Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Weekend Garage Sale Finds

This post is almost a week late - we are getting our floorboards re-stained and we had to move all our furniture off the floors. That meant the computer being disconnected for a few days.

I went to a garage sale this weekend and it was close to our house. The lady who lived there had sold her house and was moving out of state.

She had some laminate wood book shelves that were 6 feet tall and was selling them for $50 for both. We have a ton of books that are just sitting in boxes in the basement and even though I had built two bookcases, $25 sure worked out to be cheaper than the materials I would need to make a bookshelf. So I bought them. I have plans to repaint them white as these are rather too dark for my liking.

I also saw this Chinoiserie vase sitting in the corner and I loved the almost-greek key details on it. Mine!

I also bought a bicycle for myself. I was going to get one from K-Mart for about $100 (the cheapest I could find) and another one for my 9 year old son.  We live near a national park with lovely bike paths all the way to DC and it seemed such a shame not to be able to use them.  I know nothing about bicycles. I looked at the one the lady had and it was bright, aluminum-looking. No signs of rust. The pedals turned. Good enough for me! $35. Bundled it up in the car and went home.

My hubby looked at it and was approving. He said it had 21 gears and it was a Shimano bike, no idea what that means but it was a good deal. That is music to my ears!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Morning Thrift Finds

I had a sick child at home this week and during the weekend, we had a tornado warning so we stayed home. Sadly, the tornado swept through NC killing 19 people, flooding areas in Alexandria, VA and when it reached us, most of its fury had died down but we had one of the heaviest downpours I had ever seen living in the USA. They remind me of our tropical thunderstorms in Singapore, which we get daily.

I wanted to share something I picked up a year ago from a thrift store - some vintage tennis and badminton racquets (see picture above) It took me a while to find a glass maker and I happened to pass a store one day and decided to drop in to get them to put in the mirror. The man behind the counter was so tickled - obviously he had never heard of the idea before but agreed to do it.

It took more than 6 weeks to get it done and when I went to pick it up another staff served me and I said I was here to pick up the tennis racquets. He gave a laugh and said, "Oh, yes! Those ones!" Those tennis racquets must have given their staff a bit of a laugh. However, the smile died on my lips as I surveyed their work. It was shoddily done, as if someone had been in a great rush to finish it. They had cut the mirror by hand and you could see that it was crookedly cut and the strings were showing from underneath the mirror.

I asked him if he minded re-doing it. He apologised for the "less than perfect" work (I like this about America! If in Asia, the reply would have been - take it or leave it) and it took him another 3 weeks to get it done. When I picked them up, I was happier this time round.

I need to put hooks in the back so that they can go onto the walls. This is just a makeshift string I tied around the back to put them on the wall to see what they would look like. Of course, I would hang them a lot closer together, I was just utilising the hooks that were already in my wall. The wall is going to be painted blue, by the way.

During the week, I had a 20 minute visit to another thrift store and found these vintage wooden shoe forms. I don't know what to do with them yet I bought 2 pairs! I am thinking of using them as decor. If they don't fit into any decor, I can definitely use them for Matt's shoes!

It is the Spring break at school and the boys are at home. I found these flowers growing out of the most unlikely places around the house. It is a big mystery to us - were they planted by someone or do they grow in the wild. I see them everywhere and love them, they are so pretty. I love how plants have multicoloured leaves here.

Look! They are sprouting up under our playground. If it were planted by the previous owner, why would he have put them in such an unlikely place? That made us think that they are grown in the wild.
A shot up close.
 White ones are my favourite.

Have a good time spending time with family on your Spring break!

Linking up with Apron Thrift Girl

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ethical Question

I have been thinking about the topic of copying work that one sees in catalogues, websites or even other people's work that you admire - for yourself and not for commercial purposes. Some of the pieces are so far out of reach financially, which is why people take it upon themselves to build or make things that they want. I think it is a very good way to save money and be creative at the same time. I felt no qualms when it came to building a bookcase that looked like one from CB2.  However, what if it was another artist's work?

The reason I ask this is because I love an artist's work and I wrote to him, asking him about the price of his beautiful painting, which I saw on a magazine. It was Australian $6,000, which works out to be the same amount in US dollars. That did not include the $200 shipping costs from Australia to here. While I believe his work is worth every penny because it is so beautiful, I cannot justify that right now, perhaps even, never. However, my blank walls are screaming for some art work and I thought to myself, "Can I copy it myself?"

So this is where it bothers me... is it right to do something like that? Can someone point me in the right way? I don't know why I feel so hesitant when it comes to art. It is a bit more personal, the creator of it made it to be something original, it was his idea and my conscience is prickling a little.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I saw this picture in a Singaporean magazine and fell in love with the furniture. d-Bodhi specializes in teak furniture and I have had the chance to see some of their beautiful bookcases up front when we lived in Singapore. However, they started a new line of furniture using recycled wood and parts from old ships. This line of furniture is called Ferum.

I don't get anything from mentioning them but I love furniture and recycled pieces so here is some eye candy!

Thrifted clothes

One of the biggest thrills for me since moving to the USA is being able to buy most things thrifted. We live in an affluent part of Maryland, which means that many clothes that are donated are boutique, high end clothes, and usually find something I like.

I like thrifting because my rationale is - why pay the full price, pay $100 for a nice jacket or coat when you can buy it for $5 to $20?

Now, the added thrill to thrifting is being able to find clothes that are able to  be paired nicely and not look like they came from the thrift store. It is normally a challenge to find the smaller sizes so sometimes I go away empty handed. Sometimes I look at a skirt and think about altering it myself, if it is not too much work.

I went shopping this Friday and found a nice Calvin Klein cotton blouse and a H & M wool skirt. At first, looking at the skirt, I thought I would have to do some alterations myself but when I tried it on, it fitted perfectly, with a little room for me to put on weight! I wore it to church today - took this photo against my stair runner (which makes the whole outfit look a lot busier than it is)

The jacket above was also thrifted from a garage sale back in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia - it is a Garfunkle jacket, which you can fork out a tidy sum of money for their clothes. It is very warm and it cost me AUD$5.00. (My mom in law took me to this garage sale, it was so awesome, near the beach.) The H & M skirt cost me US$5.18 with tax. This was not a good photo of me, wearing a plaid skirt against the floral stair runner, makes it look so busy! The skirt is really well made though, good sewing and pure wool.

This jacket was another find. It was a Steve Madden jacket, with a faux animal fur collar, which you can take off if you want to wear it for warmer days. It is a new brand to me. Obviously, I am making more effort with this picture - using my D90 camera vs my iPhone one (picture taken above), picture taken by my cute 7 year old son. He had to take many because the camera was so heavy and he had trouble holding it.

Everything was thrifted from various times but the jacket was found yesterday, the Steve Madden for $18, which I thought was steep for a thrift store, if I waited a day, it would be 50% but then I ran the risk of it being snapped up. The jeans are Calvin Kleins, $2 because they are so small (lucky me - the size 0s and 2s are usually at a discount) and the boots are a garage sale find - Salvatore Ferragamo $40. By the way, my lawn needs to be mowed dontcha think? I'll get to it soon enough. Have a greet week ahead.

Linking this up to Apron Thrift Girl

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Is Here

We moved into our new home, not realising that our driveway is lined by cherry blossom trees. So to our delight, last week, we saw these lovely cherry blossoms peeking out of their buds.  Today, some of them are already in full bloom whilst others are still bare.

 The tree on the right has a branch which was badly hacked off. I did not notice this until I took photos today and it is something I must address! Can you see the little "treehouse" on the left?

 A view of our case you were wondering what that patch of grass is in the middle - it is the septic tank. We dug it up in August last year to do an inspection when we bought the place.

And I just had to enlarge this photo, it is my favourite...oh I love pink!

Beautiful trees, beautiful flowers.