Thursday, May 31, 2012

Here comes the Bride and Groom

Since June is the most popular month for weddings, I wanted to focus on wedding preparation and making your own gifts.  This month, most of  the postings will relate to 'wedding' or 'marriage' themes.

When I was married, a cake topper was not a priority in our wedding planning.  What symbol represents the joining of a couple more than the topper? The hunt began.

 Luck was with me the day I went out, because as I asked the shopkeeper at the first antique store for a 'low priced wedding topper', she was unsure if she carried any in her shop. This antique shop must have had over 100 stalls.  I went searching.  Usually, I don't look at the glassed-in cabinets because they are usually out of my price range.  Starting at the front of the store, I spied the perfect couple in one of these very glassed-in cabinets.  While it wasn't a collector's item by any means, it was perfect for me.

Looking back, if ever a couple could have resembled us, this was the topper.  The funniest thing was that it only cost $6.00.  Rushing home, I cleaned it up and got out the craft paints.  Some of the particulars needed to be updated.  With a bit of paint, I could recreate a look a lot like our wedding.

The top of the dress resembled my gown.  The groom was similar, but he needed an added streak of silver to the front of his hair.  The  flowers needed a refreshing coat of blush and cream.  The tie was changed up to black.  The bride's hair needed to be highlighted and then the couple was complete.

This figurine would become the base of the June vignette.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


This morning as I was returning from my morning walk, I spied a pile of twigs on the front porch.  I looked up and what did I see?    


I believe it is a morning dove.  Mr. Thrifty went outside to investigate.  The bird has moved the nail board forward so it could start a nest. 

This will have to wait until we finish the retaining wall in the backyard.  With it reaching 90 degrees today, I am not looking forward to the work.  Stay tuned for the blog. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

                       Let us pause to honor those who have died for this great country of ours.

          Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day.  Decoration Day was instituted in 1868 to honor the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.   In 1882, the name was changed to Memorial Day to honor all United States soldiers who died in service to our country.       
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Updated bulletin board

Just an update on the completion of the bulletin board.  I added the Martha Stewart handle on the bulletin board. 

                                                The nickel handle complements the crystal knobs.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The One That Started It All

My interest in redoing antiques started many, many years ago.  At the time, I was a school teacher and I would go up to Chicago to help my sister work on their two flat.  They had been doing major renovations to the building.  One day we went into her basement.  She showed me a vintage spice box which generally goes for about $100.00 had it been refurbished.  It was missing a few of the drawers, but I thought that it added more character.  She let me take it home.  I wish I had taken a picture of it prior to my sanding, stripping, staining and sealing.   As a first piece, the size was manageable to work with.

                                              Now, it proudly hangs in my kitchen area. 

                              Every season, I decorate the spice box with seasonal items.

I realized quickly that refurnishing takes a lot of elbow grease, but there was a lot of satisfaction out of seeing the job to completion.  I have never stopped the hunt for an old piece to work my magic.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Metamorphosis of a chaise

This is one of my most favorite stories about junking.  While living outside Little Rock, I was on my way to pick up the kids from school.  I passed this chaise sitting on the curb just a mere block from my house.  Should I or shouldn't I?   

I proceeded to the school and picked up the girls.  I retold the story of the chaise sitting on the curb to my two girls.  I wanted to see what they thought about it.  My oldest daughter was appalled at the idea of me actually dragging this piece home.  The youngest one was for it.  I told them, if God wants me to have this chaise, then, when we return home, it will still be on the curb.

Well, sure enough, it was still on the curb.  I opened the hatch of the van and single handily hoisted my new treasure aboard.  My youngest was so shocked in seeing that I could manage the piece by myself.  Maybe it was the shear adrenaline.

Around the corner, we arrived home and I unloaded the chaise.  What happened next took a strange turn.  First, we steam cleaned the existing fabric.  Then, I just let it sit.

Months later, it just sat in my bedroom waiting to be adorned.  I didn't have a vision until..... I was in Illinois for a summer visit and my Mom showed me some vintage drapes that she had found in the attic.  It was a very cool vintage barkcloth.  I thought I could try my hand at slip covering since I really had not invested any money thus far.  It wasn't a perfect job, but for now, it would have to be OK, and it did look a bit better than the turquoise and pink graphic fabric that was already on it.

So now, I moved it to the bedroom and started rearranging furniture.  I had pulled out my vintage shutters taken off a mental hospital in New Hampshire(isn't that crazy?).  I did buy them!  The Mr. had already hinged the three panels together to give it a screen effect.  The room wasn't large enough to handle all three shutters, so I bent one behind the other.  I pulled out the fabulous quilt that my dear friend Tara had quilted for me when we left Boston.  The vintage white baby dress I have mentioned before hung perfectly on the shutter adorned by a shabby but sweet tassel.

And there it stayed for a few years, until the poor threadbare barkcloth just dry rotted.  So sad.....
After that, I  covered the chaise with a sheet until our move to Alabama.  I knew I wanted to slipcover the piece and I didn't have the talent to do it myself, so I put that job on a to do list after the move.

As a sideline, I want to show you what I did with the leftover barkcloth.  Tell me if you remember seeing this piece anywhere else?

(Sorry about the photography.)

This piece has also been in my daughter's bedroom.

Changing the fabric changes the whole look.
And now the piece is back in the living room.

OK, so then I found this fantastic lady that slipcovered near Huntsville.  I purchased the matellase fabric and she did her magic.  Quite an improvement!  Look at the detail.  The seam in the back is done with Velcro.

The great thing about slipcovers is that you can clean them.  My slipcover lady recommends dry cleaning.  This slipcover is one year old and still looks brand new.  I have had it cleaned once.

 Once on the stoop, now, set for a Queen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Guilded French chair

I promised that this is the last entry on the Toile Fragonard  fabric.  

If you carefully look behind the black sewing machine cabinet, you will see a chair with an awful laminate mustard colored fabric.  I love the back of the chair's design.

I actually had one of my girls' take the shabby seat cover apart for me.  Once stripped down, it looked like this.

I was needing a desk chair for the girls' room.  I had already purchased the fragonard cameo toile drapery fabric.  It looks like this.

Next, I spray painted it with gold(an idea that my daughter came up with).  She said that I always painted everything white, so let's change it up.  I thought it looked pretty fun.

                 The tassel added a nice touch.  Here is a picture in the girls' bedroom.  The chair coordinated perfectly with the valance and duvet covers.(not pictured)

I had a great time decorating their bedroom, but I learned one lesson.  If the girls can't pick out the design and colors, they won't love it.  They didn't!  When moving to this house, it now dresses up my guest room.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

To the women in all of our lives that nourish, support and love us.  A very Happy Mother's Day.  This bouquet is for you.  We love  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

French Fragonard Toile Remnant Projects

With the remainder of the fabric, I backed an old shadowbox after guilding the frame. Inside old salt cellars, miniature vases  and a tiny German made plate are displayed.

The tea towel has been in my linen stash for years.  I can't believe how close it complements the fabric backed shadowbox.

                            One of my talented sisters cross-stitched the pillow the tops the shelf.  The room                              is now complete with all things feminine.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

French Fragonard Valance with Gingerbread Shelf

I realized that I had published the second part to this blog prior to this entry.  As my Grandmother would have said, 'the cart before the horse'.  I apologize for that.  This posting should have come first.  Read on.....

When I made the girl's duvets from the coral toile fabric, I had enough left over to complete a few more projects.  Since this fabric was very pricey, I used every last inch.

You might remember this fabric.

My oldest daughter collects snow globes.  I was having a hard time displaying them so I thought I could build a shelf over the window and attach a valance to it.  At the time, the shelf was filled with her most favorite globes.

                          To get started,  I purchased two gingerbread cornices at Lowe's.
I painted them high gloss white.  Then, Mr. Thrifty cut  a length of board a bit  wider than the window.  This too was painted out white.  Into each side of the gingerbread, he drilled matching holes to allow a small tension rod to be hung.

                      The Mr. did NOT drill the holes all the way through as shown in this next picture.  The tension rod fits perfectly between the the inside holes of the corbels. The shelf lays on top of the corbels.  If you were going to put heavier objects on the shelf, I would suggest screwing the shelf to the corbels.

  On this rod was gathered the valance.  I didn't have enough width to double the size of the window to have a gathered fabric curtain.  So, I took two different lengths and sewed them together to repeat the pattern.  You cannot see the seam in the middle of the fabric because of the folds.  This is a picture of the matched seams.

                 I lined the valance with ecru drapery cotton so the sun wouldn't harm the toile fabric. 

                 What is nice about the shelf is that I can change out the vignettes any time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Reworked Chandelier I

Previously, I had spray painted an old brass chandelier, added crystals and beaded chain.

I wanted to hang a chandelier over my desk area in this house.  I had this chandelier before, but I wanted to change out the shades and cord cover from the one in Little Rock.

I bought this shabby chic material online, but cannot recall the store or name of the fabric.  I pulled out the up cycled chandelier and took the cord and shades from the Arkansas dining room and put them on my office light.

Instead of sewing a seam in the cord, I used the circle sized Velcro  placed every 3 inches on the inside of the fabric.  This way, it is easier to put on or remove the sheath from the electrical cord. 

To enhance the shades and give them dimension, I found coral colored seed beads in the jewelry section of Michael's.  I glued them in certain areas to highlight the flowers on the shades.  When the light is turned on, the seed beads glimmer.  A clear beaded trim was also glued on to the top of each shade.

 There is a funny story with these shades.  I had just finished gluing the beads on them in time for company.  At the dinner table the chandelier was on the entire meal.  I noticed out of the corner of my eye--sudden movement.  Apparently, when the shade heated up, it started popping some of the seed beads that didn't have enough glue on them.  What an embarrassment to this hostess!  What remains are hundreds of the seed beads that have remained glued to their surface.

                                                  Notice the seed beads in this picture.

                                                  And finally, a closeup of the cover.

I love the new look, so fresh.  It makes me smile every time I look at the shades.  Wonder why???