No Whining From Me


Today’s killer thrift store find was these amazing wine glasses. This Mikasa Cheers 4-pc. Balloon Wine Goblet Set retails for $68 at Kohls. I found them BRAND NEW in the box for $6.99! But wait…it was 25% off day so they actually cost me $5.25 for the set!

The craziest part is that I didn’t even get to the store until 5 pm so I’m quite shocked nobody else had snatched them up. They were located on a rather high shelf so perhaps the more diminutive shoppers didn’t spot them. Lucky me!


Oh, Thriftmas Tree


This year I decided to give my colored lights and many ornaments I’ve collected over the years the season off and opt for matching the tree to my brown/green/white den instead. Could I possibly enjoy Christmas without the two dozen marine animal ornaments I purchased on my one trip to Alaska? What about all the lambs and Hershey kisses I collected as a teen? Heck, I still have Smurf ornaments dating back to my childhood.

Once the tree was done, I didn’t miss my menagerie of ornaments one bit.

I remember when I first decided to paint the walls of my den chocolate brown, I had seen pictures of Christmas decor in brown, green, silver and white and absolutely loved it. So last week I scoured the thrift stores and dollar stores to collect lights and ornaments. Green and brown stockingBy accident, I purchased the net lighting meant for bushes and it was a great mistake because I found it MUCH easier to hang than the usual string lights. To finish off the tree, I bought a bolt of sheer brown ribbon with wiring and cut it into strips as a sort of garland. Not bad for a Thriftmas Tree! I’ve never really spent time in my den but I’m loving the feel of it so much that I now bring my laptop in there to work.

And how perfect is the green velvet stocking with the brown fur trim? I got that for $2! Come to think of it, this photo is filled with thrift store finds: the tray was a wooden one I picked up for a few bucks and painted white; I reupholstered the bench for a total cost of about $10;  the jars, contents, pine cones and tree planter were just a few bucks each; the tree itself was about $10. The white solar honeycomb shade was a stroke of unbelievable luck. I found two of them ($5 and $3) and they fit perfectly into my den windows. Not only do they match the white ridge texture theme I have in the room but they’re designed to keep out the heat, which comes in handy in Arizona.

So will my old ornaments be heading off to the Land of Misfit Toys? Maybe not this year and maybe not all of them but I’m such a fan of my coordinated tree that I think the days of eclectic trees may be behind me.

The Lettered Cottage

Cleaning Up The Laundry Room


Laundry room makeover - beforeOne of the first makeovers I did on my house was to the laundry room. As you can see from the “before” photo, it was in desperate need. I knew that eventually I want to install a better shelving and/or cabinet system but for the time being, I just needed to make it look somewhat presentable.

So I picked up a few cheap items at the thrift store, such as this little shelf..




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Don’t Get Your Pantries In A Bunch


I don’t always label my photos as “before” and “after.” I figure if you can’t tell which is which, then I’ve failed miserably.

You’d never know it by looking at the “before” picture of my pantry but I’m big on organization. The thing is, I need a system and until one is in place, that space will remain a cluttered disaster. My pantry was such a random mess of deposited items that I was embarrassed to open the door when anybody was around.

Then I came up with a cheap, easy fix: storage bins on every shelf. But it still looked messy with the various items popping out the top so I threw some colored tissue paper on top of each one. For Christmas, I changed out the tissue to give it a season flare.

I love bright colors but I’ve tried to show restraint when it comes to decorating so it’s fun to have this little burst of color off my kitchen. Besides, the bright colors give me an excuse to store some equally bright cleaning items in there.

This probably wouldn’t be a practical solution in a household in which pantry items are frequently accessed but I keep my non-perishable foods in a cupboard so this works great for me!


Master Bathroom


The key to improving the “after” picture is to make the “before” look as awful as possible. I think I succeeded.

That blue streak remained on my wall for about six months before I got around to painting!

Ok, so my bathroom didn’t look THIS bad all the time but it was pretty dreary for a good six months before I finally got around to implementing the plan that I’d envisioned: a tropical sanctuary with a bit of a spa/Zen/Asian feel to it. Think Bali.

I love bright colors but I sometimes get carried away with them so I’ve tried to show restraint with my house. While I don’t have plans to move anytime soon, I do like to keep in mind how much effort would be involved if I wanted to sell so in terms of paint colors, I’ve kept the open areas to neutral colors and allowed myself to get a little crazy with a few rooms. I’m quite sure a bright blue bathroom isn’t a big selling point for most people but I knew I would be happy with it.

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Boxy Chair Makeover


This was my first attempt at reupholstering a chair. I got this sad little guy at Goodwill for $3. Some might say I overpaid. But I figured this would be a cheap way to learn some techniques and give me a comfy chair for my backyard.

I did the whole thing with a rinky-dink sewing machine. I used to do a lot of sewing when I was younger but after my big sewing machine sat in a cupboard unused for 12 years, I decided to toss it when I moved. Because I’m brilliant like that. So when I realized I wanted to start reupholstering furniture, I picked up a kiddie sewing machine for about $10. Even though it’s not that great (especially when it comes to doing cording!) it gets the job done.

So here’s the finished product. I actually did a better job at the sewing than expected. The total cost, including fabric and paint was about $10. Not bad!


Best Thrift Store Find EVER!


This has to be one of the most amazing thrift store finds ever. It’s a floating shelf/desk that measures five feet wide that I got for– get this– ONE DOLLAR. Yes, one buckaroo at Goodwill on their half-off day. And it’s in excellent condition. What’s even more incredible is that they had a bunch of them. I wanted to buy their entire stock but unfortunately, I could only fit three in my car at a time so it required multiple trips. I ended up getting 11 of them!

I haven’t decided exactly where I’ll use them. I was thinking about trying to sell a few on Craigslist to cover the cost of painting and mounting the others. I’ll then use the remaining either as shelves in the garage or as part of a custom closet system. I’ve also considered mounting two of them to a wall vertically. Stay tuned…


Here I Go


I created this website a year ago, hoping to document my decorating progress on my house mostly through thrift store finds. The main reason I haven’t posted anything is that I have a crappy camera so after completing these furniture makeovers that I think look great, I photograph them and they look lame in the pictures. Then there’s the fact that entire rooms are never complete. I always think, “But I still want to do this…and that…and I don’t want anybody to see it half-done.” Plus I’m a quasi-perfectionist;  I can live with things not being perfect but I don’t like to show others creations that aren’t the best I can do. Make sense? Anyway, I’m finally trying to get over that mentality and just show my house as it is and as it will ALWAYS be: a work in progress.

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