Thursday, February 25, 2010

Buy It as You Find It

Look at this thing! I put Baker next to it in the picture to show how enormous it is.

Why am I so excited about a gigantic bulletin board covered in scribbles?? Let me explain....

Whenever we decide to do a project around the house, I plan it forever. I draw it up in my mind, and on paper a million times. I dwell on the details. Usually, there is a long time between the initial idea, and the actual project. I like to have all my supplies ready before we begin. I collect it all as I find it. (to be honest, I am always collecting fabric and furniture).

I do this for several reasons.
-I don't want to make a quick decision that I will later regret.
-I like to "gather" things over time. I don't want everything to match like a perfect set.
-It spreads out, and lowers, the expense.

I love vintage things. (A nice word for old, used, and cheap). I also love a very, very good deal. I am convinced you can find almost anything you need at a great price if you are patient. That's not to say I don't splurge. I'll tell you about one of those in a moment.

A good example is my son's room. I knew exactly what I wanted. I shopped periodically for a year to get it all together. I still love it - even though he tells me daily it is no longer cool. The "cool" room is now under construction in my head.

My husband did all the building- and, yes, I know how lucky I am.

It all started with the collection of pencil sketches I found. They are all different breeds of dogs, in various poses.

I found all the frames in a box of junk at the flea market. I paid around $1 for each of them. Most of the mats are stock sizes, but the others I had cut at a local frame shop that is very reasonable. I asked them to use mat they would otherwise throw away - because I knew I was going to paint it....

I painted it all black. I used paint and some stain to age and distress them a bit.

It all went pretty much the same from there. I would find something I thought was wonderful, my husband would roll his eyes at me and mutter a few things that included the word 'junk'.

Here is a quick rundown of my year long treasure hunt.

=The other prints are from an antique book found at the flea market. The frames are from Wal-Mart, stained red.
=The stool is from a thrift store - I used $1 fabric from Wal- Mart to cover it.
=Light fixture and shade, $7 together from the flea market. I painted the light black.
=Ceiling fixture- stock outdoor light from Lowes $25.
=Bone shaped pillow was meant to be a dog toy. $7=Bedcover is fabric from a clearance bin. $17 total.
=I painted a faux finish in a bathroom for a seamstress in exchange for the tan pillows and curtains.
The splurge I mentioned earlier?? The 2 wool hooked pillows with the dogs. They are from Chandler 4 Corners. My husband would divorce me if he knew what I paid for them. Really. It was bad. But, I figured I was saving so much money on everything else...

= Chair - garage sale $15
= Pillow $7 at a craft fair
= laundry basket $6 @ Dollar General
= Please ignore the big spot of unpainted plaster. It is not a decorative touch. We accidentally knocked a hole in the wall while removing the cast iron tub from our bathroom just opposite this wall.

- Desk Chair - free from my mom
= Memo board - made from $10 Flea market frame, leftover fabric, and wooden buttons.
= Desk Lamp - $9 Flea Market
= All the things on the shelf came from random places. I know I bought the Milkbone tin at me neighbor's garage sale for .50 cents. Most of the others came from the flea market.
=The baskets came from Dollar General, at $1 - $3 each.
= black Leather 'E' Marshall's $8.

These lab hooks were $3.50 each @ Hobby Lobby.

I thought the buttons on the drapes made it a little less formal, more childlike. am so glad I was able to have a real professional make these. It was a rare treat. And, since this is the window that my kids use to see if Miss Beth is home (my WONDERFUL neighbor that my kids ADORE), it gets pulled back and forth a lot.

Even if you think this room is horribly ugly, I promise the process works.
Be patient, shop carefully, think cheap! The end result is much more rewarding than a bed in a bag.

I hope to soon post the pictures of my "ugly Chairs" - read about them here. I collected them this fall.

Oh, the bulletin board. The 'cool' room in my head has a wall area covered in cork, for all those posters, awards, etc. I had priced it, and it was going to run about $65. I came across this bad boy today at the thrift store for $12.99!! Since I planned on painting the cork the same color as the wall , the marks don't matter a bit. Now I just have to break the news to my husband that we will be storing it in the garage for a while.

I bet he's gonna be thrilled!

Littlebits Designs

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

$25 to $50 GIVEAWAY!!!

I thought it might be time to give something away again.

If you want to be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to my website, Littlebits Designs, you must follow my blog. (That doesn't mean you have to read it :)

If you talk a friend into joining as a follower(this sorta sounds like a cult), leave me a comment telling me so, and I will enter you in the drawing again. (and again, and again for each follower you send).

If I get up to 100 followers by the time of the drawing, I will double the giveaway to $50.

I will draw the winner on Monday morning.

Good Luck!!

Littlebits Designs

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Me and My Tightwad

Today was a busy day!

I painted several plate orders.

I went to the grocery, spending only $8.46 on over $125 worth of groceries. I will not bore you with details or photos....

I endured watching Tiger Woods' apology. Then I endured an interview with his porn star bimbo and her lawyer demanding he apologize to her in person for being 'dishonest' with her. Is it just me, or should she have known he was dishonest?? He was cheating on his wife...

Lilly had a friend over.

I helped to remove another bird that somehow found it's way inside my house. We had no idea it was in here, until it emerged to send my daughter running, and screaming in terror. Upon sitting down to write this post, I noticed a little present it left me.

On my printer.

I helped my husband install a new, much needed, kitchen faucet.

We have been working really hard to finish our bathroom remodel. (We have spent waaay too much time at Lowes and Home Depot).So, today I put a coat of primer on the walls, and the finish on the new top for the vanity. This is a before..

At first we were just going to update it, but we ended up taking it out to the studs. And, we have done the entire thing ourselves. Not one worker has stepped foot into this house.


My husband is a very handy guy - but he is also a serious tightwad.
He changes the oil in our cars himself (and the occasional alternator or brakes).
He always mows our lawn himself.
He washes our cars himself.
He washes and presses his dress shirts himself ---no wait, that's me.
I have even seen him patch our very steep roof.....with a rope tied around his waist, and my dad holding the other end.
He refuses to have a car payment.
I guess I should call him "thrifty". (but, every time the back passenger door lock sticks in my paid for, practical, very non luxury SUV, I can think of lots of things to call him, and "thrifty" isn't one of them.....)

The crazy thing is, he really does a good job on all these things he takes on. (I assume he patched the roof well - I'm not going up there to check it.)
He has done a fabulous job on the bathroom,while sticking to our budget,and I cannot wait to post 'after' pictures.

I got a freebie in the mail today. Go here to get super cheap labels, business cards, etc. Occasionally, they have stuff for free, you only have to pay shipping. I got 150 of these labels.

I think I've done enough - time for a good book.

Littlebits Designs

Saturday, February 13, 2010

5 Strangest Painting Requests

I hesitate to title this as the 5 strangest painting requests. As soon as I hit "publish", I will probably think of 5 more requests that were even stranger. But, it's a catchy title.

Here we go:

5. Pontoon Boat - I was asked to paint a design around a pontoon boat. I was kind of nervous about it, but it actually ended up being fun. Two recently divorced mothers, who were also neighbors, bought the boat together. They completely 'remodeled' the whole boat themselves! The day I was there, they had an electrician there to help with the lights, and I think they knew more than he did. He ended up leaving confused and frustrated, and they finished the job themselves. I only wish I had taken pictures.

4.A teddy bear on a jet ski - About all I can say about this job is that I painted the bear on the jet ski well. Super sweet lady, questionable descision making skills when it comes to nursery decor.

3. Plumbing - Yep. Someone paid me to paint the pipes under their sink. Evidentally, you can't buy bronze finished drain traps.

2. An armadillo holding the state flag of Texas- Believe it or not, this was actually really appropriate in the room I was working in. It was a nursery with a cowboy/Texas theme. We needed a little something by the bottom of the door. This is what the homeowner came up with. She has a great sense of humor(and style), and it turned out to be just right. But, just as a side note, you cannot make an armadillo cute. They are ugly, ugly rodents.

1. A topless mermaid -
I objected at first.
I was young.
I needed the money.
I did it.
I found a loophole.
I painted her hair to cover the naughty parts.
I was reprimanded.
I never fixed it.

Littlebits Designs

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cheap organizers, and.......groceries. Again.

I love to organize. That's not to say I always stay organized - but I love to at least try. It soothes my OCD :)
I needed to have a place to store random things like travel maps and user manuals from a million different appliances and toys, and I have this need to put everything into a box, or container. I can remember being in high school, visiting my sister in her college dorm. I would reorganize all her stuff into containers. It drove her nuts.
I looked at magazine files, they were perfect for the shelf, but they were too expensive. About $8 each at Target, and I needed 18. So, I improvised.

I went to Office Max and bought 6 - 3 packs of cardboard magazine files. Stylish they were not.

I picked up a roll of brown kraft paper from the shipping aisle as well. I sprayed the files with spray adhesive, and basically wrapped them like a gift in the brown paper.

I trimmed the edges, tucked them over, and glued them. I just taped the seams on the bottm.

Before putting them on the shelf, I had to label them. What kind of organizing freak would I be if I didn't??
The paper labels wrapped around the edges of the box make a nice 'stripe' when they are all lined up on the shelf. The whole project cost about $30.
I realize this is not a Martha Stewart caliber project, but I don't have a Martha Stewart caliber budget. In other words, it'll do.

Now. Groceries.

I am ONLY doing this because so many have asked me to. This is only my trip to Publix. I also made a trip to Kroger this week, spending $45 on meat, produce, coffee, and a few stock up items, like 20 boxes of dishwasher tablets.

Yes. 20.

Here's the list:
2 6packs Trix yogurt (has HFCS in it, which doesn't thrill me, but hey,it's 4 oz.)
6 32 oz. cartons chicken broth - I cook w/this all the time
4 1 lb. pkgs bacon - will freeze
5 boxes Ritz Crackerfuls
2 boxes Special K Granola
2 tubs French Onion dip
3 Knox gelatin
2 Glass Plus
2 French's Mustard
3 Ravioli (packs in thermos for lunches)
1 Sabra Hummus
Organic Broccoli
Organic Romaine hearts
I already had the 10 year old boy
Total Before Tax $3.11

And, here's the receipt to prove I am telling the truth.

One last picture. My sister gave may daughter a bag full of hair "stuff". Clips, barrettes, etc. (May I add, all these things were in a container, so HA! I rubbed off on her.)

She let the boys 'give her a hair-do.'

Big mistake. I think the picture makes it clear she was not thrilled with the results.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Brave Lady

I just added a new blog to the short list of blogs I read. I would encourage everyone to check it out. Not only is it inspirational, it's very interesting. A young woman from my church , who has ALS, is in China for treatment. ALS is a disease without a cure, and she is there in hopes of treating and/or slowing the symptoms. Her attitude is amazing. With all she is facing, she still manages to be upbeat and humorous. Let's just say the food and accomodations she shows and talks about make me very glad to be in the good old USA.
She could use all our prayers and encouragement. If you are inspired by her courage like me - pass it on.
Christy Bethel's Blog of Hope