyes focus a bit sharper, I hear harp music, my palms start to get clammy, and my heart rate quickens as I escalate into what I call "the mode".  And most thrift stores don't even have escalators.

You have to be in "the mode" in order to find the perfect find. What's a perfect find, you might ask? You can read all about it in my first post.  There are definitions there for you to understand the perfect find. Yes. I said definitions. Don't worry, there isn't a quiz.

 So last Sunday, it was a dreary January day here.  Cold, rainy, gray skies. Ick.  My daughter called and asked her favorite question. "Whatcha doin' Momma?" Don't ask me why.  The girl has asked it since she learned how to talk. Come to think of it, that may have been her first sentence.  Sure seems that way. Anywhoooo...

After whining in her ear for a good ten minutes about how cruddy the weather was and how down trodden I was feeling because of said weather, one of the two of us pitched the idea.  I don't remember who said it.  Doesn't matter.  The fact is, it was said.  "Wanna go thrifting?"

As fast as a lightning bolt flashes across the sky, my mood went from down trodden to... um... up trodden??? Whatever. I was giddy! As in giddy-up-go!

We had to hurry though, we had a thirty minute drive and it was already 3:00, the store closes at 5 PM.  Remember this, it is important.

This was going to be a great day.  I could feel it.  I wasn't wrong.

Let me introduce you to a great day of thrifting in a little tale that I am calling "My Little Pretties."

One of my favorite hunting spots is a Goodwill store that is in a town about 30 minutes south of here. It is divided into two parts.  One part that is set up like a retail store with items placed on shelves and such; the other part is, well... not.  Let's just say that the other part is the part where the true sport of hunting comes into the picture.

Some people would immediately be turned off by the mere sight of mounds and mounds of unfolded clothing, items stacked haphazardly on the shelves that line the entire perimeter of the room, and items put with other items that should never be put in the same room together, let alone sit next to each other.

Now, you may be asking why on earth I love to go to this place.  Well, let me tell ya why! In that frumpy part of the room, I have never paid more than a dollar for any given item. Wait. Not true. I paid $12 for my chandelier.  A cast iron, heavy as heck, be-tassled beauty that I am going to be showing off here soon. But, other than that, I have never paid more than a dollar for any purchase there. Ever. Well, til last Sunday.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

So we left home at 3:00 PM, made the thirty minute drive to Goodwill. We walk in. It is 3:45 PM.  Okay, we stopped for a snack, sheesh!  Eyes start to scan the room, palms getting clammy, harp music, good, good, better grab a cart, I am feeling the mode today. I step onto the escalator and so it begins. Enter character number one.

This little apothecary cutie practically jumped into my cart all by herself. She was jumping up and down on the shelf, screaming "Pick me! Pick me!" like she was a contestant on The Price is Right and I was Bob Barker. 

I have big plans for her this weekend. 

Oh, did I mention? She was a quarter. Don't hate.

Next up. These may look like two styrofoam balls to the untrained eye.  I see the bases for my next two topiaries.  Quarter.

These tiny twins are just begging to become something greater.  Anyone who's been around the decorating blogs in blog world knows that these are not just candle holders.  They stand just about two inches tall and are dying to be the sturdy little base of an adorable creation I am whipping up this weekend.  Don't get ahead of me.

This is where the ability to sharpen your focus comes in handy.  You are going to have to look deep here. Hidden far beneath all of the "decorative" frou frou, the trained thrifter's eye sees a lovely weathered white heart shaped wreath.  Look deep, she's there. Fifty cents, and some frou frou to boot!

I rounded the corner and whoa horsey! The Goodwill has added a new feature.  A pillow bin!  A pillow bin with a sign.  A pillow bin with a sign that reads "All Pillows, $1.00"


So I dove in like a kid in a ball pit at Chucky Cheese's and commenced to sortin'. Amongst all of the run-of-the-mill pink and powder blue polyester throw pillows that always seem to have a discolored stain shaped like Italy (or something equally as odd), were two pillows that were very, very frightened.  Both of them were sitting together and when they saw me, they begged me to please get them out of there.  I was happy to oblige.

This one had a tiny stain on the flower on the left hand side.  I figured for a dollar, she was worth trying to save, I mean look at that lovely embroidery work!  Can you say vintage? Can you say goes perfectly with the decor I am planning for my studio/guest room makeover? Well? Can you?

As a side note, there is an absolute gem of a stain remover out there called Awesome.  No, I am not making it up. I brought this pillow home and sprayed that stain with Awesome, tossed it in the laundry, and poof, stain gone. This stuff has worked on everything I have used it on.  No joke.  One product that lives up to it's name.  Yeah, I know.  I should be in commercials.

Do you see a stain? I see a drop dead gorgeous battenburg lace pillow.  Yep, that's what I see. And she's cushy as all get out.

Let me introduce you to her friend.  A "Vintage Modern Thomas O'Brien" pillow. French Blue twill with shimmery gold embroidery.  These sold at Target for $29.99.  Oh, did I forget to mention?  I got her for a dollar. 

There wasn't a thing wrong with her. Other than the fact that she was amongst all the pillows with the Italian stains. That meant that she would have to be washed.  For a dollar, I was willing to risk it. So I got her home, only to find this:

A very discreet hidden zipper that only the best designer pillows have. And I knew she was soft, but when I unzipped the cover to wash it, only then did I discover why: She is a goose down pillow!  Filled with soft downy goodness. I washed the cover and while it washed, I collected some stray feathers that had come out of the pillow form and transformed my birdnest.

From this:to this:

And the results of the washing?

Perfection! I can't find one single solitary snag or thread out of place. Love.

At this point, I headed over to the shelves of doom.  You remember, the shelves where things sit side by side that should never sit side by side.  Like, for instance, a crusty old stained telephone with a cord that had more kinks and curls in it than Nicole Kidman's hair (remember Days of Thunder? Wow. Remeber telephone cords? Double wow!).  Sitting next to the phone from Joe's Garage (it said so in black magic marker, okay?) was this delicate little beauty.  Again, the trained eye.

French Blue. Embossed texture. Made in England. Fifty cents.

Slowly, I walk along the shelves of doom, looking, sorting, inevitably up on my tippy toes at some point because I am vertically challenged (my hubby likes to tell people I am all of five foot nuttin') when hit the brakes, Sally, what do we have here?

Only the most adorable place card holders on the planet! 

Now mind you, I don't ever set a table fancy enough to warrent the use of place card holders, but for a dollar, I just might start. 

Nah, it would just confuse Mountain Man.

In reality, these beauties will probably work their way into a craft project or six. I think they would make adorable lables for plants, sitting in front of pots of herbs in my kitchen window.  If I had pots of herbs in my kitchen window. 

Perhaps I will start growing some, in this pretty little pot.


This is where I broke my record of only spending a dollar.  She was $1.50.  But tell me she isn't worth it!  The photo doesn't do her justice.  Tiny shards of shiny china and beautiful blue grout lines. Lovely! Again, on the shelves of doom.  I know!

No sooner did I sit the pot in my cart, when I looked down on the bottom shelf and sitting there as cute as could be was this adorable little fella.

How could I resist those ears?

That tail?

That price!  Twenty. Five. Cents!

Get in my cart!

Now in the next photo, some of you may see a white tray adorned with patriotic goodness.

Patriotic, nautical, Pisces goodness.

Emphasis on the goodness.  As in "GOODNESS!" Which happened to be my exact first response when I spotted it.

But upon further contemplation, I started to see a pretty little moss filled picket fence yard for my adorable new bunny to sit and munch carrots in.
Fifty cents. Get in the cart.

Rounding out the tour past the shelves of doom, I found these two familiar friends chatting. 

I noticed right away that one was twenty five cents, while the other was thirty and was getting ready to get my barter on, when I suddenly realized that one was a smidge taller than the other.  It obviously took more glass to make this one. About five cents more, I'd say. Yeah.

So I finished my rounds on the shelves of doom and went to find my daughter. I found her looking at picture frames in the retail side of the store. She is such a wimp. The shelves of doom scare her. Anyway, she found a frame she loved but had left her wallet in the car.

Being the awesome mom that I am, I put it in my cart. My treat. Fifty cents.  Yeah, I always did spoil her with extravagant items. 

We headed for the checkout, when all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye I spotted this little beauty.

 I wasn't in love with the contents of the jar, but I was head over heels in love with the fact that it was an egg shaped jar.  I picked it up only to discover that the lid was glued on. I sat it back down and headed to the checkout. A little bit sad.  I am sure my bottom lip was protruding.

However, I was soon my joyous self again when I got all of my goodies rung up and the grand total was...

Are you ready for this?

A whopping $8.90! Score! Notice the time. 4:11 PM.  It's important.

Remember way up there at the top of this story when I said I love the "what ifs" of thrifting? I did. Trust me, you don't have to scroll all the way back up there. Well, I checked out, grabbed my bags of loot, and got just to the door to exit, when a "what if" hit me smack dab in the middle of my forehead.

Now I have been thrifting long enough to know that there is such a thing as "non-buyers remorse".  Non-buyers remorse is when you find something that you decide against purchasing, only to get home and wish you had. For me it usually happens when I see a very similar item grace the pages of the Pottery Barn catalog that inevitably awaits me in the mail box on my way home from the thrift store. Or better yet, on a fellow blogger's blog.  This is when I commence to banging my head on my keyboard while simultaneously chanting "Why? Why? Why? Stupid girl, stupid, stupid girl" or something just as uplifting.

So I am half way out the door when I get hit by the "what if". What if I could get the lid off? I yell ahead to my daughter, "Hey, take my bags, I will be right back" to which she rolls her eyes and says "Keys." She knows me so well.

I go rushing back to the shelves of doom with the crazed look of a woman who has experienced non-buyers remorse one too many times.  Scanning, scanning, ah, there it is! And stop the bus! How did I miss this on my first time through? There, sitting next to the pretty glass egg was this little charmer:


Bright and shiny in her Easter colors, and brand new, still has her original "not recommended blah, blah, blah" sticker on her!

Sooooo, I head back to the same checkout clerk, who didn't even bat an eye that I was back again (do you suppose they see this behavior often???), slapped my coins on the counter, and dashed out the door to my awaiting daughter, who had my vehicle started and my seat warmer turned on. Love that girl!

Notice the time. 4:17 PM. Notice the total of the two receipts. $9.43. 
Dang, I'm good!

Til next time!

I think I beat the clock!

After reading through the comments left here, I think most of you actually liked the direction my clock project was headed. Either that, or you were just being kind. I'll take either one.

When we last talked (well, I did most of the talking, you just kinda read it and nodded once in a while), this was the jist of the conversation.  I had this clock:

We had some issues.  Some bad things were said that I felt terrible about afterward. We didn't even look at each other for a few days while letting the dust settle from our last encounter.  I felt like I was trying to help someone that just didn't want to be helped. The last time I saw her, she looked like she was doing better, but she was still really angry:

So, today, I couldn't take it any longer.  Do you know how hard it is to live under the same roof and not speak to each other? Today I sat across the table from her and looked her straight in the face. Uhem. Clock/Face. Get it?

We had a heart to heart chat. Okay, what???

I know it's an inanimate object, humor me. I said "Clock (cause that is what she wanted me to call her), we really should try to be friends. I promise that I mean you no harm.  I only want to help you. Really. Ever seen Breakfast Club? The scene with Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, where Molly does Ally's makeup? Yeah, that scene.  That is basically what I want to do for you, clock. Would that be okay with you?" 

She didn't answer right away, but her face looked slightly intrigued.  (sorry, couldn't help myself, I heard you groan, by the way.) Then I saw the slightest glimmer of hope when she threw both of her hands open wide (I know, I know!) and she allowed me to ever so tastefully apply the makeup.

I started off really slow, and with a steady hand, I applied this lovely blue color with some French Script flair. She was motionless and silent.  The only sound in the room was the ticking of her little second hand. Her face sat watching mine as I slowly lifted the stamp off to reveal what I hoped would be the start of an incredible makeover.

While her makeup was drying, she asked if she could see what else I had in my bag of tricks.  I let her lead me and she chose the following items to experiment with:

So I loaded up my brush again and we added a little more French flair with a lovely harlequin pattern in a soft taupe brown.

The true beauty that lay under that peachy former self was finally starting to emerge.  You could feel the excitement in the air.  I swear her ticker started to tick louder.  Really.  I wouldn't make this stuff up. 

All of a sudden, she truly shocked me! She decided that she wanted a tattoo! My first thought was, "Lord, what have I done?" but I quickly decided that I didn't want to muddy the waters with her again and would do as she wished. We decided to go with a simple gray. 

However, as soon as we saw it, we knew it wasn't right.  It didn't match her warm taupe and the gold we had put around her lovely face. I quickly dug into my makeup bag and with a careful touchup, we had fixed the issue, and did some beautiful highlighting as well.  It really plays off of her features, and now she is sporting some new ink. Well, acrylic, actually.

Then she really started getting into it, even posing for the camera, for some full body shots.  Work it... work it... own it.

While we were "fixing" her tattoo, we also added some highlights to her light brown stripes, which we later decided were "over processed" looking, and went back to just the taupe goodness. We discussed gold highlights, but we're gonna sleep on it. We also decided she needed some more gold to bring out her face and cover up some of the dark circles that the 13 years of hunter green makeup had left on her.

There are still some creases and crevices in all the wrong places, but she has aged with beauty and grace, and don't we always say wrinkles add character and help tell your story? 

 All in all, it was a wonderful day. I ended up with a new friend, a pretty little French diva, who now wants to be known as "Rene" (which means re-born).  We have plans tomorrow to do some accessory shopping with a quick stop for a Café au lait. For me.  She says they make her jittery and keep her up round the clock.  Seriously. 24/7.  Poor thing.

So that's it for now.  Will be linking up later on this weekend with some great linky parties, starting with Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage.   Til then, let me just boggle your mind with what I am going to be working on this coming weekend.  My latest Thrift Store finds!  Feast your eyes on this haul of goodies. 

You won't believe it when I tell you how much ALL of this came to.  Stay tuned!

Til next time!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Giveaways Galore!

I have recently found that within the blog kingdom there are literally hundreds of kindhearted people that host giveaways on a regular basis.  It boggles my mind how many of them are taking place. 

Now, I never win anything, mind you, but I realized today, that it is probably because I say to myself "That would be wonderful to win, but I never win anything" and then I don't enter. Do you think that has something to do with it?

Well, that is about to change, because today I was cruising blogger world and came across some pretty spectacular giveaways that I simply have to try for.

For instance, in a really long shot, I entered the one at The Nesting Place.  I am one of over 500 entries, but doggone it, I entered.  I mean look at this lovely piece, who wouldn't want a chance at this?

And this one, at one of my new favorite blogs, Sissie's Shabby Cottage.  Pardon me while I drool!

And last, but certainly not least, this beautiful bunch of beachy goodness is being given away by Low Tide High Style and if I win that seashell or the plate, I will squeal like a school girl!

What awesome giveaways, yes? I am crossing my fingers and my toes for these prizes.  I may even cross my eyes if I thought it would help.

Til next time!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Oh! So Rouge!

Sounds fabulous! Sounds French! Sounds yummy, oui? Um, no.

To those unfamiliar with the word, let me introduce you:

rogue (rōg)
1.a rascal; scoundrel
2. unprincipaled; deceitful; unreliable
3. varying markedly from the standard

transitive verb (roguing)
1. to destroy


1.acting in defiance of established laws, customs, etc.
2. operating outside of normal or desirable controls
3. destructive, anomalous, unpredictable

Yeah.  That about sums up my project.  

I present to you The Rouge Clock.

I found this seemingly innocent little clock at a local thrift store a few weeks before Christmas.  I wasn't really sure if it worked or what I wanted to do with it, but I knew under all it's peach and hunter green crackle paint goodness, there had to be some potential. I slapped my dollar on the counter and hauled it home. My first thought was to paint it a colonial red and use it in my livingroom.

I decided to put this project on the back burner until after the holidays but before I put it away, I doodled a checked pattern on it with a pencil to see if I liked the idea of a black and white check instead. Seemed reasonable enough. It was while I was doodling, that I turned the clock upside down and discovered that someone named Anne had been the last one to trod this path because there in all the peach and hunter green crackled goodness it said simply "Anne 1997." This clock had it's current decor for 13 years. Good thing I am not superstituous.

So yesterday, at exactly 6:23:43 PM, I entered into a battle of the wills with said clock. After searching both high and low for my paint can opener thingy (yes, that is the official name) and not finding it, I resorted to the next best thing.


Nail clippers. Cause I'm clever like that, and stuff.

 I gathered all the essential tools to complete the task, like any good crafter would. An ultra precise mixing cup of just the right custom mixed paint; a screwdriver that was too large to remove the screws from the back of the clock (No worries. I can paint around that part. Famous last words.); and last but not least, my cell phone, in case I needed to call for back up, ever so carefully placed out of harm's way. Uhem.

Okay, so now that all of the "proper" equipment was assembled, I got busy and went at this project with all I had. 

 I really put my heart and soul and fingers into it. Pay no attention to that small discolored blob to the left of the clock face. Nor the other one that is on the ridge along the top of the clock. Nor the fact that the clock is sitting upside down to dry. Those are none of your concern.

If you will notice in the above picture, the little part that you can see of the clock hand tells us that it is sometime before 11 PM. Go ahead and crank your head around so you can see it.  I'll wait. (insert Jeopardy music here.)

 I had just finished painting the bottom of the clock and was sitting back to admire my handiwork when I noticed the discolored blobs and freaked out just a wee bit, grabbed the bottom of the clock that I had just painted (!?!?) and attempted to flip it upright so that I could fix the blobs.  Did I mention it was almost 11 PM?

In this photo you will notice some of the more technical tools that any good crafter has in his/her stash: emery boards and box cutters; used for removing (say it with me) "discolored blobs!" Very good!

So, after touching up the finger smudges in the paint, I sat the beast clock upright once again, to allow the lovely, soft, French Blue paint to...

That's not French Blue!  That's not lovely or soft either. This anomoly looked like it had just finished baking in the hot Jamaican sun.  It might be Bahama Breeze, or Barbados Blue, (both lovely colors in their own right) but that is definately not French Blue.  See my lovely, soft, ever so delicate tin?
That is French Blue. To quote Tim Gunn : "Egads!"

By the way, it took me all of a minute and fifteen seconds to find and photograph a comparison for you. This project came with a built in time lapse photography upgrade.  Who knew?

Okay, insert plan B here. Like I said the other day, I do a lot of Plan B projects around this place. I wasn't aware that I would be predicting my not so distant future.  Again, who knew?

Plan B: Whitewash.

Better.  Still not great. And why is it always upside down? 11:37 PM.  I have now been at this project for 5 hours, 14 minutes, and 27 seconds. My brain is on overload and I need to walk away.  I need to gather my thoughts.  I need to... hey, we have...

...White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies!!!

Sorry, I got sidetracked.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled program, "The Devil's Time Piece." "The Rogue Clock".  Same difference.

While scarfing down slowly savoring the very last one of our cookies (a gift from a friend, thanks Audrey!) I came up with the idea of trying yet another application of crackle paint on this clock. I figured, heck, it lasted 13 years on the previous paint job, if you can't beat em' join em'!

Who am I kidding? This clock had so many cracks, crevices and pock marks that crackle paint was the only thing I could come up with to disguise this hot mess of a project. Besides, I HATE sanding. There, I said it.

This is a lot like watching paint dry. Ha! I crack myself up.

Actually, I was trying to get a photo of the crackle paint application, just in case this project actually turned out and I turned it into a fancy schmancy tutorial.  Like that's gonna happen.

One thing I can tell you, is that when you work with crackle paint, you have to work fast.  The bottle says to not let it dry completely, just until tacky. Plenty of that here on this project. How did they know? Spooky, right?

So after applying the crackle paint, I painted over top of it with vanilla something or other (trust me, you are not going to copy this project, so you don't really need to know the exact color, m'kay?) and let it do it's thang. A little crackle here, a big crackle there, here a crackle, there a crackle, everywhere a crackle, crackle. Yeah. You should see me Hokey Pokey.

On a side note, I would like to ask McDonalds to mind their own bee's wax. Do they really want to know how "we" are doing?  I have my phone right here, Ronald, and I am not afraid to use it! What is this, one of those help lines like on a Butterball Turkey???  I think not. The nerve!  How are we doing. Hmph!

Now look what you made me do, Ronald! I need a new clean up rag.  I left one in the laundry room by the paint I was using the other day...

Well would ya' looky there.  My paint can opener thingy.  Who would have thought to look for it by the can of paint?

So, as a final attempt at trying to redeem any part of this project, I got out my metallic gold paint and did some dry brushing. At this point, my hands were so covered in paint that I quit taking pictures. There was no way I was ever going to show this project on my blog.  Finally, I threw my hands up and shouted Uncle at the ceiling.  I put away all my junk highly technical craft supplies and went to upload the pictures.

Then, the strangest thing happened.  When I uploaded them, I kinda, sorta, in the smallest of ways, actually liked the last one. The one with the drybrushed gold. Is there maybe an inkling of hope that I could pull this project back from the brink of doom? Could it be rescued from the jaws of death? Could I be any more melodramatic about a craft project gone wrong???

You tell me. 

I will leave it up to you my dear readers.  All three of you. (Hi, Mom!)

Seriously, I am linking this post up to a bunch of places this week to hopefully get some feedback on whether or not this project deserves any more time wasted on it.

Do I continue on my path? Do I pitch it? Do I sign the bottom of it "Lisa 2010" and return it to the thrift store from whence it came? (I can't help but think that Anne owes me an apology and a dollar.) Be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know your vote. Oh, and if you're so inclined, you could sign up to follow my blog too.  Afterall, what harm could it do, you followed me on this adventure and survived, didn't you? Besides, when I get to 50 followers, I am going to be hosting a giveaway.  I am thinking about giving away a clock. :)

I can't wait to hear what ya'll have to say.  (No, I am not from the south, but I lived in Texas for three years, so I am allowed to say ya'll if I want to). I am serious about the giveaway though (not serious about the clock), so stay tuned! I will be busy gathering my next arsenal, just in case. It involves embroidered trim, rubber stamps and a few other tricks I have up my sleeve. I am already working on Plan C. It happens.

Linking up to:


Til next time!

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