Frugal Friday~

Hello all! Welcome to this week's edition of Frugal Friday. So what am I talking about today?

Repurposing dresser drawers.

As I was driving down the street about a week ago, someone was throwing out what I could tell used to be a lovely old dresser. But it was trashed. And I mean trashed. Half of the drawers were missing and the two that were left looked a little worse for the wear.

"What a waste," I thought as I drove by.

Now this is a street that I drive down often. And a few days later, the dresser was still there. But this time I had a flash of inspiration. I pulled over and looked at the two remaining drawers. They were actually in pretty decent condition aside from the pulls which were falling off. So I pulled the drawers out...with a LOT of effort...and loaded them in my car. I have only finished one of them so far, but I couldn't wait to share.

Here is the first drawer before I set to work on it. I could see its potential. Pretty details...excellent craftsmanship!

I started by removing the hardware (which had been replaced, and really wasn't in fitting with the style of the dresser). Whoever replaced the hardware had filled the old holes with putty - and didn't do a very good job at it. So after I took off the handles, I used the screwdriver to scrape the putty out of the original holes.

Then I gave the whole drawer - inside and out - a coat of Nantucket White paint by Ralph Lauren. I only used one coat because I wanted the drawer to look old and used. I even left the holes which the new hardware had made.

The drawer had this wonderful keyhole on the front. I painted lightly over it and then used a sanding block to gently rub away bits of the paint. Isn't it gorgeous??

Then rather than adding handles - I strung some black and white check ribbon through the holes. An idea I shared here. I'm still debating whether or not to add casters to the bottom, although I think I will probably leave it as is.

So, my dear readers, what would you do with this little beauty? To see what I did, you'll have to come back next week. (I know, I'm so cruel to make you wait...)

Edited to add...here's what I ended up doing...

Linking to DIY day at ASPTL~


Last Minute Halloween Project~

I remember as a child loving the fact that I had a dedicated Trick-or-Treat bag to use when I canvassed the neighborhood on All Hallow's Eve in search of sugary treasures. Now, I have nothing against those plastic pumpkins that so many tiny goblins use to stash their goodies. In fact, that's what my kiddos have used in the past. But this year, I thought it would be nice to give them their own Trick-or-Treat bags.

Three of my four kiddos were sick yesterday, so I thought this might be a good project to entertain them, since they had to do little more than sit around and watch mom. The Princess did help me by playing "Vanna" and displaying our supplies for you.

First thing needed...designs to put on the bags. I found the three sweet vintage images on The Graphics Fairy blog (so many great images there)! Mr. One wanted something more spooky, so we found a free skull and crossbones clip art to use for his bag.

Second...you will need to get some photo transfer paper. My favorite brand (because it works the best of all the brands I've tried - hands down) is Avery. Simply print the images on the transfer paper with your ink jet printer. Just remember if your image has text on it, you will need to reverse the image first. (notice the "Trick or Treat" graphic third from the left.)

Finally, you will need a canvas tote bag. These can be purchased inexpensively at your local craft store.
Then just follow the instructions you find on the transfer paper box. That's it. Easy peasy.

The fun thing about this project is that the bags are one of a kind! And with the different designs for each kiddo, there won't be any fighting over whose candy is whose. Hooray for that !

Have a great Wednesday~



Photo from News-Antiques.com

I have had some readers asking about Ironstone China. Although I don't pretend to be an expert on Ironstone, I do love it. Especially White Ironstone.

Last year, I found this lovely White Ironstone soup tureen at my town tag sale for a steal at only $5. But did you know that White Ironstone is only one type of Ironstone?


Ironstone was first developed as a less expensive alternative to costly bone china and fine porcelain. The Ironstone that we are familiar with today was first patented by Charles James Mason in1813 in Staffordshire, England.

Photo from One of a Kind Antiques

Ironstone is made of white clay with pulverized flint or feldspar and slag left over from iron-smelting. These additives resulted in a strong and durable product that was difficult to chip. After 1827 when Mason's patent ended, many other potters began making Ironstone. The Ironstone was decorating with transfer patterns (especially the popular blue willow) or painted designs. The plain white pieces that we love so much were not common in England, as they were mostly produced for export. In the 1840's these plain pieces were exported to the US and Canada where they were valued for the fact that they were plain, unfussy, and durable.

Photo from Ruby Lane

Backstamps can help to identify the age and manufacturer of a given piece of Ironstone, which in turn help to attach a value. Value is also based on rarity and condition of a particular piece. A quick search of the internet yields many sources for collectors to help them identify the approximate age, manufacturers and value of various pieces.

Here are some links to interesting Ironstone information (try saying that three times fast.)

Have a great Tuesday~


Frugal Friday~

With only one week left to go until Halloween (I don't know about you, but these things just seem to come around faster every year) I thought I'd share a few more inexpensive Halloween/Autumn decor ideas.

First up, this sweet candy corn garland. I posted about the ins and outs of making one of these babies here. But Ms. Susie has a great tutorial here. Just know that your fingers will be VERY sticky by the time you are done making this...of course, it really looks festive hanging on a chandelier, so it's worth it.

Next up, my literary pumpkin. Again, this is an idea from my archives that I posted about here. I just love these little guys. I am NOT into gory Halloween decor, so this happy fellow fits the bill just fine. Remove the construction paper face after the holiday, and you have a unique sculptural piece for the bookcase!

And finally, the beauty of autumn flora. Cut some autumn berries and place them in a clear pitcher of water. So simple, but 100% autumn.

I love, love, love this idea. Nestle some sugar pumpkins in a basket with dried hydrangea. Unexpectedly gorgeous!

And you can liven up your window boxes/baskets by stuffing them with seasonal gourds and fall leaves. Here's a little hint: fake leaves from the dollar store look realistic from a distance, keep their color even in the rain, and don't dry out and get crunchy.

Have a great weekend~


Tablescapes and Modern Art~

I received a package in the mail from Sarah at A Beach Cottage containing some lovely place mats and napkins that I won in a giveaway. They were so pretty that I felt inspired to set the table for a festive fall dinner.

The mix of patterns and textures gave interest to the neutral color scheme.

The place mats rolled and tied with a bit of twine created a casual feel.

Mismatched silverware is perfect for casual entertaining (of course, at my house, I'm lucky to have enough silverware to go around with two little boys that love to stuff it down heating vents....I have to clean them out every week or so...)

And one of my favorite place card ideas...this is just a piece of kraft paper torn against a straight edge and nestled in the prongs of a fork. So simple....casually elegant.

And on the menu...a perfect fall meal...beef stew and muffins with cinnamon streusel topping. One of my sharp eyed readers is going to mention the fact that there are no bowls on the table. I prefer to bring bowls to the table already filled...prevents spills from messing up the pretty linens.

Bon appetit!!

And finally, as I was trying to get mounds of laundry folded yesterday, I noticed that it was quiet. Too quiet. Because I have the toddler demolition team still at home during the days, I knew that a quiet house couldn't be good. So I hurried to the kitchen and found a very proud Mr. Two (4 years old) who showed me his latest "sculpture". Yes, he did call it a sculpture. I had to immortalize it here on the old blog. (Although I am now out of tin foil.) That little kid is going to be famous one day!

EDITED TO ADD: Apartment Therapy featured The Shabby Nest and The Frugal Friday Linky Party yesterday. Here's the link!

Have a great Wednesday~


A Place of Her Own~

Do you have a place you can call your own? I don't mean your house...or even your bedroom. I mean YOUR place. The spot where you can go to escape the world. Where you can create. Where you can daydream. Where you can stash your creative supplies...your books...your magazines. Whatever it is that feeds your muse. (Or just helps you relax.) Do you have that spot?

This chair is the closest thing I have to a space for me...in my whole house. Sad, but true. (Good reading light, though, and very comfy so I can't complain about that!)
But this girl has dreams. I have dreams of an office/studio all my own. Where I can close the doors and be alone with the part of me who designs and creates and dreams.

Someday I'm going to have that space. But for now, with 4 kiddos and three bedrooms, that space IS just a dream.

I've been thinking of creating a studio of sorts out of an old armoire. Painting it a happy color...a robin's egg blue or a crisp, clean white. Outfitting it with cubbies and storage and desk space. I think that an old armoire might be just the solution I'm searching for in my not quite palatial surroundings.
And so, my dear readers, do you have a space all your own? Do you have any ideas for creating a space all your own where no space exists? Tell me what you think...
Have a great Tuesday~


Linky Party Round Up~

First, a great big thank you to all you Frugalistas who joined the Frugal Friday Linky Party and shared your frugal know-how!! I am always so impressed with the great ideas and frugal finds that you all come up with.

If you didn't have a chance to click through all the great posts...here are some of the highlights...

Sariah at Enchantresses 3 shared a stunning china cabinet makeover. I'm still drooling over this one!

Holly at Holly's Haven shared a fabulously clever idea for turning an old door in to a jewelry organizer!

You all know how I love me some numbers!! Karen at the Graphics Fairy shared a fantastic tutorial on creating these numbered tile coasters. I just love them!

And because I can't pass up a great chalkboard idea...check out this ornate mirror turned chalkboard at Miss Mustard Seed.

Finally, a super quick and easy idea to spruce up a flower vase at Isabella and Max Rooms!

These great projects are just the tip of the iceberg! If you haven't had a chance to look through all the posts from Friday's party, do yourself a favor and take a minute (or ten or twenty) and do it now!!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again....my readers ROCK!!!

Have a great Monday~


Dressing my nest~

There is a lot of truth to the assumption that we dress our homes in much the same way as we dress ourselves. I have always loved neutrals. I graduated with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. I remember one specific class in college where we were discussing colors, and focusing, in particular on "neutral" colors. One of the girls in my class made a comment about how she loved all of the neutral colors in my wardrobe. I had never really noticed until that moment just how drawn to neutrals I am. Whites, beiges, tans, grays, blacks.

And now, a couple of years later (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it), my house is dressed in neutrals as well.

Of course, I do like to throw in a pop of color here and there. Take these fun shoes, for example. A girl's gotta love a red pair of shoes. And these sweet little things were made extra special by the fact that they were on extreme clearance at one of my favorite stores. (Tar-jay to be exact). So home they came.

And that brings me to the remainder of my story. I just love the ruffle and button detail on these shoes. I mean really love it. And I began to wonder how it might translate into a pillow. (Because no matter how I try to focus on other things...my mind always comes back eventually to home decor.) So this is what I came up with.

How I love this pillow. A little less feminine than the shoes, but still with a ruffle and a button. AND made from men's suiting fabric - that's my favorite part - so that it's a little bit masculine as well. Ah, sweet success. Can a person love a pillow? Well, I think I'm in love with this one. If you like it as well, it's listed now in my Etsy.

And to think, it's all because I decided that I had to add a little pop of color to my neutral wardrobe. Do you decorate like you dress?

Don't forget tomorrow is the Frugal Friday Linky Party. For you night owls, MckLinky will go up tonight at midnight EST. Can't wait to see what you all have up your sleeve this time!!!

Have a great Thursday~


Melts my heart~

I was having one of those days...and then as I was pulling the papers out of the Princess' backpack, I came across this sweet page. (I especially love the spelling...they encourage phonetic spelling at her school.)

Aside from the fact that the paper is titled "Growing OLD" (ahem), everything about it made me smile. And the likeness is uncanny, don't you think?

Don't forget the Frugal Friday Linky Party here on Friday!! Can't wait to see all the Frugal OCD (Obsessively Consumed with Decorating) goodness!

Have a great day~


Decorating Dilemma and a winner~

Hello my dear readers!

I hope you all are enjoying this long weekend! It certainly is nice to have the kiddos home for a day and not have to worry about timelines and busses and fussing! But today, I do have a dilemma. A dilemma of the decorating kind.
This is my living room. Although this photo was taken last year, the room remains basically the same. And it is up for a redo. Yep! I'm sick of the living room. Of course, since I suffer from a severe case of frugal OCD (obsessively consumed with decorating) that shouldn't come as a surpise. The living room redo will probably take a while to complete, but in the meantime, as you can see in the photo... something is missing. Anyone care to guess what it is? Somewhere to set your book, or your glass, or your (gasp!) feet. This room is in dire need of a coffee table.
This is where my dilemma lies. I've been in the market for a coffee table for some time. I've been waffling back and forth about what kind of table to get...

Perhaps an ottoman? Nice and soft for little kiddos. Great extra seating in a pinch. But you really have to have a tray if you want to set food or drink down on it (not that we have food or drink in the living room often, but it does happen.)

Or perhaps a round table. I really like this idea. No corners to bump your shins on. A great shape for a family to play games around. They do take up quite a bit of space, however, and my room isn't THAT big.

A trunk is a good idea. This piece is already in my space. But as you can see it sits against the wall. I worry that it might be a little small though.
Something unique. A little cottagy, but with a touch of urban sophistication. Painted preferably, but an unexpected finish would be good too. I've got a very stylish friend who made a large coffee table with a galvanized top. It's awesome. Hmmmmmmmm....do you see my dilemma? So readers...any great ideas? I'm open to suggestions.

And just so you all know I haven't forgotten, the winner of the lovely necklace from Pampering Beki is Amanda at Tin Roof Junkie! Congratulations Amanda! Drop me an email and we'll get you all set up!!
And don't forget the Frugal Friday Linky Party here on Friday!!! Get your Frugal OCD posts ready to go!!
Have a great Monday~



Don't remember where I found this quote, but I loved it so much, I wanted to share it with you all...

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Have a lovely weekend~


Frugal Friday~

Remember the little party platter that I showed you in the post about the Hubby's 40th birthday bash?

It was inspired by this lovely from Pottery Barn.

Image from Pottery Barn
Yeah, I still think theirs is prettier, but in an effort to save $$$ I decided to try my hand at making one. So I ran over to my local big box hardware store (the one that rhymes with Foam Repo) and bought me some duct work. One of the very nice employees came over to see if I needed help as I walked up and down the aisle repeatedly. When I told him I wasn't buying the duct work for my home and that I'd know what I needed when I saw it, he eyed me warily but smiled and walked off looking back over his shoulder a few times.

In any case, I bought me a couple of end caps (they have varying sizes, so you can actually create a 3-tiered platter like the one in the photo) and one connecting piece. I brought them home not having a clue how I was going to connect them.

I doubted hot glue would do the trick, but I decided to try it first anyway. And I'm glad I did...I'll tell you why in a minute. I started by using the hot glue on both inside rims of the connecting piece to build a "lip". After it was dry, I tried to glue the lip to the bottom of the smaller cap and the inside of the larger cap. It worked, and it actually held pretty well, but after a while of reaching in to get candy out, the glue gave way and it came apart.

So my suggestion is epoxy. It generally works better on things like this than hot glue does. But building a hot glue "lip" up on the inside of the connecting pieces will help give the epoxy a larger area to adhere to. So, in the end, the hot glue is a good idea. Of course, there are probably those of you out there who have an even better way of connecting the pieces (and if so, please leave me a comment...I'm always open to improvements).

But after all is said and done I have a smaller version of the party platter for about 1/5 the price. Hooray for duct work!!

It's about that time again! Next Friday is another Frugal Friday Linky Party! Get your frugal OCD* projects ready, and let's meet up here next Friday and share the goodness! I can't wait!!
*Obsessively Consumed with Decorating.

And if you haven't had a chance, don't forget to hop over to my sister's blog and enter her 1-year blogiversary giveaway!

Have a great weekend~


Monogram much?~

A dear friend of mine needed some special gifts. She wanted something personal. She knew I made necklaces, and she came to me asking if I would be willing to make two personal, unique but classic necklaces. She basically gave me free reign to do what I wanted. WOW. I thought that my drawings might be a little more whimsical than the situation called for. So after a bit of deliberation, I asked her to give me the initials of each of the lovely ladies she was gifting.

This is what I came up with. Vintage ledger paper, slightly enlarged to make it a bit abstract, a faux freshwater pearl, and a MONOGRAM, of course. I think they turned out simply lovely. So lovely, in fact, that I've listed them in my Etsy store. (Great Christmas gift alert!)

And a little fall foliage for good measure!

My sister Holly is celebrating her 1 year blogiversary today! She is giving away some darling posy pins. Bop on over to her blog and enter to win!!! Happy bloggy birthday L'il sis!!

And speaking of giveaways...if you haven't entered the drawing for the lovely necklace from Pampering Beki, scroll down to yesterday's post and do it! You have until tonight at 11:59 pm EST.

Have a great Thursday~


A Subtle Autumn~

I love Autumn. It is my favorite season by a long shot! New England IS Autumn. The foliage is just starting to explode with color where we live...it's breathtaking.

But this year I decided to be a bit more subtle with Autumn and Halloween decor in my home. I really like what I've done. It definitely says "autumn" but doesn't scream it...here's a little look-see!

I adore white pumpkins...this little guy sits on top of my vintage scale in the kitchen.

My kitchen shelves are kind of like an "I spy" game. The pumpkin on the stack of plates, and the "eek" letters on the cakestand are fun surprises that add some Autumn-y goodness.

To autumn-ize my dining centerpiece I simply switched out the footed bowl and orb, for a bright orange pumpkin (fake of course!)
I left the table linens form the hubby's party on the dining table because they look so rustic and warm...two words which definitely define "Autumn"for me.

This little pumpkin tassel adds a touch of fall to my green buffet.

Faux pears and acorns fill an apothecary jar.

My Halloween pixies from last year are making an encore appearance.

A close-up of the cute tag letting people know who my little visitors are.

Another colorful pumpkin makes itself at home in the laundry room.

This little chalkboard plaque welcomes Autumn (in French, of course!) as it hangs from a nail on my kitchen chalkboard...autumn garland stuffed in above adds a little color.

Okay, this little guy definitely screams Halloween...but I just love these little papier mache sculptures...I can't pass them up!
This "boo" garland adds a little whimsy without being overpowering.

And because I have a nine-year-old boy in my house who LOVES Halloween, this scary guy has come to visit too...I actually don't mind him so much under glass...he seems very "Martha" like that...don't you think?

Have a great Tuesday~