Thrilling Thrifty Finds

I know that’s a cheesy title, but when you see what we found, you’ll understand!

Saturday, Brian woke up earlier than I did (as usual) and decided to check out Craig’s list. Days before, we’d talked about how small my desk was. It has one surface for a computer, but where the shelves are, it’s higher, making it hard to fit books, notebooks, and a laptop.

I didn’t get a picture before Brian had it all packed up.

 I loved that desk. It wasn’t real wood, but it was a lovely color and I loved the shelves, but Brian found a desk on Craig’s list he wanted to check out. Brian was so excited, he woke me up to tell me about it.

“This is such a steal!” It was an oak “L” shaped desk with lots of drawers, and the owners were only asking $130. Brian said new oak desks of that size would go for around $1,500, so we agreed to check it out.

As I ate breakfast, he found another desk. This one was also wood, painted black, and included a chair. It was bigger than my old desk, but not massive. It looked simple and sophisticated, and I knew it would match perfectly with our other Craig List finds: our coffee and end table.

$20
$20

This desk and chair were going for $85. Not a steal, but we decided to check it out too.

Brian also found a free desk, but we weren’t very interested in it, it wasn’t real wood and it was really long and heavy.

We looked at the black desk first. To our surprise, the couple who had posted it was from Iowa, and they had been to our home town on a few occasions! Their daughter’s roommate was selling the desk, but they were screening potential buyers. Their daughter and her roommate lived in a gorgeous condo, so I don’t blame them. Because they were really sweet and from Iowa, we paid full price for the desk and chair.

$85

This is my desk now. Here I do my schoolwork, blog, spend time on various social media sites, and as Brian suggested, writing letters.

Our next stop was the oak “L” shaped desk. Brian was already sold on it, before we even found the house. But when we pulled up, he started to waver. The yard was full of junk. The house looked nice, in nice neighborhood, but their grass was the only dead brown lot on the street. When they let us in, we there was hardly room for us inside, and the desk was almost blocking the door. Mounds of stuff piled all over everything.

“We’re doing some remodeling,” The man said. Judging by the fact that the piles filled the downstairs and wound up the stairs to the second floor and out the front door, and the wife was too embarrassed to come out of the kitchen, I’m kinda doubting it. Full sized cardboard cut outs of Justin Beiber and Jacob from Twilight stared at us from their perches on piles of stuff.

And the desk. It had severe water damage, marker or paint splotches, and the finish was totally ruined.

“You could sand it down and refinish it if you wanted,” the man suggested.
“What do you think?” Brian asked me.
“I think….we need to think about it.” I said. Safely in the car: “No way.”
To my joy, Brian agreed, “I don’t want to pay $130 for a project like that.”

So, he called the people with the free desk. They said we could come right over, and when we got there, a smiling lady led us upstairs to the desk. They had just bought the house and were doing serious remodeling. Her story I believed; the towers of moving boxes and the torn up carpet made sense. Lucky for us, her husband arrived when we’d carried the desk to the top of the stairs. It was definitely a man’s job. They carried it out, and somehow we squeezed it into the Durango with the other desk and chair. Don’t ask me how. I wasn’t sure we’d get either one out of there without calling the fire department for the jaws of life. 

$0
Here’s our free desk. Brian has claimed it as his. 

Look at how well it matches with our bookshelf! The bookshelf is real wood, and we brought it from Iowa. A match made in heaven.

If you’re wondering about that white metal curved thing in that picture, it’s a wall sconce, and I bought it at Savers for half off. You can see it better and all the other cool things I got that day here.

But it doesn’t stop there!

Recently, we were given some more free stuff. We’ve been wanting a couch for a long time, and God graciously provided not just a couch, but a loveseat, and two matching lamps! 

These couches and lamps have radically changed our decorating theme. We moved the light blue arm chairs to the guest room, which works because there’s a lot of room in there. The couches reconcile the black and brown in the room; the coffee and end table and the new desk, with the brown bike planter, birdhouse, and clock. 
I didn’t get a picture of the whole room, but trust me, it looks good. 
That’s not all! Look what else I got for free!

Oh Yeah! Honestly, I didn’t think I’d ever need one of these, but since I’ve been blogging, I’ve seen so many amazing sewing projects that made me wish I had a sewing machine. I figured I’d just stick to paper crafts, but our friends gave us this machine for free! My friend (who will remain nameless) said it didn’t work, and her husband insisted she just didn’t know how to use it. I plugged it in, the light came on, and it ran like a dream. I guess he was right…but, finders keepers!

Don’t feel bad for her: she’s getting another machine for free. And really, if she wanted this one back, I would give it to her, but she says her new free one will be better.

The moral of this story is this: If you need something, pray about it, and look on Craig’s List! Sometimes God just likes to give us gifts.

Brian is completely addicted to Craig’s list now. Like, he scours it every evening.

Have you found anything fun lately? Has a piece of furniture or art ever altered the entire decorating style of one of your rooms? Please share!

Catching up on Gratitude

I know I’ve gotten way behind on my grateful posts. Last week was pretty hectic, I had a huge project for school to do that occupied most of my time. And then there was Thanksgiving! So, because I have so much catching up to do, this post is full of things I’m grateful for.

I’m grateful for leaves changing color…finally!

I’m grateful for some savy finds. These curtain valance panels were 50 cents each. The sweet shoes were around $4. 
And my favorite find was this little bird candle holder. It was half off, so it was $2. 
And, I’m grateful for a fireplace that disposes of our newpaper and keeps us warm and cozy.
And I’m grateful for cozy pajamas and slippers. 
I’m grateful for pumpkin pie!
And I’m grateful for good food. 
This was my own recipe. It’s very simple: I chopped some red potatoes and a sweet potato and coated them in oil, then generously sprinkled them with garlic salt. I added crumbled cooked bacon, and baked them for around 20 minutes. It was delicious! As I’ve said before, Brian doesn’t like sweet potatoes, and my other sweet potato recipe didn’t appeal to him. But he loved this one!
I’m also grateful for our pastor’s family. They graciously invited us to celebrate Thanksgiving with them. We went to our pastor’s parents home for dinner. They had invited two other older couples. We had a delicious dinner, and enjoyed relaxing for a while afterward. I sat in the kitchen with the ladies, all of whom were at least twice my age, and I loved it! I so enjoyed conversing with them. Later we went to Pastor Joel’s house. We played games, ate dinner, watched a little Pirates of the Caribbean, and enjoyed a bonfire outside. 
I’m grateful for the blessing of talking to my family on Thanksgiving. After watching the first part of Pirates I called my family and got to talk to my dad and siblings. I really miss my brothers; they are just too cute. I miss my other siblings too, but at least they have texting and facebook, so I talk to them a lot more. I’m so looking forward to seeing them all when we go home for Christmas! 
So there’s eight things I’m grateful for to make up for the days I’ve missed. I hope you had a content and worshipful thanksgiving! 
And now I can officially say it: Merry Christmas!

Pier 1 Love

Pier 1 Imports is my new favorite store! Brian and I were there Friday browsing for something on which to spend a wedding gift card. I made a wish list in no time! I just love their fall decorations! They have very unique furniture and dishes, as well as bath stuff and decor.

We found a few clearance items we couldn’t resist.

 The glass container cost $4.98. I plan to fill it with something fall-ish to display on the sofa table or coffee table.  I was so excited about this teapot! I love butterflies, and it matches the tea mug and the fancy plates I received as a wedding gift. It cost $4.18This is the tea mug dismantled. I think it is so cool! The Chinese symbol means “tranquility.”  It cost $2.98
Come to find out, they’re hiring! If the bus route timing works out, I think I’m going to apply! 

Thrifty Thursday’s Fun Finds

You know, there was once a time when I didn’t enjoy shopping. I found it tedious, frustrating, and time consuming. And then I discovered the adrenaline rush that accompanies getting a good deal. The thrill of thriftiness, the excitement of the hunt, the serotonin burst from a steal of a deal…it’s addicting, and I’m a total junkie.

Thursday night after Brian got off work we did a little “toy” shopping. We went to Harbor Freight Tools for Brian’s, and Michael’s for mine. We each had some spending money and coupons. Harbor Freight sells all kinds of tools and other manly things at discounted prices, and when you bring in the coupon insert from the paper, it’s almost ridiculous how much you save. We may have Michael’s in Iowa, but all I remember is Hobby Lobby and Joanne’s Fabrics, so for those of you who don’t know, Michael’s is right along those lines. This week all my favorite things were on sale: scrapbooking paper, albums, picture frames, canvas, and acrylic paints.

We went to Harbor Freight first, and Brian picked out a cordless drill and flashlight set for $18.99, a multimeter for $2.50, an angle grinder for $14.99, a drill bit set for $7.99, and a screw driver set for $7.99.

Then we went to Michaels. My goal was to get some wedding themed scrapbooking supplies, so we looked through the on sale paper and picked out whatever seemed to be kind of romantic, mostly Valentine’s Day themed stuff, and a lot of other paper I can use in my other scrapbooks. In the clearance bins, I found a scrapbook paper box for $5. I’ve been needing one for a long long time! 

 
Here’s the screwdriver set, Brian got it for me 🙂 And we also bought sandpaper for my future painting projects. 
Then we looked through the stickers- my favorite thing about scrapbooking! Unfortunately, scrapbooking stickers are really expensive! We picked out the best priced ones we could find, when Brian saw a wedding scrapbook kit, album and all! We used the 40% off coupon and got it for $30! And we put back all the Valentine’s Day paper and wedding stickers. 

I can’t wait to get started! If I make any really good layouts, I’ll be sure to share them with you. 
What projects are you looking forward to tackling? Did you have any thrifty finds this week? 

Got it at Goodwill!

I’ve been hoping for a mirror just like this! $5.99
So cute! I don’t know if it works or not, but I love the face and the rugged wood. $2.99
This lantern has room for candles inside! I’m still working on cleaning it up. I cleaned the gunk off of all the glass panes, and polished the  outside until it glows, but inside along the bottom it’s caked with a black grime that is really hard to get off. $2.99

This fabric had a purple tab, so it was 50% off. I think it used to be a curtain valance. It has a lovely sheen! I’m not sure what I’ll use it for yet. $1.50
Off to the side there you can see the mystery object from yesterday. It’s a really cute little planter! It has butterflies on it, so I had to get it 🙂 $4.99
My favorite find 🙂 I can’t wait to find a plant to put in the basket! I’m going to put this by the fireplace. I just love it! It looks great with the clock and lantern too! $5.99 
Speaking of the fireplace…we stumbled across this slightly used set of cast iron fireplace tools! $9.99
I’ve already begun finding homes for my finds, but I’m running into a dilemma- the brown and gold versa the black and silver. I’m hoping to buy some spray paint, but I’m not sure I can bear to paint over the pretty wood and metal things. 
Have you found anything unexpected at your local thrift store? What’s your favorite thrifty find? 

More Fun Finds

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a couple hours exploring our neighborhood Goodwill. It was massive! They have a neat system there where all the tags are color coded and marked with a week number. When I was there, it was week 30, and so anything marked with week 30 and/or a purple tag was 50% off.

I was immediately drawn to the items displayed on top of the clothing racks. Then I noticed a whole section of the store designated for housewares. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of most of the items, the number of employees and restrooms, the cleanliness of the store, and the lack of weird odors that I’ve always associated with Goodwill.

Not everything was a crazy good deal. I thought $1.99 each was too much to ask for those classic coke bottles. But if you’re into the coke decor, it might be worth it to you. They also had six packs of coke with the coke still inside for $12.99.

I did like this jar. I thought it was pretty unique and in great condition. They’re asking $23 for it, so it might be worth getting when it’s 50% off. I think it would look great in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. I’m going for a French Country look myself.

I found this beautiful pillow case and was very tempted to get it, but it really doesn’t match anything I have. It’s edged with satin ruffles and pink velvet ribbon, and the flower is embellished with sequins. It fits a small decorative pillow.  

There was so much fabric! I wanted to buy it all up and make dozens of pillows, or place mats, or curtains, or seat cushions, or table runners…I have all kinds of ideas! I found this cute shabby chic rose fabric and striped red, cream and sage fabric to match. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture but there’s a cute ruffle edge on the rose fabric. My pictures didn’t turn out very well because I felt really self-conscious about taking pictures in a store with people around!

Then I found these pillows that matched the shabby chic rose theme! I later found a matching bed-skirt.

I like this pillow- the design is modern and elegant. The fabric was in pretty good shape too. I figured I could wait until it’s on sale though. 

They had a wonderful selection of pictures. Original paintings, prints, photographs, all kinds. Some I wanted to buy just for the frames. I put this in my cart, and took it out, and put it back, and struggled to make up my mind. I LOVE coffee, and this watercolor is so cute! But, I decided to stick to my French Country theme. I might get it later though if it’s still there. 

This is my find of the day. it’s a print of French restaurants (I think, my French is very limited!). I love it! It’s so cute, and in perfect condition. I kind of wish I’d bought it, but I decided to wait for the sale week. I really, really hope it’s still there. It’s perfect for my dining room! If anyone is decorating a nursery or a child’s room, they probably have what you’re looking for. They had several sets of matching pictures with butterflies and lady bugs or elephants and giraffes and the like.

 I saw this little bulletin board and thought of two little princesses I know. It needs a minor repair, but I could easily fix it with stuff I have already, and it only costs $5 or so. I think it’s on sale next week or the week after that. 

Oh the shoes!!! Cute, cute, cute. This was about the only pair that fit me, and I had a hard time putting them back. I’m not sure what I’d wear with them, but they are so classic. They were probably donated by someone’s grandma.They had some nice pairs of really classic black pumps in perfect condition, and lots of stylish sandals. I saw a couple other pairs I wish I’d taken pictures of, some really retro shoes in perfect condition, and several by STEVE MADDEN! Sadly, they were all to big for me, or I would have snapped those up quick! They had some nice pairs of really classic black pumps in perfect condition, and lots of stylish sandals. 
Well, I don’t want to write a book here, so I’ll leave you with one picture of something I actually bought…
…And I’ll tell you next time what it is! 🙂 
I start school tomorrow, so I’m going to try my best to make and stick to a good schedule that allows me to get my school work, house work, and Brian time in along with my blogging. Shouldn’t be too hard if I keep getting up at 4:30 a.m! 

I Won!!!

I won! I won! The first thing I read when I checked my blog yesterday was a comment from Melanie of Elegant Custom Blogs on my Blog Makeover post. I won a FREE custom blog design, valued at $50! I get a custom header, background, color coordination of links, template, and installation! I was so excited, I was almost jumping up and down!

And my day kept getting better. I braved the heat to walk over to our neighborhood Barnes and Noble and found the perfect birthday present for my favorite six year olds, a book called “A Treasury for Six Year Olds.” While they just turned six, they’re already VERY good readers.  I wasn’t sure if they were ready for chapter books, and I knew they were past the beginning reader books, but this one had a variety of stories, poems, and the like. BTW, you know you’re home schooled when you LIKE getting books for your birthday 🙂 

When I returned, I stopped to check the mail and found my birthday present from Brian waiting: my first Better Homes and Gardens Magazine! AND it came with a little recipe book. I’ve already perused the whole thing, but I’m excited to go back and read it more in depth. 

After lunch, I decided to venture out again. When Brian and I were grocery shopping last weekend, we passed an enormous Goodwill. Come to find out, it was only about a block or two from our apartment. So once again I braved the heat to discover the treasures of Goodwill. I have NEVER seen such a Goodwill. It was INCREDIBLE. I found so many cool things, and I took pictures of other things for my wish list. But, I will save that for another post! Stay tuned! 🙂

Decor Dilemmas and Fortuitous Finds

I’ve really been getting into all the decor and crafty blogs lately, ever since I found out that Brian did get me a  birthday present after all: a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens (he totally forgot about it!). While I’m impatiently waiting for it to arrive, I’ve been soaking up ideas from the blog world. I have found some great stuff! I love My Domestic Bliss, because she finds the most amazing stuff on Craig’s list, at garage sales, and in the trash! (Stay tuned for my Craig’s list find) She shares everything from recipes to . Another favorite of mine is My Desert Cottage, A. because she lives in Arizona too, and B. because she has fabulous shabby chic style and ingenious creations, including tutorials!
This is decor dilemma #1: my fireplace. Now, the corner shelves aren’t the issue, nor is the metal butterfly, is the lack of anything interesting below that point. 
So, I added my fortuitous find from Anthropologie that I mentioned buying earlier. This is how it looked for a few days. 
While it looks better, maybe, than it did before, it’s just not enough to balance all the stuff on the shelves and the butterfly. So I added a hat box that I got as a wedding gift, and a few books, and got this:  
The big picture looks like this: 
I’m much happier with it this way. Maybe sometime I can get a hat box that matches better too. What do you think of this arrangement? Any suggestions? I love getting help.  
Ok, design dilemma #2. This lamp is sitting on the sofa table in our dining room. 
Confession: I really don’t like this lamp. At all. It’s HUGE, and heavy, and really old. But, it belonged to Brian’s great-grandmother, so he says it’s not going anywhere. So I’d like to know, what would you do to make it look better? Any pictures or links you’d like to share for ideas? I’m open to any suggestions! 
Now it’s story time! So I decided I wanted to get a coffee table and a couch with my birthday money. Where can you find a coffee table or a couch for $75? Craig’s list! It’s the BEST. I have never been on it before, but after reading through Domestic Bliss’s tips, I had to check it out, and Ooh la la! I’m in love. I searched through pages of listings for coffee tables under $50, and get this: they weren’t all crappy college apartment tables! The moving sales were the best, but sometimes people were just getting new furniture and didn’t have room. I found tons of potential coffee tables, and created a Word document with the pictures and emailed it to Brian. He wasn’t as thrilled as I was with the $10 ones or the really unique ones, and he didn’t seem to share my love of shabby chic/French country style. It took us awhile, but we finally decided on a $30 old English style table. Gorgeous red-gold color, fancy carvings, and…two glass panels. I don’t like glass panels, because they’re a pain to clean, not to mention a safety hazard for our future children. But I compromised because of the price and it was pretty. 
In the description, it mentioned a “small chip” in the glass. It wasn’t no small chip; there was a chunk of glass missing! There was no setting something on top to hide it; it would have to be replaced. I calculated it mentally: 18″x18, thick, 1″ beveled edge, lightly tinted, and scalloped corners = expensive. We said no thanks and drove away, but the owner called us a few minutes later, offering to give it to us for $10. Brian told me he guessed the price of glass was $150, so I said no, but thanks again. The owner said she had no idea glass cost that much, but if we priced it out and found out it was less, we could still have it for $10. I called a glass company the next day, and the quote? $185, not including tax. So I went back to the computer and started over. But, it was good practice in saying no! I think I needed that. 
I finally narrowed it down to my top 6, and got an ok from Brian to call on the first one. I left a message and sent an email, and went to call the second one. It was gone! The beautiful black rustic French cottage table was sold. So I called my third choice, a white table with a shelf and two drawers. She was busy at the moment, so we set up a time for an hour later. Right after I got off the phone, my first choice called back. I was almost too excited to sit down and eat supper, but we ate fast and were out the door. The pictures didn’t do it justice! Actually, there were two pieces, the coffee table and a matching end table, with a pull out compartment and cup-holders. I called the white table lady back and canceled, and we took these home. 
Guess how much? Asking price: $50. Paid price: $40. I can’t believe he took $10 less. I actually offered that by accident, because I’d read the posting wrong online and thought it said they were $30, and so when Brian offered him $50 I interjected with $40. And we got them! Aren’t they perfect
Have you shopped on Craig’s list before? What’s the best thing you’ve found? If you decided to start today, there’s a few cedar chests out there that I’ve got my name on! Not officially, but I’ll be really disappointed if you buy them all up before I get one!