Category Archives: Home Decor

Frugal Storage Solution!

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I wonder if there is another word in the English language that excites a girl’s heart like the word, “storage”…well, maybe the word “chocolate”…haha! You get the idea though, we are all suckers for storage. Think of how a woman responds to a walk-in closet. Be still my heart! When we were house hunting two years ago, we toured a house that had a butler’s pantry off the kitchen and, I’m not gonna lie, I could have bought the whole house on that one merit. Never mind the rest of the house was in major need of some work…it had a butler’s pantry! Ah! Thankfully, God had other plans, and although this house has great closets in all of the bedrooms, we have had to come up with some furniture pieces to provide storage solutions elsewhere. I have an old TV cabinet that has a new life as a pantry in my kitchen, and I have a dresser that is now a media cabinet in our living room. For some reason, the drawers of the dresser were always coming off the tracks and there were several times when the drawers seemingly jumped out and became a safety hazard for our little ones. So, we took out the drawers and my husband installed shelves and painted the inside black. This allows all those ugly media components to blend into the background. It was a great solution that has worked well for us. I told my husband to hold on to those drawers because I was sure I could come up with some DIY project for them. I had them stacked in a corner for a long time and my husband staked claim to them to store his tools. However, he has recently been forced to relocate as I have finally found a new purpose for them.

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Recently, we embarked on a new adventure. We started homeschooling. It’s still crazy to think about, especially considering we just dropped this little bombshell of an idea–both on ourselves and our children–right in the middle of the school year. There was not a huge amount of time to prepare and I found myself in desperate need of some storage solutions in our sun-room-turned-classroom. Here is where those old drawers came on to the scene. They have been given a new lease on life as a book shelf for all of our home school books and supplies! It became a really cool project for the boys, and we all worked together to complete it. We took out all the hardware, stacked them one on top of  the other, and screwed them all snugly together. I paid $3 and some change for a 1x3x8 piece of pine, and the boys cut them into pieces to place in the front of the drawer to hold in the books. They had so much fun doing this and they are learning how to be handy. You’re welcome, future daughters-in-law! Haha! I hope you enjoy this little project! God bless! ~Shanna

Pack~Ratting With a Purpose…

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When I first dreamed up the title for this blog, I was going to call it “Channeling the Inner Pack Rat”…but I think that most of us have no trouble channeling our inner pack rat…in fact, if you are anything like me, you spend most of your time and energy suppressing that old rat! Ha! I come from a long line of pack rats…it’s written into my DNA. We are experts when it comes to looking at random items and coming up with infinite possibilities for its usefulness. It’s a talent, really. Not everyone can tap into that level of creativity….

Now, I’m not saying that we should all start hoarding like crazy, but I have one word for you to consider: PINTEREST. Ah, yes, Pinterest has justified many an other wise useless collection of odds and ends. For crying out loud, there are hundreds of pins displaying toilet-paper-roll artwork…and it totally looks legit! Ok, so in all seriousness, I believe that there is definitely something to feng shui and a lot of pointless clutter in your home will certainly clutter your mind and cloud your judgement. At the core of every pack rat is a real issue of poverty mentality. My sister, Starla wrote a really good blog about poverty mentality that is definitely worth reading. You can check that out here:

https://lifefullandfrugal.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/what-is-poverty-really/

So here’s my confessional: I have narrowed down the weird things that are difficult for me to let go of…boxes. Shoe boxes…any kind of boxes. I know, totally weird, right? But man, I fight it when it comes to boxes. Think of the endless craft projects that start with a humble little box! Another serious weakness I have  is…glass. Anyone who has any kind of packrat sensibilities should never, ever have to pay for glass–well, at least not outright. Here is where we will find the focus of this blog…in the wonderful world of free and/or recycled glass. I found my inspiration for endless crafting projects with glass here at marthastewart.com (http://www.marthastewart.com/268444/bottle-beauty) I absolutely fell in love with the beautiful colors and shapes of these re-purposed bottles.0506_msl_bottle_l

So, for the last several months I have been collecting jelly jars. Why throw them out when I can recycle them and make something beautiful and useful out of them? Here is the key to being a successful pack rat with a purpose…not a crazy cluttered candidate for the tv show”Hoarders”:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ~William Morris

If you start collecting ANYTHING, make SURE you have a specific purpose in mind for it or it will just become clutter…which will just end up being a burden rather than a blessing. So, obviously, I had to pay for the jelly, so I bought jelly that happened to be in lovely shaped jars…and it was free of high fructose-corn syrup, imported from Europe and sold at a discount price at Big Lots. =)  And now, instead of adding them to a landfill, they will be little sculptural pops of beauty and color!

So, what now? Well, I love the art of setting a table. In truth, I rarely get the chance to do it, though I love it so much. It seems a little overly-done and fussy for my household of guys. However, on special occasions, I love to make the table a feature of beauty and celebration. Now I will have my recycled jelly jars to place tea lights in, or to use as bud vases. I have some of them displayed in my china cabinet. Use your imagination! Parties! Baby showers! Wedding receptions! You name it. Recycled glass objects really do have a world of opportunities for usefulness.

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Here are some more tips for successful, purposeful pack-ratting:

*A PLAN! Do not just randomly collect junk…have a PURPOSE. Have a PLAN.

*Location, location, location! Have a specific place to store your treasures. Don’t let it take over your house! Out of sight and out of mind is essential. As you collect new treasures, get rid of others that have outlived their usefulness.

*Shopping Savvy: check out buy-out stores like Big Lots (or Odd Lots) for bargains on  jellies, vinegars, oils…anything you NEED for your pantry. Buying staples in containers with dual purpose gives you that much more bang for your buck. Look for containers with interesting shapes and varying heights.

*Collecting Savvy: you can often find bottles for FREE from coffee houses, bars, restaurants, etc. Ask around and often, they will save a few empty bottles for you and give them to you for free. I’m not much of a drinker, but I love so many of the colors/shapes of liquor bottles…people go crazy for the cobalt blue bottles and shades of green. And don’t forget, with a little glass paint, you can have just about any color your heart desires.

*GOO GONE…yes, you read that right. It is an orange oil based product that helps to remove stickers from glass, or any other surface, for that matter. I honestly would have nothing to do with this project without it. There is another product called “Goof Off” which also would probably work well. They also remove paint–even from carpet– which we have discovered to be very useful during renovation projects.

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*Creativity: As always, creativity is a must. I am amazed by the creativity of so many people on Pinterest. If you are not the ‘crafty’ type, it is an endless source of inspiration. Copy a project from Pinterest, use your glass treasures as you find them, or paint a series of them in an ombre effect. Most of all, just have fun! God bless!!!! ~Shanna

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Pinterest Project: Jewelry Frame

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I remember not so long ago asking someone, what the heck is Pinterest?? Haha!!! I tend to be really behind the times, but who can keep up with technology??? By the time I finally get MySpace and Facebook figured out, everyone has moved on to Twitter and Instagram. In truth, my personality will just not allow me to keep up with all the latest and greatest technology has to offer because I am way too easily overwhelmed. It took me forever to finally break down and make my own Pin Board on Pinterest because not only am I easily overwhelmed, I am also extremely easily distracted. I didn’t want to start the whole Pinterest thing and end up with yet another addiction and/or distraction in my life. Thankfully, one of the fruits of the Spirit is self control! Yay! I am learning to partake of the vast and endless beauty and creativity that Pinterest has to offer without allowing it to take over my life. Balance is a beautiful thing and is indeed attainable through the help of Jesus. Good stuff! =)

One thing that I have noticed about Pinterest is that so many people have boards full of recipes they never cook, diet and exercise plans they never use, and crafts they never follow through and create. It is so easy to live out our dreams in cyber space…but how often do we give those dreams legs?? I have a craft board. I have tried to keep it to a minimun and only post projects that I can and will create. So far, I think all of the ones I have pinned are attainable, doable, and affordable. Yay! Creative inspiration AND incentive to follow through!

My first project inspired by Pinterest was a Mid-Century Modern mirror made of wood shims. You can check that out here:

https://lifefullandfrugal.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/decorating-on-the-cheap-mid-century-modern-mirror/

Here is my latest project…a jewelry frame! I love how it’s both a practical storage solution for jewelry with the added benefit of being a stunning piece of mixed media artwork to adorn your wall! I know that there are tons of these on Pinterest, so it’s not like this is ground breaking stuff, but hopefully this blog will serve more as an inspiration for you to put some legs on your dreams and Pin Boards. Happy creating! God bless! ~Shanna

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How to Give Your Room a Classic Pair of Grey Trousers…

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Bow Tie Trouser - Gray il_fullxfull.293721499

…Or maybe a timeless piece like a grey pencil skirt. What do these articles of clothing have to do with home design? Think about the infinite number of color-pairing possibilities these wardrobe staples have to offer. Talk about options! Almost any color palette can be combined with a neutral like grey and it totally works! Anyone from the Boho flower child, to the edgy trendsetter, to the uber-chic business woman can find something in her wardrobe to go with classic pieces like these. They transcend personality, style, and budget making them a useful item for everyone.

Here is where I found the inspiration for our bathroom renovation. My husband and I have continued a tradition that we started in our first home together. Every year, we would choose one room to remodel, or to give a face lift to during the slower winter months at work. Last year, in our new home, we did our guest room. This year, we tackled the boys bathroom downstairs, which also serves as our guest bathroom. Let me just say, this bathroom was in serious–SERIOUS–need of a make-over. From floor to ceiling, it was a hot mess. Popcorn on the ceiling–gross–slaughter house/gates-of-hell red on the walls, a florescent light fixture (no joke…) and dark ceramic tiles made to look like hard wood flooring. Between the oppressive red and the awful lighting, that room honestly just filled me with angst. I can’t help it, I am literally emotionally affected by color and I needed to do something about that room.

The problem is that I love. love, love color…so how am I going to commit to a color palette? Bathrooms are not cheap to renovate and I needed to choose colors that could stand the test of time. The other issue that I had was that the bathtub is cream. In a perfect world, I would love to have a bright white ceramic tub, but we just did not have the money to replace the tub. So, cream was definitely going to have to be a part of the color palette. We did, however, have to replace the toilet (curse low-flow…) and the sink.  I really did not want to replace them with cream, so I decided that any permanent fixtures like these would be white. Now my color palette is cream and white. I have seen this done really well on design shows and in magazines, but this would definitely be a first for me.

Continuing our quest to seek out timeless pieces that would be permanent, we chose a Black Galaxy Granite counter top…definitely an investment piece, but we saved a lot by choosing a remnant. So now the color palette has grown to include black. I really wanted to add a classic touch to the floor and incorporate the black somehow, so we chose a black and white mosaic tile. Our house was built in 1996 and is in serious need of some character. These tiles remind me of an old Victorian home, adding some history and nostalgia to our mid-90’s goodness. We installed the tiles ourselves and somehow managed not to lose our minds while cleaning out 5.6 million 1/8 inch grout lines…haha! We chose polished chrome for the light fixture, faucet and toilet paper holder, but opted for matte black cabinetry hardware. Echoing that, I chose matte black towel hooks hung low enough for the boys (in theory) to be able to hang them. These hooks are installed on what I believe is the star feature of the bathroom. We installed a board and batten treatment to the walls with cheap 1×3 pine boards painted a glossy bright white. The background color is simply named “Cream” from Sherwin Williams. I love the subtle contrast and could not be happier with  how it turned out.

Now for the walls…here’s where those classic grey trousers come into play. I chose a true grey by Olympic called “Secret Passage.” Here is a little tip for choosing the perfect shade of grey that I learned from Sarah Richardson: look at the darkest shade on the color swatch and it will let you know if there is a bluish tint to the grey, or a greenish/khaki tint to that selection of grey. I wanted a true grey that did not spill over into the cool or warm side. I simply looked at the darkest shade to make sure it fit the bill, then chose the lightest shade on the color swatch for my walls. Classic. Timeless. Fabulous. 😉

So, the color palette for all the permanent features of the room now include: cream, white, black and grey…classic, yes, but where’s the color?? Here is where you can take a little more risk and go with something a little more trendy. I chose to use a few punches of yellow which really brightens the room and somehow makes a gray room look so happy! =) =) =) There is just a sprinkling of yellow in the shower curtain, bath mattes and some really yummy soaps displayed in an apothecary jar. Just like a belt, handbag, jewelry or sassy pair of shoes, you can accessorize your room however your style, taste or budget dictates.  The real beauty of it is that all of these items are easily replaced with any other color of your choosing–for not a lot of money–giving it an instant and affordable transformation!

I hope you can see how a trip to your closet can inspire some color and design choices for your home. Here are the end results for our bathroom reno, plus a few bonus options in case the mood strikes for a little change up. May you be inspired! God bless!!!! ~Shanna

Disclaimer #1: The “bonus’ color selections are a little over the top, more to prove a point than to make a design statement. In this rare case, I do believe less is more….

Disclaimer #2: I wrote an article last fall about how I used to be terrified of wearing color and had zero fashion sense. Writing this blog and posting these pictures has been such a humbling experience. I guess you could say I have  rediscovered my own wardrobe, shoes and jewelry. I was struck by the realization of how far Jesus has brought me in my journey to find my beauty and has blessed me with so many lovely things. Thank you, Jesus!

Disclaimer #3: I should never, never ever complain about ‘not having anything to wear’ ever again…I confess I probably only wear about 30% of my clothes…#still a work in progress…..

Christmas Bow How To

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Decorating on the Cheap: Christmas!!!!

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I love Christmas…I mean, I ADORE IT!!!! I love celebrating the birth of my Savior and I love all the shimmer, bling, tinsel and lights that come with it. I could spend a fortune on Christmas decor…if I had it to spend. My heart comes alive just walking up and down the aisles of the Christmas section in stores. There is something about all of the colors and the sparkle and shine that sends me back to childhood when Christmas was still magical. It is, in my humble opinion, a little glimpse, a little foreshadowing of the glory of heaven. All the transcendent beauty associated with this season is a little peak into the eternal.

So, how do you create a magical ambiance on a limited budget in celebration of Jesus’ birthday? Here are a few tips to get the look and magical feeling you want without breaking the bank:

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#1.) Lights, lights…and more lights!!!!–If you can’t afford to do anything else to prepare your home for this season, just drape Christmas lights over anything that doesn’t move. It is absolutely the most cost effective and impactful way to create a magical glow in your home. The soft glow of Christmas lights provides the most magical effect. You can get them anywhere and almost all stores put them on sale at some point. Buy low and stock up!

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#2.) Ribbon! I bought 50 yards of the most stunning ribbon for $6 the other day. Ribbon can be draped, you can use it as garland, you can make big, lovely bows…the possibilities are endless. Think about the cost per linear foot and the options you have…that is a lot of bang for your buck! I will also be posting a tutorial to show you how to make a really lovely bow that can be used to top your tree, add to garland or to add that finishing touch to your packages.

IMG_0227#3.) Wrapping Paper! There are so many possibilities with wrapping paper, beyond wrapping presents. Use it to line the back of shelves for a seasonal change and festive impact. Place a lovely wrapping paper into a frame and mount it on the wall. Use it as a table runner. Wrap your front door. Again, lots of possibilities, lots of square footage, for not a lot of money. I have a kind of unique (aka awkward) feature in my living room. It’s a window with a little landing in front that is about 15 feet up. Since we moved in about a year ago, it has been a real head scratcher trying to figure out what to do with it, but I knew that I wanted to do something cool with it for Christmas. I needed something big and sculptural, but I had like no money to go buy anything, so I just wrapped a bunch of empty boxes, put some bows on them, added lights and a few ornaments and voila! The magic of Christmas!

IMG_0199#4.) Beads! I like to use beads as garland on my tree, but it is always such a pain in hiney to try and unravel them…I nearly lost my mind one year so I decided from that point on, I would throw the tangled mass into a bowl, drape some over the side and call it a day…and it is stunning!

IMG_0205#5.) Garland! Ok, so if I had my way, I would drape garland from every corner, on every surface of my home. I love it so much, but it is kind of pricey. I actually bought some cheap ones, but they look…cheap, you know? However, even the cheap ones can look good if used properly. I piled them on top of my armoire (which serves as my pantry) and my china cabinet. They’re up high, so it’s not like it’s in your face. You see less of the cheaper material and more of the evergreen colors and texture. Dress them up with more beads, Christmas ornaments, or even pine cones  Of course, if you have it in your budget, go for the more authentic looking ones and just catch them on sale. If you are really ambitious and have some evergreens in your back yard, you could make your own. Of course, the best time to buy any Christmas decor is actually right after Christmas when it is usually marked way down as the stores are trying to get rid of it.

#6.) Fabric! This is yet another item that comes in yardage, so you can get a lot of use out of it.  You can catch it on sale, check out the remnant bins, or just buy a small piece for a little added detail. Recover pillows with seasonal fabric. Drape some on the wall…like I did. It actually serves two purposes. It adds pattern and color to my wall, but more importantly, it covers some pretty big holes in the wall left by the former owners when they removed their ginormous tv. We don’t know what we want to do with that wall yet and we don’t have the funds. My dream is to do built-in’s…but for right now, I’ll just stick with my drapey fabric! =)

IMG_0195#7.) Ornaments! Even the cheapest Christmas ornaments from your local dollar store can be beautiful. My philosophy on ornaments has always been more is more. I love to load down my tree and I feel like abundance is always a good idea at Christmas. The trick is to cover that tree with a ton of your cheaper ornaments, then add a few key, nicer ones in prominent places so that they are the featured pop of color, sparkle and bling on your tree. The other trick to keep in mind with cheap(ish) ornaments is that you can always place them in a bowl and it makes a really lovely vignette. You can also string them up in a window like little pieces of jewelry…lovely!

#8.) Nature! Take advantage of God’s free gifts of natural elements…sticks, pine cones, ivy, even rocks can be painted with festive scenes…and if  you have all this available to you in your back yard, it’s free!

016#9.) Make an Ugly Duckling a Swan! I have a really ugly light fixture in my dining room…it’s really just not my taste, but I decided to give it an overhaul for Christmas. It looks like an up-side-down Christmas tree anyway, so that is exactly how I treated it. I really like how it turned out. Another ugly duckling transformation I was able to pull off was with some pretty sad looking silk flowers. Several years ago I bought some poinsettias from a dollar store and after years of being stuffed in a storage bin, they were looking pretty pathetic. I had to perform a little surgery on them by removing the flowers from the stems and then placed them in clear glass containers. It really gave them new life and purpose and they look FAB.

IMG_0223#10.) Work with what you have! Use pitchers, serving bowls and trays, break out your china and display it in a festive manner dressed up with Christmas trimmings. Remember, more is more. If you have any dishes or stuff from your wedding packed away collecting dust, bring it out and use it!

The last tip I want to share with you is to just relax and have fun decorating your home and don’t forget the reason for this season. I love this time of year, but I know for some, it can be very painful. I think that adding some Christmas cheer to your home can be a healing ointment for an aching heart. Don’t despair and don’t lose heart. Think about how Jesus came down from heaven to make his dwelling among us, to live a stunningly beautiful life for us to follow and imitate, and how he gave up his life for YOU! For me! It is a breathtakingly majestic story…all for us. Even more, Jesus rose from the grave on the third day and was ascended to heaven after he reappeared to his dear friends and disciples. I think we miss out on this part of the story a lot…his resurrection and ascension is the fullness of his power and a reflection of what he wants to do in our lives. He wants to resurrect our broken hearts, heal all the wounded places in our lives, and raise us up to reflect his image through his ascension power. That is stunning. His birth, his life, his death and most of all his resurrected life is worth celebrating. Have fun decorating your home. Play Christmas music. Watch It’s a Wonderful LIfe or White Christmas while you’re decorating. Let your heart be glad and blessed. Merry Christmas!!!! ~Shanna

A Wool-Top Quilt: The Finished Product

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I wanted to share with you guys that I have finally finished my wool-top quilt! It ended up being more of a late summer/early fall project, rather than a winter project last year. With all of the random pieces of fabric, it was a real challenge to come up with any kind of pattern that made sense. After much thought, arranging and rearranging, I think I came up with something that looks pretty good. And imagine, the entire top is made up of old skirts, jackets, pants and suit coats! Try it for yourselves!

-Sierra

Decorating on the Cheap: Mid-Century Modern Mirror

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Decorating on the Cheap: Mid-Century Modern Mirror

I am always telling my boys what I want to be when I grow up…which is hilarious because their response is always one of bewilderment. It’s so funny to watch their faces and their confused reply is always, “But you ARE all grown’ed up, mama!” haha!!!! I have a myriad of future occupations reserved for whenever I reach that illusive state of being “all grown’ed up”, but the one I tease my boys with the most is being a designer. I love to create. It fills my heart to the brim to work hard and give birth to something beautiful. I am especially fond of taking a bunch of nothing’s and turning them into something that will dazzle the eyes and inspire the imagination. Having a huge bank account affords you the luxury of buying whatever you want for your home…which is not a bad deal, I must say. I’m glad there are people on this earth who are able to do so. But what about the rest of us? Beauty is for everyone! Look at how God showers us with majestic, breath-taking beauty in nature! If you are willing to think outside the box, use a little elbow grease and get your hands dirty, you too can add luxurious accents to your home on a humble budget.

I have been in the market for a sunburst mirror for a while now. I needed something to fill the void above the bed in my guest room and I thought a mirror would be the perfect piece of jewelry for that space. I have actually been ‘visiting’ a mirror in Hobby Lobby that is really stunning, but it costs $200…yikes! I went to visit that same mirror last week and they had marked it down by 50%…let me just say, I think that is a pretty good deal, but I still couldn’t justify that cost. Besides that, I have seen so many of these same types of mirrors on Pinterest and HGTV, and I really wanted to try making one for myself. I think the hardest part for me was narrowing down what materials I would use. I was really inspired by the wedge shapes of some mid-century modern style mirrors, so what came to mind was…wood shims! Wood shims are used to “plum” a window or a door during installation. That was my jumping off point and I knew I could transform these humble little objects into something special. I ended up spending right at $27.83 for the entire project. Here’s how I did it. I hope this inspires you to take on a project that will make your heart come alive and add some beauty and sparkle to your home. God bless! ~ Shanna

Bought Materials:

1/4 inch 24″x24″ birch board-$4.58 at Lowe’s

Bronze spray paint-$5.98 at Lowe’s

Mirror Mastic-$4.88 at Lowe’s (this is a special kind of glue used for mirrors.)

Wood Shims-5 packs of 14 @ $1.48 each-$7.40 at Lowe’s

Beveled Candle Mirror-8 inch. diameter-$4.99 at Hobby Lobby (so frustrated with myself…should have gotten this from Dollar Tree for $1!)

Materials I had on hand:

Reciprocating saw (or you could use a band saw)

sand paper

wood glue

staples/stapler

glue gun

***CREATIVITY =) =) =)

Decorating on the Cheap: Sheets? Curtains?? YES!!!!

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When we moved into our house last November, one of the things that most excited my heart was the fact that I now had a guest room. When you have family traveling 1000 miles for a visit, that is a definite bonus! It also really got the creativity flowing through my veins because a guest room provides the perfect opportunity for a departure from the ordinary. Conservative design flies out the window leaving room for fresh and funky with a little kick of eclectic. Of course, when one moves into a new home, the first thing a woman wants to do is to put her own mark on her new home. I really had to kind of calm my anticipation because the most important ingredient in frugality is most assuredly time…and lots of it. For me, it has been about 8 months, during which time I have been slowly but steadily collecting treasures to transform my blank box of a room into a warm, inviting place of respite for my loved ones.

The first things that I started collecting were magazines. I really needed some inspiration…some direction for this blank canvas of an empty room. As my frugal-savvy sisters have shared in the past, you can get magazines from thrift stores, junk shops, garage sales and we have found, when you put the word out, people just give them to you! So, I got my hands on a GEM of a magazine…it was the COLOR issue from the editor’s of Fresh Home Magazine…and there it was, my inspiration!  It’s actually a living room design but I absolutely loved the traditional architecture of the room with its crown moldings and trims. I love, love, love the color…I’m obsessed with blue. I love the juxtaposition of traditional French chairs and the modern silhouette of the couch. I love the clean, white lines of the pottery and lamp. I really loved how the curtains lent a real freshness to the room with the citrusy green popping off of the crisp, white background. I really honed in on those drapes. This would be my jumping off point.

 

I knew that this would not be an easy task. The drapes in my inspiration room are floor-to-ceiling custom drapes…$$$ So, I was off to every fabric source in my area and it was then that I had a cold dose of reality. Fabric is expensive…like, wow. The other problem was that I was finding a lot of olive green with a cream or beige background…not what I was wanting at all. I had just about decided to either give up or settle for something that was less than stellar and not what I really wanted…..

If I may interject here, this is a definite trait of poverty mentality. You settle for less because you have resigned to, “well, this is as good as it gets” …in an almost Eeyore-like tone in your mind. Don’t go there! Do not give in to the spirit of resignation! God knows the desires of your heart!

“7. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11. If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-11

You see? It’s true! God knows the desires of your heart and He cares deeply about everything from the smallest details of your life, such as finding new makeup or shoes, magazines for inspiration or fabric for curtains. He cares just as much about the minutia of our lives as the big, life-changing stuff like moving to a new home, finding a job or meeting the right  person to spend the rest of your life with. Whatever you are seeking, from the colossal to the minuscule, Abba Father cares!

Ok, so, back to my curtains. This is how my Abba blessed me. I was browsing the home goods aisle in TJ Maxx one day, when I came across these amazing sheets. There were 2 sets of full sized sheets with a lime green background with a funky white  pattern. The other set that caught my eye was a pale green queen set by Kate Spade. Granted, these were not an exact match, but they were exactly what I needed to mimic the fresh feeling of my inspiration room. All 3 sets cost around $130, BUT I got so much bang for my buck! I used the two flat sheets from the patterned set for one window. I absolutely love using curtain rings with gator clips because there is no sewing involved. So easy! I then cut the queen flat sheet in half to make 2 panels for the french doors at the entrance of the room. I really wanted to add some of the patterned fabric to the solid panels…this part was a little challenging, but I had so much fun. Even with a huge learning curve! ha! I took one of the fitted patterned sheets and ripped the entire seeming that held the elastic in place. I then cut it in half and attached a patterned border to the solid drapes. My grandmother let me use her sewing machine and I definitely think that I will be praying about getting my own machine in the future. Let me tell you, this was way outside my comfort zone, but I so enjoyed the opportunity to stretch and grow and use my creativity. Here is the end result. I hope you are encouraged and inspired! God Bless!!!!  ~Shanna

Decorating on the Cheap: Throw Pillows

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An honest discussion about….throw pillows.

Yes, throw pillows. We love them, don’t we? In a living room setting, they are the perfect, non-committal mode of adding punches of color, pattern and texture to an otherwise neutral color palette. In the bedroom, they add depth, richness and inviting comfort to our bedding. They provide the perfect opportunity to make a statement about one’s design aesthetic.

However, I have two gripes about throw pillows…the first being, what do you do when you try to find a seat on a couch loaded down with throw pillows? You do just what their name implies…you throw them! When you make your bed (or in my case, “if”) you spend all that time arranging them just so…then what are you going to do that night when you crawl up in that bed?? You’re gonna throw them!

My second gripe is that they can be ridiculously expensive! I have seen throw pillows for as much as $70 to $100…for a pillow!!!! Can you believe that??? I love the design statement that a throw pillow can add to a room, but not everyone has that kind of cash laying around. I certainly don’t, and even if I did, I would have a hard time justifying that kind of cost.

So what is the frugal solution for throw pillows?

Well, I guess my first complaint was more about the amount of throw pillows. It is entirely possible to find affordable solutions, you just have to be willing to hunt for deals. Then when you find what you like, just add one or two pillows and don’t go overboard. Sometimes less is more…then you’re left with more money in your pocket for other decor.

The other solution is to work with what you have. The furniture I have right now was a gift from my mother-in-law when I graduated from college. I am still so very humbled by her generosity. When my furniture was purchased, it came with eight pillows…eight rather large pillows….again! so many!  Because our living room in our old house was so small, we ended up getting two love seats which made it even more crowded. Most of those pillows were banished to a closet and forgotten…but I held on to them for almost seven years because I knew that one day they would serve a purpose.

So, when we moved into our new house, we arranged our brown furniture in our beige living room and I was lost in a sea of neutrals. I love color so something HAD to be done. Out came the throw pillows! But again, they were all neutral, so I went to Hobby Lobby to check out their fabrics. I was able to purchase two really lovely printed fabrics which were on sale for 30% off.

Let me just say, I am no seamstress, but I am an excellent gift wrapper. This was right around Christmas, so I had plenty of practice, so I just wrapped my throw pillows with fabric and held it in place with safety pins. Voila! Instant color and pattern! =) So if you have old pillows, give them new life with fabrics that express your style. Check out the remnants and keep an eye out for sales.

The last thing you might consider is a bit of a departure, but you can still achieve the same statement without breaking the bank. The whole point of a throw pillow is to add a a punch of color, right? So what I did was to mimic the color and pattern of some pillows I could not afford on canvas. Obviously, this requires a little d.i.y. but I promise, it is so easy. I really love ikat patterns and chevrons and stripes are so trendy right now. The ikat was achieved with a really simple dry-brush technique and the chevron and stripes were achieved simply with painter’s tape. Ok, so I admit, you can’t exactly cuddle up with a canvas, but you’ll still get the look you would if you went out and bought those pillows…and I really just needed some color!

So, as you can see, adding your personality and style to a room frugally is entirely possible and a worthy adventure. I hope this inspires you to pursue the things that make your heart come alive. God created us in His image and one of the ways we reflect His image is through our creativity. I think doing so frugally stretches us and makes the victory of a completed project even sweeter! God bless!!!!

~Shanna