Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You say cheap like it's a bad thing...

So as you might have guessed at the tone of my salvation army/free finds - I love a good deal. I'll brag about it to everyone I see about how cheap I got something. I can't help it; nothing makes me more excited than scoring a deal. And even when I order items online, I never pay full price.

And I'm going to let you in on a not-so-secret method to my online shopping madness. There are two great sites that I contribute to my success: Retail me not and CouponCabin. Now these sites should be used interchangeably and sometimes together, for as you see, retailmenot is sort of a community of promotions, anyone who receives an email or special code from a store can put it on this site to share with everyone. It's a great way to see what promotions are available, but like all things wiki-related, getting information from a number of individual sources can be unreliable at times. CouponCabin, on the other hand, seems to have a connection with certain stores so that the discount that is available to you is coming directly from the store to CouponCabin exclusively. The only downside is that you have to click on the deal, add something to your shopping cart, and then look to see if the promotion actually went through. It's less appealing than getting the code and pasting it into the "promotions" box yourself.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well to share the secret of my money-saving success. Currently I'm debating on buying a few items from World Market (which I'm kicking myself for not remembering how great this store is! And the closet one is in Ohio, the east coast likes the world too, people!) and using CouponCabin I'm able to save $5 off my shipping cost and retailmenot gave me a promotion that grants me 15% off my order - that's over $20 in savings!

And these are the only valuable sites - simply google "[store where you want to buy something] promotion" and see what pops up. I do this for concert tickets too because pre-sale promotions are always available online. How else was I able to surprise my mom with mothers day tickets to see Wicked 2 weeks before they went on sale....

Now the big question is, do I buy this rug.... Yes, I already bought one from but frankly it's a little dull, but this might have the opposite effect of which I'm nervous about.

Whatdayathink? (Image can also be found HERE.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beauty lies in the details

The minute that I brought home my beautiful craigslist find, I knew I had to add to it just a little bit - give it that sense of uniquely mine and all. The easiest and nicest thing to do was to add some color to the bottom of these drawers. My initial props have to go out to THIS POST for the inspiration.

I was looking for wallpaper or scrapbook paper to line the drawers with when I went into the hardware store – just to see if they had any pre-fabricated shelf lining that I loved even more (which I didn’t expect to be the case). I was just about to walk out when the sales guy told me to come over and look at what they were about to throw out. He had 4 HUGE books of fabric swatches that they were going to toss because they were discontinued and he wanted to know if I’d want to cut out the fabrics I liked before they did it. Needless to say, I praise this hardware store and gentleman now because it was perfect for what I wanted to do!

So my combination of fabric swatches:

Picture 181

And my empty drawers + a roll of scotch tape:

Picture 180Lead me to this!!

Picture 188 Isn’t it darling! All I did was roll some scotch tape like you do to hang posters and tape the fabric down to the wood. You can use double sided tape or something a little stronger if you want, especially if you're going to be taking items in and out all of the time, but for me this is the perfect and seasonally temporary solution! The bottom drawers didn’t even require any cutting!

Picture 185

And on the top drawers I got a little more creative with my felt fabric:

Picture 183 I’m so pleased with it and it cost me a total of $0.00! Plus I have tons of leftover fabric swatches that I can use later, like this little gem:

Picture 192

Horrah for simple touches!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I love salvaging

I’ve always loved going to Goodwill or Salvation Army, but now that I’m on my own and a salvation army is on the walk to my local grocery store, my love (and wallet) knows no bounds.

Now that I have natural light, I want to start filling my apartment with flowers and plants. This is easier said than done because I do not have a green thumb and I've been timid in buying any yet. I am growing herbs, so maybe this will instill some confidence in me - if they survive. Until I get some courage though, I've been collecting a small number of bottles/vases that I will be, one day soon, hopefully filling with flowers for my bedroom.

Picture 174

Isn’t the blue glass beautiful? I found that on my last trip and couldn’t pass it up.

On my very first trip to the local Sal Vo, when I still maintained some sense of self-control in this store, I’m pretty sure these are the candle sticks that broke all of thatl.

Picture 080

Don’t they just scream Anthropologie? They were a whopping $4 and just needed a little love. They were spotted with a greenish-gunk but with a little bit of soap and scratching, it immediately came off. I have then framing my television, as you can see below.

Picture 052

And now my absolute favorite find ever! This actually came from craigslist where I ended up driving 45 minutes to some guy’s house (I brought someone with me, of course) that had a coffin on the front porch (a leftover halloween decoration, I hoped) and a confederate flag wafting in the breeze. Needless to say, this was worth it.

Picture 160[5]

Isn’t it great! He threw in the marble top and that cute little lantern to sweeten the deal – I have to say this was a steal. More than I’d pay for a regular side table at iKea, but you can’t pass up a piece of library card catalog history.

Picture 162 Here’s a close up on the lantern:

Picture 166 The drawers all slide out. I really want to get some cute fabrics to line each drawer with.

Picture 163

And I just found this great piece of inspiration this morning on a blog that I think would also look great:


I like the look of the white with the maps, so I’ll either do maps or just find some really cute scrapbooking paper.

Oh how I love thrifting!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My eastern European kitchen

This weekend I was happy to finally buy plates for my new place. I went with the classic white with a rounded-off square design (I believe it’s called quatro). I like a white plate for serving food, but as for everything else I love some color.

I think that’s why I’m so drawn to polish pottery and immediately wanted to decorate my kitchen with my small collection of Russian (ie Matryoshka) dolls.

It started when someone bought me this set of DIY Russian dolls.

diynestingdolls_0It was pretty daunting, but one day I took to the task and created these:

Picture 123

I think they turned out pretty cute; especially the middle one with fangs and the scared one next to it. I love putting a twist on things. I placed these on the shelf over my kitchen table.

I paired these with these adorable houseware items – the salt and pepper shakers are from Anthropologie and the measuring cups are from Urban Outfitter (and are still available online!).

Anthropologie-Babushka-Shakers_1E59C17C Picture 129 My mom also found me a russian doll soap dispenser and spoon rest (yes, it’s an obsession). And my aunt gave me these great little pieces of polish pottery.

Picture 132

Don’t you just love that mug! I haven’t purchased any bowls yet because I really want to get some fun design like this to pair with my white dinner and appetizer plates. This weekend I actually found a polish pottery vase at Salvation Army, so my dream is to find a great set of bowls. But maybe I’ll just end up splurging on those anyway – or see what Anthropologie has and end up buying those instead. I’ll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My green bedroom

Moving into this apartment, I had a lot of ideas for my living room. I knew what I wanted to purchase, knew where the furniture needed to be placed, and re-arranged it rather quickly and much to my satisfaction.

But the a different story. I have little closet space, so a wardrobe and dresser was necessary. Plus, I have a slim dresser that matches my malm bed so I had to keep that. As of right now, I have a black bed and dresser on one wall, a very light maple wood wardrobe on the wall adjacent to that and a cherry dresser in the opposite corner. If I had the motivation, I would stain at least the dresser, but frankly that's a lot of work and in an enclosed space.

So my best bet is decorate! And I need some opinions.

I scored this great piece of wall art at Urban Outfitters yesterday.

Picture 157

As you can see, the left side of it has some water damage (from the Rhode Island Flood of 2010) which made this normally $40-50 print a whole $5!

My plan, as of right now, is to hang it over this awkward space where my bed is. I say awkward because there’s a window over part of my bed (as you can see HERE) so my desire to have something placed centered over my bed is impossible. I think I’m going to hang it over to the side as you can sort of see below:

Picture 155

I just love the look of that bright green and the black. It’s so springy! And I was thinking, why not add some additional tree prints to make a kind of leafy collage of sorts. What do you think?

I have an idea for the other wall which is completely bare that may or may not involve a floral print and a moose head, so the new theme for the bedroom will probably be natureish.

Also, I’ll share my other Urban Outfitter deals because they’re so cute. I got this great pillow which I loved when it was on sale for $20, and they cut it down to $10. Have you looked at the price of pillows lately? I’m dumbfounded, I can’t wait to have a sewing machine because some of these prices are crazy! But $10 I’m willing to pay.

Picture 150

And I got this adorable clock for my living room. I tried to make one which I might share later, but I can’t figure out how to make the hour hand rotate properly…hm. But I do love this one and it looks great with the tree coasters that I also purchased at UO a few weeks ago.

Picture 152

Picture 153

I do love my living room. Let’s hope the bedroom is able to come together just as nicely.

Monday, May 3, 2010

first DIY of my apartment!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. The weather here was absolutely gorgeous and I was able to spend Saturday having brunch with friends, going to a local art college's art sale and watching a rugby game. After all that, I decided I needed to spend Sunday getting things sorted out in the new place.

One thing that's been near the top of my list is turning this really fun and cute fabric that my mom got me into curtains.
I bought a couple of curtain rods last week and was feeling a little ambivalent about whether or not I should put them up. Then on Sunday, I just got this massive urge to Do It. I've noticed that happening more and more where before I'd talk myself out of a project, but lately I've just had this push to Do It. And I did!

So this is how I created my Half-assed, should-absolutely-be-ashamed-of-myself-for-even-calling-them-this, Curtains. Why so hard on myself? You'll see.

Fortunately, it's a huge piece of fabric - this is with it folded in half. I was able to use the additional couple of feet for another temporary project.
So to begin I measured the window space and the desired length that I wanted for my curtains. The windows are 5ft high, so I wanted them to be 5 1/2 feet plus extra space for hemming and creating the space for the rod to go through.
So after measuring and cutting, I was pretty much stuck. I have no sewing machine and no iron. I have stitch-witchery to hem with, but I would have to borrow someone's iron which would mean I'd have to finish this project in the next couple of days.

Then it dawned on me, I can just make some quick stitches by hand and those should be able to sustain the weight of the curtain. Some of the sides are already hemmed, so I can make sure those are placed in the areas that it's noticeable, but for right now there's no reason to get too fancy. Then it dawned on me again, I can just place pins instead of sewing and be done, so I did it.
You can see my little pins, haha. After installing the curtain rods, which was a micro-feat in itself because the screws couldn't screw in completely, I just wanted to get these curtains up and complete this project - no matter how half-assed it is. I apologize to anyone with a sense of propriety or anal retentiveness because these "curtains" really are shameful, but look at how beautiful they look:
I think they look darling. Oh and that key print at the top of my bookcase is what I bought from a former RISD student at the art sale (you can find her work HERE).

Did you see what I did with the remaining fabric? I created a total half-assed, but-I'm-not-going-to-actually-keep-it-this-way-I-SWEAR, Table runner.
This was another just quick pin-up job mostly to see if I liked that fabric there or if I wanted to go with another color/pattern. I still haven't decided yet, but certainly if I stay with this fabric I'll get a stiff backing for it and actually sew it together.

I wish I could say that one day I'll actually hem the curtains, but frankly they're more for decoration than use anyway, so I'll likely keep them this way unless I run into problems. However, I did go into my bedroom that night and think, 'I need curtains in here now!' In which case those could actually serve a function, so perhaps I'll do a better DIY job or take the easy route and purchase a set. We'll see!