On a Color Coordinating Kick!

New condo, freshly moved, starting from scratch and living solo means one thing in my mind: decorating my place however I want, no matter how unconventional that may be.  For me this was an opportunity to cross a little something (and by little something I mean definitely a minor bucket list item…nothing I would look back on with regret if I didn’t completely….none the less: it’s on the list!) off the bucket list: color coordinating my bookshelf!  I often feel a little like a hoarder, even more so after just going through a move that took me (just ONE person) at least 2 weeks to prepare for….it took my old roommate all of a couple hours.  I feel even more like a hoarder when it comes to my books! I can’t get rid of them, won’t get rid of them, have a strange sense of accomplishment when I look at them all and realize how many great things I’ve read (and maybe how much time I have had on my hands).  What better way to show them off besides color coordinating them (alphabetizing is so last year)! This being said, moving into my own place was the perfect opportunity to break into the storage unit and roll out my many boxes of literary accomplishments (or in some cases literary guilty pleasures).  Final result…

IMG_4240(doesn’t actually feel like that many books when I look at this picture…especially after all the hype I typed about it above).  None the less…it brings a strange sense of happiness to me when I see it.

Another color coordinating opportunity I jumped on was when working on a large picture project!  I have lots of pictures I love and not many ways to display them so I figured I’d make one really big picture, with a lot of my favorite smaller ones…for some unconscious reason I envisioned it arranged via color scheme.  So after many hours on photoshop/InDesign, a few trips to the printer and too much money at the framer this is what I had (sorry for the yellowish coloring…bad lighting and I don’t feel like fixing them in photoshop)

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a few up-close shots

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Needless to say the last few days have been lots of fun…gotta love a blank canvas:-)

Next project: pallet coffee table

inspiration for it:

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Sprucing up Space and Thrift Store Finds

Although I am always good for the occasional splurge, I (contrary to what my mother might say) am more of a thrifty shopper than anything else.  Part of it is, of course, the prices but I also love getting something that is unique, has a little more personality and has some interesting, unknown story behind it (I do however always make sure it’s clean!!)  So I thought I’d do a post about my favorite thrift store pieces, how I use them, ways to get creative with these cheap finds and how to use it all to make a cozy and unique space.

My first all time favorite…The Green Chopping Block, something like $30.  I’ve mostly been using it as my night stand, but there was a time period where it was sort of a little work station: where I’d leave the mail, pens, pads and had my printer on the bottom.

I bought it from QCumberz (on 7th Ave and Indian School in the Melrose district) which is BY FAR the best place to get this kind of stuff:  they have really unique and TONS of things but it’s not as expensive as your usual antique store. Some of their stuff takes a little restoration but I think that’s the fun part.  They also have lot’s of good, cheap finds for crafting/around the house projects like old shutters, doors, window panes, signs etc.

My other (close second) favorite is my Yellow Armoire.  This piece was a little bit pricier, something around $200, but when you consider a) it’s good quality b) didn’t need any paint or anything, c) most armoires are way more than that and d) has played a crutial role in my clothing/junk/yarn etc. organization it’s a pretty good bargain.

I got this from an antique store on the west side of Phoenix called the Brass Armadillo (off the 17 and Cactus)

Another recent purchase (also from QCumberz) were my forest green Night Stands with french sayings written all over it (which I use as my living room table…I clearly have a habit for switching funiture uses around”).  They were each around $30 and they work perfectly with our livingroom layout since a square or even more rectangle table wouldn’t really work.

Two other  QCumberz purchase are my Key Shaped Key Ring Hanger, something like $25(which worked out great in my Kappa sorority house and still works great now) and my ChalkBoard Converted Cabinet, I think this was like $10.

While not necessarily thrift store finds next few were still deals I found and/or took a little creativity to put together

My Bed Frame which I got off of overstock.com like 5 years ago…it was exactly what I wanted, well built and cost just under $200.  Considering I use it pretty much everynight I’d say that’s a good deal (if what they say is true: that the true price of something equals how much you paid by how many times you used it then this actually cost me 11 cents).

Another great piece I was offered to me by my parents’ friends.  It was an old Desk Table that was sort of a medium colored, glossy wood.  To make it more my style I sanded it and painted it over with a cream colored house paint…gotta love (basically) free furniture.

I made this shelf (and actually I have the supplies for another one which honestly I just don’t have wall space for but I am not capapble of getting rid of awesome pieces that were such a great deal) with wall brackets that were ON SALE from Anthropologie for like $12 each(not usually cheap but they do have good deals every once in a while) and the shelf part is just a piece of wood I found at QCumberz.

And while we’re on the topic of budgets and thriftiness I thought it would be good to throw in a few of my favorite, cheap ways to spruce up your space.  I like to display everything, I’d take shelves over cabinets anyday…why have all these things if I can’t utilize them as decoration when they’re not being used for their real purposes (and they’re usually not being used for their real purposes)?

Rule number one (and probably the only rule…unless you really do have absolutely nothing) is best said in the words of Bethenny Frankel: “Use What You Have!”

Some of the things I tend to have around my house, in bulk quantities, that tend to liven up your space (and personalize it!) are:

Books-I have the majority of the books I’ve ever read,most of them are in storage in boxes heavier than my refrigerator, but I keep my favorites and the most current around my house all the time to fill in some of the empty, dull spaces.  Amazon is definitely the best place to find cheap books…sometimes for even just a few cents.

Candles and Lanterns: candles you can usually find on sale at Michaels, Target etc. for a pretty cheap price.  If you get one’s that look good and smell good than you’re killing 2 birds with one stone! (My favorite candles are Voluspa in Baltic Amber-not necessarily the cheapest but definitely the BEST).  Lanterns are also a favorite of mine.  Good ones can be kind of expensive but I found these (for like $15 each) at Marshall’s in CA.

Over the years I’ve accumulated lot’s of paintings which, I’ll admit, are a pain in the ass to carry around with me but they make such great decorations that I can’t leave them behind!

Sometimes I hang Scarves in spots that look like they could use a little color

I’ve also collected (not intentionally) lot’s of Boxes over the years…great for storage AND some personality.  Also, if you’re specifically looking for great boxes definitely hit up Bevmo…they’ll give you old really nice cigar boxes for like $2 dollars and wine box crate things for usually $4.

Then of course there are pictures! Out of all of these pictures and books are my favorite kind of decorations.  They’re relatively cheap to print and you can find cheap frames in lot’s of places (ie Michaels and Hobby Lobby).  I’ve also recently gotten into modge podging my pictures onto canvases.

All in all….If I had to suggest a few places to look for ways to decorate/furnish your house for a good price I’d say any unique fun place with good sales (ie Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters), QCumberz (or any other antique shop in the Melrose District), other places for deals like overstock.com, Marshalls, Etsy is another GREAT place to look for this kind of stuff…and of course YOUR OWN HOUSE!!!

Catching up on Christmas

I know I know….I’m running about a week late at the moment, so consider this an early-bird Christmas post for 2012.  I won’t get too into details because in the wake of these hectic holidays I’m just trying to catch up (aka be ready for coming posts to appear in rapid succession).

If there’s one Christmas moment I look most forward to (besides Christmas brunch, decorating the tree and lots of baking) it’s the decorating of the gingerbread house! I even spent weeks googling “gingerbread house ideas,” “best gingerbread houses,” “unique gingerbread houses” and on and on  to make sure that when I sat down create this merry masterpiece I would have a couple tricks up my sleeve (it really isn’t a masterpiece by any means, and if you look at those google result it is in fact more mediocre than anything else).   And of course: all things Christmas are much more enjoyable with some wee ones around :-).

The week before gingerbread houses I went candy shopping (hoarding).  I threw all things gummy, sparkly, puffy, round, fuzzy, green, red etc. into my basket.  Results:

Once fully prepared for the decorating to ensue it is necessary to a.) get in the “Plattner Zone” and b.) have a little jolly fun.

One of those “tricks” I discovered while endlessly surfing the net for those glorious gingerbread examples was using an upside-down, pointy waffle cone to make a pine tree.  Cone, royal icing dyed green, a star tip for your pastry bag and some accents to add on at the end for decoration is all you need to make christmas tree magic.

I also stumbled upon a technique to make a sleigh.  I used mini candy canes, a stick of gun and a cute gummy penguin.

Once necessary gingerbread accents have been successfully completed it’s officially time to move onto The House.  I won’t go into every chocolate stick log, gummy garden or coconut snowfall but here are a few more pictures to get the idea:

And then of course: my all-time favorite Necco Wafer Roof

And voila!  My Mediocre Merry Masterpiece for 2011….time so start researching for 2012.