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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thrifting Process and valuable TIPS

even though this is a dress it proves my point: you can get
amazing things at thrift stores if you just take the time
I'm here to encourage all those Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and (sadly) Rooms to Go kind of vanilla bix box store addicted people I know(you know who you are) to venture into imaginative resourcefulness....i.e. creativity.  Today we’ll start a new round of posts that are sure to be as random and inspirational as I am in life (and blogging:)  

I'll introduce you to my world of picking, thrifting, treasure hunting & garage sale-ing (hmmm, my husband will have to tell me how to say that).  Where I find items, each for its own reason & purpose then I'll make an attempt to
walk you through my process of transforming a mess into beauty.  

Twistie Tie:

Isn't that what God does for us?  Turns us from the mess that we are into the beautiful creature He's created us to be!  Wow...such a neat thought.

And we're back: 
as an avid thrifter; my projects and random finds will pop up from time to time. 

The real work is not only finding the right pieces but to make those re-purposed or thrift items look and feel high end as well as fit into your style & décor.  

(still with me?)  
Before I get into this specific project let me go over my...
thrifting process the Overview 

the original wallpaper through Instagram eyes
First ask: fulfilling a need or buying on a whim?

In this instance I have a project : designing & decorating my husband's office starting with what I call "My White Room Challenge" (similar to the HGTV version only mine is not so white.)  It’s in an old house from the 1800's with vintage floral wallpaper; filled with character & grand possibilities.  

Second: enter a new search on my craigslist app
using "desk" as my keyword, add price guidelines to start with a clean, narrow search.  You can always broaden the search if you don't find the item that speaks to you right away.  After you've been through your options make sure the search is saved then keep checking your phone as the thought hits.

This process could take weeks.  The best deals go quickly on craigslist so it’s best to be "on top of" your searches .

Third: scour the local thrift stores to see what they have on hand.  This is our favorite for finding interesting things we don't need and either end up turning into something great or simply adding more junk to the garage:)

the desk before...blah blah and super well built
Furniture Tips:  When looking for furniture be sure to check the sturdiness of the piece, if all the pieces are there, do the drawers work, strong legs, how heavy is the piece, do you have room in the car or truck?  Vintage pieces are great because they're usually built really well with old dense wood.   

The guy at my local thrift store helped me take a knob off the desk we didn't buy to replace our missing knob...cool gent!  They're not supposed to take tips but I say GIVE....be generous & bless people around you.   

Lastly: get up early!  Saturday mornings = garage sale treasures  Find a fun neighborhood garage sale to start out with for the biggest time saver.  Start out early (always our biggest downfall) because getting there at 9am is NOT the way to get the best deals!
Trust me, we've missed out on TONS of cool items & good deals because we didn't decide until the last minute that we were going to "sale".  Last little tip here: PLAN AHEAD!  

TIP: enjoy the adventure & tell the story of your picking experience with those you love.  You know you need something to talk about during those family holiday parties:)

Ask yourself:  
  • Is it sturdy?
  • If something isn't right, can I fix it? 
  • What do I want the end product to look like?
  • How much time & money will I have to pour into this project?
  • Is it worth the cost of my time & efforts?   
Here's a couple videos to show the progress of this office space...which is NOT finished yet:

Desks: we found 2 similar desks for $25 each at a thrift store....attaining them was an adventure story on its own....rushing into Austin with only 20 minutes before they closed knowing they wouldn't hold them for us or keep the store open.  The best driving I've seen out of my Honey:)

Here are 3 story variations for the desk redesign experience:

longish version:  
I sanded, cleaned, primed...10pm project PAUSE
Oh no What's going on?  I can't wash my hands...the paint won't come off...the sink too, oh no, even the counters...oh caca....my good paint brush!!!   

Ahhhhh, my sweet, lovely husband bought oil based primer!!!  And Lowe's is closed.  
No paint thinner to be found--since I can't remember the time I used oil based paint
The full gallon of Maxi Teal latex paint will have to find another project, another day.   
what a mess!  

work lesson:
Some of my projects don't go as smoothly as I dream up in my head & you must learn to roll with it.  I decided oil based paint was the best way to go anyway (even if it put my project back a day). God knows better than you do so just trust that He'll lead your steps.
Other than the fact that I ruined about 5 paint brushes over the 4 day painting period I'm honestly very pleased we wound up using oil based....Seriously, thank you Honey.

life lesson:  
always look at the positive side of things. 

The next morning I was off to Sherwin Williams for Maxi Teal oil based paint...and mineral spirits:)

shortest version:
sand-clean-prime-paint-top coat sealer-spray paint handles-add fabric-have glass cut to fit-voila

too short?  
let me expound on the top of the desks which I wanted to be a work of art.  I thought about painting something really great but that was too much pressure for it to actually BE great and not a big bright wacky mess! I was forced to toss around different ideas, to try something I've never done before. The first, most obvious, choice for creating art on the top of the desk was wallpaper.  Since there was NO time to order & wait for shipping I drove to the ONLY place in Austin that sells wallpaper off the shelves40 minute drive.  Big mistake.  For some reason this store only stocked ugly, country bumpkin looking rolls of wallpaper.  Huh, no wonder they had to downsize.

Life Lesson
joyfully roll with not only the good but the not so good...there may be a better way....trust God.

New game plan evolved within 15 minutes.   Fabric!  I found some $10 per yard fabric that was nearly perfect for what I saw in my head to begin with.  Joyfulness! Now, how to adhere it?

I used a heavy duty spray adhesive and carefully laid out the fabric then sprayed, applied, and cut with sharp fabric shears.  I'm sure I could've done a better job but for my first time I think it went quite well.  

Final comments:
The desks ended up costing far more than we expected, not only money but time, which is far more valuable.  So next time I'll be more aware of the entire process & what it'll realistically take to get the final product I want.

I’m happy to announce 

  1. they are FINISHED...not perfect by any means just finished.  if you don't look too close you won't see that it wasn't quite dry when we moved it into the room:)
  2. I'm super happy with the final product & looking forward to transforming the "conference room" bay window.
I bought two chairs at $8 ea.
+ $35 for fabric
+ 2 bloody fingers
= a beautiful priceless transformation
see the polka dot chair near the desk

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