Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Vying For My Style Affections

Before I share stories and photos from my recent trip and our day at the longest yard sale, I have to back it up a bit. Here's a smidge of what ensued as I got ready to travel to visit Cally and help her get her new apartment in order ~

I'd had a successful Saturday on the hunt the weekend before I left. I came home with a succinct grouping of items that cost little, and I loved the touches they added to my place.

I'd purchased some silver pieces, but I also found these two books which complimented my living room sweetly.

But wait...I should back up even further and let you in on a bit about where I'm coming from. It kind of hints at where it is I'm headed.


For the record, I used to be a minimalist. However, these days there is more than one suitor vying for my style affections.

On the inside I still long for "white" space and zero clutter; my heart and mind are grounded upon that comfort and they find security there. However, there was a day when it dawned on me that an unfinished dresser planted solidly in the middle of my family room walkway gave off a "we're moving" vibe in a household going nowhere. It was then I began to suspect that my clingy relationship with clean lines and open spaces might be in jeopardy. Yeah, relationships are tricky. Even in the world of style sensibilities.

That dresser has come and gone; it became a kitchen island at my friend Lynette's house (I'll have to tell you that story and show you how that turned out sometime soon). These days, however, scooting something out the door doesn't preclude something else getting carted right in to take its place. Sometimes it's many "somethings" that take its place.

My Florida room and my loft studio now comprise a sort of clearing house for a random collection of the rustic and the useful, the pretty and the unique. The discards of someone else's life seem needy and they lure my junk-wandering eye to imagine how I could love them into a new version of themselves. You see, as much as I like "minimal", I also enjoy the company of articles from a time that is no more...and since they come in so many forms and with so many functions, and often with such a cool demeanor, the sheer volume of stuff I must have but have no way to use is competing with my love of minimalism. I'm finding my heart is daily wooed by the drama, the sentiment and the passion of the rare and beautiful, the flashy and the functional. It beats wildly at the craftsmanship built into the pieces of the past.

I live in a 56 year old home that still has many of it's original finishes showing. My budget and abilities are minimal. Dreaming of "fancy" in this small space with it's midcentury sensibilities, fixtures and finishes never seemed like a reasonable pursuit. Low rafters and jalousie windows put a ceiling above and walls around the direction I could take my home. Remodeling has been and remains out of the question for financial reasons anyway. Besides, glitz and glam just never seemed to suit this home whose bones reflect a simper time. Then there's the fact that this owner's pocketbook represents a stark reality better suited to a more practical and uncomplicated time.

So I decided to pat the head of the past and make it my pet, to devolve rather than to go for the glitz. I chose simple ideas and homespun touches to take the place of the popular notions of what makes certain spaces ideal in today's design culture, one that often gets hung up on granite and glamour. I work to make my place homey (to me) and I work to make-do. Ah yes, quite a bit of making-do. I guess you could say I married my home for love, not money.

With that said, a smattering of "pretty" is still vital to my otherwise devolved decorating scheme. All junk and patina gets boring and lends a dreary old feel to the surroundings. A room needs some pop and shine, some color and a freshness that comes with a hint of sparkle and a little something sleek or new. I've recently been enamored by silver and found myself picking up pieces dirt cheap for a few weeks in a row. I'm enjoying the much needed touch of elegance they bring to my ordinary-coastal-vintage-midcentury throwback of a home.

I found all of this a couple of weekends ago, including the tablecloth which I bought for 50 cents, and the pack of cloth napkins which cost me $2.50 (I waited to purchase anything until I revisited this sale later in the day when prices had been slashed to half). I paid my $5.00 limit for the pitcher because they wanted a lot more and I figured since Goodwill charges $10 or more for such things, I might as well get it while I could for less. Besides, I thought it had a pretty coloring to it and it is practical. I do so love things that are "practically pretty". That's the best of both worlds.

The original idea was to possibly make chalkboards out of the trays, but once again, after I cleaned them up, I wasn't so sure that was an appropriate ending for such lovelies.

These silver items were $2.00 a bundle. They have yet to be cleaned.

I got all of these for $2.50...

...and all of these for $2.50!

And lest you think all I do is spend my life and money dragging things home from garage is a little of what else I was up to as I prepared to help my daughter move into her new apartment:

I had two of these cabinet doors lying around in the garage from when we refinished my kitchen cabinets some years back. Of course, I forgot to take a picture before I sanded them down.

Cally asked for a chalkboard but I wasn't sure when I started which color she'd like, so the first one was painted a lemonade green which got distressed a bit. It wasn't until it was done she told me she wanted coral. Luckily there was another cabinet door in the garage. I did not want to paint over this one. I was very happy with how it had turned out.

Remember those drill bits I picked up at a recent garage sale...just as I thought, I ended up needing them...see?  So I actually bought with purpose! Whew!

Cally suggested hanging the chalkboard from rope, so for the coral board, I drilled the holes before I painted.

The store didn't have an appropriate coral color paint to match the lamp I bought at Target for Cally's room, so I mixed three craft paint colors together and was able to pretty well match them up.

Here's the lamp.

Here are the chalkboards as they looked before I left on my trip. I coated the coral painted frame with polyurethane to give it a sheen that felt more cohesive with the shiny lamp.

The colors I used to brew up the coral were:
Tangerine (Ceramcoat brand)
Peony Pink (Americana brand)
72013 Ivory (Craft Essentials brand from Joann's, which is really a pale yellow)

I added too much of the pink at first and had to keep adding the tangerine, then I added a bit of the yellow to get it right. It was trial and error, so I don't have an exact formula to offer.

Cally had hoped I'd find and bring her a full length mirror, but on the way home from church I found this one at the road in front of a neighbor's house. I snatched it up just in case it would do on top of a dresser or leaning against a wall in her room. It was free, so what the heck... so I hauled it along with me as I traveled North.

I wasn't sure if the green chalkboard would be needed, but Cally found a place for it in the hallway just outside of her bedroom door, and I went ahead and drilled the holes in it while I was there so we could hang it. I'd brought rope and happened to purchase a pair of rusty scissors at the longest yard sale (25 cents) (which quickly became one of my most useful purchases in a long time). They were pressed into service to cut the rope. You may see more of my trusty rusty scissors in an upcoming post. They were my hero!

Before I left on my trip, I bought some of the plain white flour sack towels at Walmart that are supposed to be 5 for $5.00. I got home and discovered someone had removed one of the towels so I only got four. I was bummed. If you go to buy some, just be sure you get five in your pack. I had counted them at the store, but they were trickily folded and arranged to look like five. Grr!

These towels are a great canvas for any number of projects. I was in a hurry, so taking time to stitch something on them, as I would have liked to have done, was out of the question. Instead, I got out my craft paint and thought I'd experiment on one of them by painting a wide stripe down the middle and a skinny stripe on each edge of the towel. I wanted to paint thin stripes on either side of the wide stripe as well, but didn't have time. If you look to the left you can see one of the finished thin stripes with the tape removed. I never got a shot once I removed all the tape. Things were hectic as I prepared to leave. Sorry about that. Can you visualize the final look? 

In the end, it turned out cute, but some of the paint faded when we washed it. I hadn't read the directions on the paint for use on fabric (if there even are any) and I hadn't done anything special to set the paint, so if you do paint on fabric, it might help to use a fabric paint specifically and check out how to do it correctly. I'm a wing-it person when I'm in a rush and I was just experimenting to see what I could come up with in a hurry. Even without any designs on them, these towels are nice little additions to the kitchen. They came in real handy as we cleaned Cally's kitchen, and cleaned...and cleaned...and cleaned.

That's it for now... these were my little pre-trip projects. There is more to come on our longest yard sale adventure last Thursday, and I plan to share some shots of the sights I got while traveling from Florida to Alabama as my road trip took me to the Birmingham area. 

Yes, the yard sale vied for my style affections as my eyes feasted upon a treasure trove of vintage goodies spread out as far as the eye could see. I held firm and brought home only a few more items to add to the mix, but boy did my eyes, and my affections, wander.

Stay tuned!


  1. I love them! Fun colors.

    @ Creatively Living

  2. I really like the chalk boards, and using the rope to hang them is a great idea. I bet y'all had fun working in your daughter's new place. You sure have found some great silver trays! Looking forward to your yard sale posts.

  3. What a treat to visit your beautiful and creative blog!
    I love your lovely sense of style and economy all rolled into one!
    It's so amazing just how many treasures are possible from ordinary things.
    Thank you for your kind comment on my blog!

  4. What a cute pitcher! Looks like a cousin of one of mine! Like you I just can't bring myself to making a chalkboard from a beautiful silver tray! The chalkboard are adorable, great colors & the rope is a cute treatment!

  5. Love all that silver and isn't your daughter lucky to have you to help her move and create

  6. I too used to be a minimalist and then I started blogging and all was lost. I love the silver trays. I just picked up yet another one at the thrift store today.

  7. I am glad you are no longer a minimalist :). You always find incredibly beautiful things. That silver pitcher and trays were AMAZINGLY beautiful.

  8. Love those silver pieces and your chalkboards turned out really cute. Thanks for coming by:)


  9. Hi Liz, I've never been a minimalist. Like the look, but somehow just can't do it. lol! Just love too many things! Love all of the silver. Looks great in the cupboard. The chalkboards turned out so cute and I can't believe you found that mirror curbside. People do not put stuff out by the curb here. Probably a good thing, I'd be picking up way too much. Can't wait to see what you get at the longest yard sale. I so want to go to that sometime! Thanks for sharing with Share Your Cup.

  10. Hi Liz!
    I can so appreciate how you feel toward the vintage collector you're becoming vs. the minimalist inside!
    I have had the same revelation about myself...only my differences lie between Tone-0n-Tone all white/gray decor VS. bright bold colors. It took me until this summer of my life to finally come to terms with The Color!!! I say why fight it? While Whites and Grays are lovely to look at;So serene and so crisp and clean (EVEN IN A SHABBY SETTING)...I do NOT have this in my country farm home. The Dust settles here too often! White and Gray are not something that comes easy. I can NOT duplicate my life in shades of Black and White...only on film.
    Color is who I am and what I naturally gravitate towards.
    Now... to the chalkboards... So much stuff, and so little time. You just had these doors?! I love them both. Green being my favorite of Course. But the Red! captures my imagination. They are so complimentary even. The towels...yes! I want to make some of those, for sure. So sweet. And ...I think I have some of those towels and I purchased them from Dollar General.
    The mirror---a great find. Leaning against the wall would be perfect. I hope Cally loves all that you've offered to decorate that apartment.
    The Longest Yard Sale, was not in my neighborhood. So I missed it. But man! It sounds fun. Can't wait to hear more about it. As I got to the end of this post, I realized that you have posted two blog-posts since I've last read here; so I have more to read up about.
    I'll talk your ear off, Pat

  11. Your chalkboards look great - nice color choice. I especially like the table arrangement with the old window. I've gone through every decorating style there ever was - the last one being minimalist. Got rid of tons of stuff. The I started blogging and had to refill all those empty spaces. Now I'm at flea markets buying back other people's stuff.

  12. I always enjoy looking at all the beautiful treasures you find. What a deal on all the flatware, I'm drooling, love all your silver too. Such a clever use of those old doors...the chalkboards are so much fun and the colors are perfect. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your longest yard sale treasures.

  13. Love your projects and finds! OH...the engraved silverware piece! I actually have never been anything close to a minimalist...but am moving more that way now lol! I tend to sell much of what I find these mother warned me it would happen when I got older lol!

  14. Loving all your silverware. I need some more. I also love the cute chalk boards you made. Thanx for linking up!

  15. Hey lady "I get it" ...that shiny silver, elegant if utilitarian pitcher beside th "Jar" of what/ Shells? The contrast is perrrrfect. NOW when are you going to slow down long enough to rework your goodies and do some photos of staged /decorated spaces n your home?? IDEA~~~~ i think you could write a romantic novel using this text as a jumping off point;


  16. Oh wow, Liz! You are truly amazing with all that you do! And I can totally relate to you how you feel in regards to your home...we live in a mid-century fixer upper that we just moved many projects that I want to work on, but so little time and $$ to do it all! :) Love all your finds, btw!



  18. I guess I'm looking in the wrong place for silver - seems like everyone still wants too much money for it here. Silly, because no one "uses" it anymore. I've never been a minimalist in my home. Funny, I dress like a minimalist - very little jewelry, no scarves, layers, or ruffles - lots of white and black. In my home I have never been able to address that part deep inside of me that loves white. It must be meant to stay there - inside of me. Enjoy your time with your daughter.

  19. Wonderful finds! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!


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