Life Through a Brand New Camera Lens

I finally did it! I upgraded my camera. I got tired of using my cell phone and the poor quality pictures I was posting to this blog because I felt like it wasn’t doing some of my craft work and displays justice so this past week I purchased my new Nikon D3200 Camera.

It was quite the ordeal getting the camera because at first I thought that I didn’t have the battery when I was surveying my inventory. I took it over to my parents to help me look and we found the battery but realized that what it was actually missing was the charger. I called Target where I purchased the camera and asked what could be done. They didn’t have any cameras to exchange it with since this particular camera is not the most recent model and won’t be reordered but they did say that they would give me a full refund.

I did some quick research to figure out what a replacement charger would cost and found out that it was $50 on Amazon to replace the Nikon charger. When I went into Target I asked them if it was possible to still keep this camera but get $50 off to cover the cost of the charger. The manager there was happy to oblige my request (one of the many reasons I love shopping at Target) so I got to keep the camera. I went on Amazon and did some research and actually found some really favorable reviews in an off-brand charger that was made specifically for Nikon camera batteries. This charger was only $14.99 instead of $50 so I ordered it and with my Prime membership I had it the next day! The charger worked great and my camera was up and running. This is a thrifty lesson for everybody – you don’t get anything unless you ask. I ended up saving $35 on this camera + it was already on sale + it came with a free wifi adapter which was a $70 value so really I saved well over $100!

I decided to take some pictures for you all of some of the vignettes and décor that I have already put out there. A sort of recap of where I am now and then I have some major things in mind (not to mention some newfound inspiration and energy to get it done which I attribute to my new 5:00 am runs with Rusty that I just started last week) for where my house is going to go from here.

So here’s where I’m at:

Bedroom

My nightstand arrangement in my bedroom

My nightstand arrangement in my bedroom

Living Room

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Adorable Dog and Cat

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And now I’m off to spend my newfound inspired energy on some projects to share with you all in the weeks to come!

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Let’s party! Linking up with:

Vintage Charm

 

Warming Up The Walls

So my week last week went by in a flurry of –

  1. Shelter events

Angel at the J Crew opening at Grand Prairie – she is up for adoption at SAMS rescue!

2. BASEBALL,

Go Cubbies!

and 3. WEDDINGS!

I may or may not have been live streaming Saturdays Cubs-Cards game while at the reception…

Before I knew it a week had passed and I had not only NOT gotten anything done in my house, but also didn’t post for Thrifty Thursday (even though I had it written and ready to go) or any other post for that matter! Time is a funny thing. Lately there just doesn’t seem to be enough of it.

But I did start to remedy all of that this past weekend. I had a 3 day weekend so I was determined to get some things accomplished – mainly getting some of my house cleaned up and spending time with my favorite dog in the whole wide world.

Mission Accomplished! He makes my heart happy.

Mission Accomplished! He makes my heart happy.

I also started to get some things on the walls in my living room. I am bound and determined to cozy up my living spaces. Especially before all of those cold fall days set in. I went over to my parent’s house Sunday morning (around breakfast time…by design, as I knew my mom would have baked something. I was not disappointed by her blueberry coffeecake!) and my mom helped me cut down and frame some really sweet prints that I had picked up in various second hand ways.

This sweet pup I picked up at the Expo Gardens flea market:

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I decided I wanted another black and white print to complement it so I scoured Etsy for days until I found this Black and White ad with these adorable pups on it. I have loved Scottie Dogs ever since watching Lady and the Tramp as a child.

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I recently fixed up my big picture window with bamboo shades and white curtains that I got at Goodwill for $5! I love how the window treatment looks for the window. It offers me privacy since I live on one of the busier streets in my town but doesn’t obscure the fact that I have a large beautiful window (that is always covered in dog slobber…)

Sorry this isn't a great picture, what with the dog bed and dog toys...It's real life though!

Sorry this isn’t a great picture, what with the dog bed and dog toys and fact that I took it with my cell phone…It’s real life though!

The dog pictures found their way right next to the window. My mom happened to have the mat boards sitting around her house and I had picked up the frames for $0.99 each at Goodwill. The blue in the mat boards reflects my blue accent wall really well. I love how they look stacked on the wall next to my big window.

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While at my mom’s house we also went through some of her wall quilts to see if we found one that would go in my living room. We found this one and I stuck it up there with command tape to see if I liked how it looked or if I wanted to try to find something else. I’m giving it a test drive for a couple of days. What do you all think? Is it the right thing for above that sofa or should I keep looking?

Opinions welcome! This room is still a work in progress. :)

Opinions welcome! This room is still a work in progress. 🙂

I’m excited to hear your input!

Time to party! Check out these link ups!

Vintage Inspiration Party

Vintage Charm

These Booties Were Made For Walking

Do you ever just find the perfect pair of shoes and want to tell the world? Well, I have found them!

I went to Clothes Mentor, a consignment shop, on Friday because I am determined to revamp my work wardrobe so that I feel a little more professional and put together every day (a tough feat for a girl who is a hot mess…) I found a couple of really cute blouses, a sweater and then laid eyes on these beauties:

  
I tried them on and, I kid you not, my feet did a happy dance. I’m not big on heels because they are generally uncomfortable but these wedges had great support and didn’t make me feel like I was in heels at all. I was wearing jeans while trying them on which they looked really cute with and then I have already gotten wear out is them at a wedding I attended Saturday night. 

 

Mirror selfie! Ignore my messy room and the random dog gate…

  

Love these beautiful ladies!


I also wore my booties for work yesterday for a 9 hour day and they didn’t cause me any discomfort at all! Sadly I didn’t take a picture of my work outfit…I should have. I was rocking it in my black pencil skirt, grey crewneck sweater (also purchased at Clothes Mentor on Friday) and turquoise statement necklace. 

The real kicker on these shoes? (See what I did there? Gotta love a good pun…) They only cost me $14 and they retail for $69! I LOVE LOVE LOVE reclaimed fashion! 

 

Reclaimed Redneck Coffee Table

Remember these?
spools
My very first Thrifty Thursday finds from a curb in Pekin, IL. They have sat in 2 different garages now just waiting for the mud and dirt to be cleaned from them so that they can become adorable reclaimed tables.

And here is the finished product! 

 

The blue one ended up being the absolute perfect size to serve as my coffee table and I think it looks really fun! Though I can’t help but remember when I used to listen to Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be A Redneck If…” and he used to describe having a spool in the den as a coffee table. I’m okay with being a little bit redneck though.

Let me tell you how I cleaned this spool up. It was caked with mud and dirt from years of sitting in some guy’s shed so first I took a dry bristle brush to it to knock off as much of the dirt and cobwebs as possible. I didn’t want to hose it off first only to have a big muddy mess. After I knocked as much dirt as possible off THEN I turned the hose on. Sister 3 helped me with this since she was claiming the white spool for her front porch. She aimed a strong jet at the caked on sections on the spools and knocked them all off, and cleaned my driveway while she was at it!

Since her spool was just going on her porch and was going to be an outside spool, she loaded it up as is and is now displaying hers. Since mine was going indoors I still had a little work to do. I took some disinfecting wipes and carefully scrubbed each panel of wood on top bottom and sides in order to remove as much of the built up grime as possible. It ended up looking so great that I didn’t even need to paint it (I was originally going to be painting it blue). After getting it as clean as possible I coated it with polyurethane to protect it from potential spills. I used a matte finish because I didn’t want my rustic reclaimed table looking too shiny.
All that is left now is to stage it with some decor. I shopped my house and this is what I found…
  

So life-like isn’t he? He adds both height and texture to my display. Too bad he doesn’t stay put…

  

I guess I will have to keep looking for other items… I’ve already got a basket to corral my remotes. I feel like it needs something else though.

What do you think of my new coffee table? Any suggestions for types of items to put on it?

9/16/15 addition: I linked up to my very first blog party – so much inspiration in just one place. Check it out! Vintage Inspiration Party #205

Refurbished Plant Tray DIY

Several months ago I picked up a wooden tray from Goodwill. At $5.99, it was really pricey but I had been looking for one specifically and despite its, well, horrible paint job, I liked the shape of this one and it was before I got really into thrifting and found a million other trays.

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I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do with it but I knew I wanted to get it sanded down. First I was going to try to sand it completely down to the wood. Trying to do it by hand was a silly idea, though it was great for getting out some frustrations. I ended up having to borrow my dad’s hand sander to sand the rest of the way. I realized quickly that because there were so many coats of paint I was not going to be able to get it down to just the wood so in came Plan B.
This was going to be put in my kitchen and my accent color in there is what I call “Cayenne” – a red orange that I took from this sign that is the inspiration for some of my decorating.

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This isn’t exactly a standard color so I mixed two of my Americana paints together – bright orange and true red – in order to attain the right hue. I applied it to the tray with a sponge brush but made sure that some of the black showed through in order to show the wood grain. I thought that this gave it a really unique and rustic look, more like a stain than an outright paint color.

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I loved how the color turned out but then I noticed the rust colored handles didn’t quite go with the color anymore so I pulled out some jute string and wrapped them to further give it a rustic appearance.

I decided that I wanted to put an array of planters in it so I coated it with polyurethane in order to protect the wood from possible drainage. I chose a matte finish for the polyurethane because I didn’t want my tray to appear shiny.

Next I raided my flea market finds and pulled together a Pfaltzgraff crock that says “Tea” on it (originally this would have had a lid and been part of a set but since the lid had since been lost or broken, I picked this up at Goodwill for $1.99), the silver teapot that once held Newton the Apple Mint plant (poor Newton was beyond saving when I got him and has since passed on), and a little ceramic pig that I had picked up at 3rd Sunday on a 3 for $1 table (Thrifty Thursday #3). She has a hairline crack on her, but nothing too severe so it shouldn’t affect her ability to hold a plant.
I picked up some low maintenance plants from the terrarium section at Jeffrey Alan and planted the 3 containers by first pouring in some rock for drainage and then adding Miracle Grow plant soil. These plants are really great since most of them are varieties of succulents – they don’t need to be watered often. Just check the soil to make sure it is still damp and they will fair just fine!

Voila – a really sweet little plant arrangement to sit on my kitchen peninsula.

What do you think of my tray redo?

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Thrifty Thursday #16: The Church Mouse – A Quiet Little Secret

Concluding my thrifting marathon from the week of August 10 (I know, I’m still weeks behind!) was a trip to the Church Mouse on Friday August 14. The Church Mouse is a small thrift store in Peoria, IL. I haven’t gone there much but I am definitely going to be a regular patron from now on! I found so much great stuff and was complimented at the register for my “great eye”. The people working were also getting a kick out of what I told them I was going to do as far as repurposing some of the items.

Now I regret that there are some items missing from the picture as I have already started using a fantastic $1.00 basket on my island as my catch all for keys, etc. and I have started to repaint a cutting board I got there as well so it is missing from my group shot.

  
The most I spent on an item was $5.00 for the solid wood step stool. I was looking for one so I was willing to spend that much for myself (and honestly, for something of this quality, $5.00 was a steal!) Other than that and another couple of $2.00 lamps, everything else I had was a dollar or less. Most of it was $0.25-$0.50!

   
   
The gentleman who worked at the Church Mouse (and so kindly helped me haul my two boxes full of stuff to my car) asked me what the silver cage looking thing is because he had been trying to figure it out and he thought that since I bought it that I would know what it was. I told him I didn’t know what it was but I knew what it was going to be! I plan to spray paint it and put a plant in it. I love looking for things that can be repurposed into interesting planters. He just laughed at me.

I was really excited about the tins that I found – more excellent ones for my craft room in my colors! And a kitty one…just because it looks like Mordecai! Not sure if I’m going to use this or if I’m going to make up a silent auction basket for a shelter event using it and some other cat related items. For 25 cents, it doesn’t really matter!

I found a couple more wood plates/trays. I’m amassing quite the collection of those as well. And a sweet little basket with Christmas trees on it. This one I’m on the fence about whether or not to put in the booth for the holidays or keep for myself. Depends on how the decorating comes along! And of course, I couldn’t pass up more wood frames!

I find that the small thrift shops are the real gold mines. Everybody frequents Goodwill but the little ones don’t get as much traffic so it’s more likely that you will find incredible forgotten items just waiting for you to give new life!

Happy Thrifting!

Behold My Glorious Throne-Room

Finally! I have another room that I can consider DONE. Last night I was on a roll so I finished up the last lingering little projects for my bathroom and now I have another big reveal for you.

Here is the bathroom before –

    

The bright blue color did not look right with the floors at all and that mirror cabinet was gross. 

Unfortunately that is still sitting in my garage until I can unearth it to put it out for the garbage collection. It had so much build up in it that even I couldn’t save it.
Here is my bathroom after –
    

It didn’t come together quite how I thought it would but I’m really pleased with it. Originally I was going to replace the floors but then we realized that it was ceramic tile so I was going to have to live with it. Luckily the color I had painted it (the same requisite gray from my bedroom) actually complemented the floors quite well and the shower curtain I picked had a similar style so I was able to make it work.

  

This mirror I had over my sofa in my duplex and I was ecstatic that it fit in the space above the sink in this bathroom. It works perfectly with the shower curtain and since the floor has some dark bluish gray tiles in the pattern, it actually works with the floor too. The light fixture I splurged on and got from Lowe’s. I admit, I can’t do EVERYTHING second hand. Sometimes a girl just wants a nice light in her bathroom and doesn’t want to spend weeks hunting at Restore for it. I love bronze finishes so this was perfect for me.

  

  
This shelf was another non-thrifted splurge from Target. My friend from grade school Staci had posted some pictures of her small house decorating on Facebook and when I saw this shelf, I knew it was the perfect solution for my small bathroom woes and quickly asked her where she got it. The only storage I have in the actual bathroom is a very small cabinet under my sink so this shelf, while nicely styled, offers me some great hidden storage options.

The top shelf is home to a succulent in a $0.99 copper pot that I got from Salvation Army (that post is yet to come this week…) and a bird picture that I got at Gordman’s because 1. It’s a bird and 2. It had ALL the colors of my bathroom including the terra cotta orange of my floors! Sometimes a picture is so perfect I just can’t pass it up. The pitcher is from a small flea market in Washington, IL that unfortunately they have stopped holding due to losing their space. It was marked at $2.50 but I got it for $1.00! It works in the floor colors and hidden inside are all of my bobby pins and hair ties! A perfect hiding place for those eye sores that all women with longer hair deal with in the bathroom.

The second shelf is my favorite. I got the burlap box at JoAnn Fabrics because it was the perfect size to hold my lady products and the burlap added a new texture to my display. It was missing something though so last night I painted on the number 6 as it is seen on many crocks. I chose 6 because I am child number 6 in my family so that has always been my number. I had to free hand this with the paint brush since I couldn’t draw on the burlap with anything else but I would recommend a nice stencil to anybody wanting to recreate this look on their box. You can make your own by printing the image of the 6 (or whatever number you choose!) onto a piece of cardstock and carefully cutting out around the number. The space where the number used to be can serve as your stencil. Just carefully tape it back together and lay it over your surface.

The “Please wait to be seated” sign is an example of my quirky humor. The idea of putting that in my bathroom made me giggle. I wanted the sign to look makeshift but in reality I drew the size of my wood piece onto a sketch pad and carefully made the letters so that I would fill the entire area. I then used a piece of tracing paper to go over what I had in my sketch pad and laid a piece of graphite paper down over my wood piece and traced over my tracing paper design with a stylus. That left the image clear as day on my piece of wood making it much less nerve-wracking for me to take my paint brush to it! The result is a cute and quirky little sign. And the 3 rolls of toilet paper…well, there isn’t room in my cabinet for any so I had to work them into the display. There is nothing worse than sitting on the toilet and discovering you have no toilet paper! This ensures that I am always covered.

So there you have it. A cute little bathroom that I was still able to bring my personality into. It is important to me that every room in my house show a bit of who I am and doesn’t look perfectly pulled out of a magazine. I collect things over time and have diverse tastes. I want that to show, even in the littlest of rooms.