Before and After, crafts, Decor, Home, My house

The $1.41 DIY project

I recently stopped by my favorite thrift store, Unique to drop off some donations and take a look around. You’ll remember I told you about Unique before–it’s the place I found these chairs and Lily’s headboard. Let’s see what they’ve got, okay?

Though this gem (pun intended) caught my eye….

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…and this kitchen crock had my name written all over it…

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…I left with just a little metal tray for $1.41 and went straight home to get my DIY on.  (Tools: some leftover spray paint, a Twisted Tea to wet my whistle while I worked, and some fine grit–#220–sandpaper. Not pictured because I forgot: painter’s tape.)

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Step 1: Sand the tray lightly.

Step 2: Paint the tray black.

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Step 3: Tape stripes on the tray. (My design was loosely based on Erin Gates new collection with Jill Rosenwald. In fact, I was looking for a long tray like this specifically because I loved hers so much!)

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Step 4: Keep taping and wrap the ends with newspaper.

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Step 5: Spray it white.

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Step 6: Peel the tape back and watch the magic. Oooh! Aaaah!tray-158

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Step 7: Enjoy!

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Does it look a little like a football? I think so. It certainly wasn’t intentional but I’m going with it since it’s living in Pablo’s den.  (And it’s the closest he’s going to get to some football themed paraphernalia in there!)

And get this: I really wanted a small tray in hopes that it would become his new catchall for his keys, phone and wallet when he gets home. Before now, he dumped them on the top edge of the piano and though it shouldn’t bother me, I always wanted to get him a little place to put everything. And–surprise, surprise–without me suggesting it, he started putting his stuff on the tray. Not sure why that makes me so happy but it does.

Ahh…the small pleasures of organizing.

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XO

Sue at Home

P.S. LOTS more den updates coming soon! See my instagram for clues!

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Decor, Home, My house, Shopping

Thrift Store Challenge

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Sherry and John Petersik’s blog Young House Love. It’s not just the great DIY and decorating ideas they come up with.  It’s the way they write. They’re kind, real, smart, and funny as hell.  Of all the blogs I follow daily (hundreds!), theirs is the only one I read word-for-word everyday. And they write a LOT of words! (Ok…I always read Elements of Style, too. But that’s about it.)

I’ve been meaning to write a thrift store post forever but I never got around to it. So when Young House Love decided to do the 100% Totally Unofficial Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge, I had to bite. Challenge accepted!

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I, too, have been obsessed with the new Macklemore & Ryan Lewis song Thrift Shop. With lyrics like, “I wear your granddad’s clothes. I look incredible. I’m in this big a$$ coat from that thrift shop down the road.“, how can you not get on board? Sherry and John’s challenge goes like this:

Step #1. Go to a thrift shop with – just as the chorus of the song says – “$20 in your pocket”and take a picture. Done. See above. (BTW: Sorry for all the bad iphone pics in this post. I was thrifting solo.)

Step #2. Spend that $20 any way you’d like and photograph your spoils.  Did it! See below…

Step #3. Find one item (or more) referenced in the song and snap a pic. Yup – did that, too. See pics below. (Sherry, who is well-versed in rapper speech, gave this list to the lyrically-challenged: “clothing with fringe, an all pink outfit, moccasins, a velour jumpsuit, house slippers, a brown leather jacket, a keyboard, a kneeboard, shoes with velcro, luggage, a plaid button up shirt, flannel zebra jammies, PJs with built-in socks, a telescope, and of course… a big a$$ coat.”)

Optional Step #4: Blog about it. Here it is!

So, come thrifting with me!

On the way to the store, guess what came on the radio? I took that as a good sign that this would be a fruitful shopping trip. (Seriously, I was so busy rocking out in the car that I had to open a window to cool down and that’s saying a lot because it’s 25 degrees here.)

I went to Unique in Union, NJ which is a thrift store like no other.

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Unique is well organized, has tons of stuff (including furniture), and is ridiculously priced. Let’s take a tour:

There are lots of toys. I wouldn’t buy any grimy stuffed animals but a lot of these plastic things would be just fine with a scrub down. That little parking garage thing with the red ramps on the left side was a whopping $1.91. (I don’t know where they come up these weird prices but I’m not going to argue with something so cheap.)

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There are rows and rows that look like this. This one was just books but there are aisles of china and CDs and holiday stuff and anything else you can think of.

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I decided to skip the used bra and panty section. EEKS!

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I loved spotting this little gem in the game area. Ha!

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I even snagged a picture of this sweet pink velour sweatsuit which satisfied the scavenger hunt portion of the challenge: to find something that was mentioned in the Thrift Shop song. In fact, if I may toot my scavenger horn, this beauty satisfies 2–that’s right, TWO!–categories: the “all pink outfit” and “the velour jumpsuit”! How you like me now, $herdog?

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But let’s get over to the furniture department because you know that’s where I’m spending my 20 spot. I kinda fell in love with this headboard and it would be perfect for Sophia’s room once we get her a full size bed. All it would need is some spray paint in…hot pink? Yellow? Purple? Green? GOLD? Doesn’t matter because I passed on it. And it was only $14.99!

headboard

This desk needed a facelift and some new hardware but it had sexy legs , good bones, and it was really stable and sturdy. Bonus: the $9.99 price tag. No joke – if I had a bigger car, this would have come home with me.

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I snagged a bonus pic for the scavenger hunt: a suitcase. They have tons but I was partial to this American Tourister in candy apple red that still had it’s striped luggage tag. Dirty? Yes. But a steal for $4.99.

luggageBut it was the chair section that I really wanted to check out. This section is also known as the where-guys-sleep-while-their-wives-are-shopping section. Case in point: dude in the wicker chair. (I’ve given him some dignity by shielding his face from my readers.)

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I’ve been looking for some chairs for a loooooooooong time. I’d like to do a little mismatched thing around our table in the den. You know that look where you take a bunch of random chairs and paint them in a matching color for continuity? I don’t know what color we’ll do but all I need for now are 4 totally mismatched chairs that are somewhat stable or at the very least, repairable. Here are a couple examples of the look I want.

From BH&G

From ELLE Decor

From Apartment Therapy

And here’s what our sad little (faux-Saarinen-tulip) Docksta table looks like now. The fancy folding stools were purchased circa 1995 at the Woolworth’s on the Upper East Side. (Yes, there used to be a Woolworth on the Upper East Side. Naturally, it’s a Banana Republic now.)

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OK – let’s get back to shopping. So, I gave each chair a little wiggle to check it’s stability and then pulled out this motley crew. (I know that one on the left is a little wimpy compared to the others but we have small people in our house and I think they’ll fit in there just perfectly.)

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I wasn’t sure they were my final choices until I added up the random prices and found that it came to $19.96, just 4 pennies shy of my budget! Obviously, these chairs were meant to be mine. (Sure, I had to pay another $1.40 for tax but I still felt pretty proud of the score I got for the “$20 in my pocket” and some change from my wallet.)

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By the way, the cheapest one has a stamp on the bottom that says Solid Mahogany. Which further proves that the prices they put on these things are so random. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to refinishing the chairs but you know I’ll keep you posted. For some decor inspiration for our den (a.k.a. the-most-well-lit-man-cave-in-the-world), check out my Pinterest board for the room.

On the way home, since I was in a thrifting mood, I decided to stop by Goodwill. There wasn’t much there but I really liked this peacock blue velvet lampshade for $2.99. (Ultimately, I couldn’t think of a room that I could use it in so I had to say no.)

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And Christian Slater was begging me to bring him home but I’m not 16 anymore so I had to leave him behind. (Plus, I don’t think I need to see that movie again. Now, if it was Heathers then that would be a different story…)

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Stay tuned to see my chairs turn into something purty. (Just don’t hold your breath though. It’s freeeeeezzzzzzing here and there will be no outdoor sanding or spray painting until we get a reprieve from the cold!)

XO

Sue at Home

P.S. Stop the Presses! I just scheduled an appt to meet John and Sherry this week through my real job. Fingers crossed that everything works out. I’ve been dying to get them in the magazine for years so I’m thrilled to discuss some ideas with them in person. (And gush some love and admiration all over them!)