Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Everyone has experienced the slow drive by... Whether you were hosting a sale and watching someone examine your wares from the road, or you've done it yourself, everyone sizes up a garage sale before they decide to get out of the car. I have certain things that get me excited when I see them from the road and, surprisingly, it doesn't match up with what the majority of people are looking for! I did a survey of a wide variety of people and found out why they aren't finding the same kind of deals that I am! Most people decide the quality of a garage sale very differently than I do!
So what is the difference between you and I?

Honestly, there are two types of garage sales:

1. The one that they have been planning for months. They have been researching their items, renting tables, organizing clothes by size, pricing everything individually, and wiping the dust off the knick knacks. They wake up at 5:00 am to set their wares out in nice, organized sections. They put up bright, creative signs and bought balloons for their mailbox. They have a free bin and bottles of water for $1. These people were PREPARED...

2. The one they threw together at the last minute because they were sick of looking at the junk that has been piling up in their garage for the last 20 years. They decided one Saturday morning that they had had enough of looking at their great-grandma's old junk that has been in their house. So they start lugging it out of their garage around 8:00...and they keep lugging things out all day. They say, "Come back in a few hours and we'll have everything unloaded." The stuff hasn't seen daylight for years and is covered in dust. Nothing gets priced. Signs are messy and there aren't enough of them. Things are rusty and piled up on the ground. They probably were too disinterested to even drag the big things out of the garage. By all accounts...this stuff is JUNK.

The huge difference between these two garage sales is how much these people value their stuff and how willing they are to get rid of it. The first person says, "I've spent hours pricing, organizing, and putting out signs, so I expect to get my money out of the work I've put in. I know how much all of these things are worth, so I won't take any less than my high price!" The second person says," This stuff has got to go today. Half of it belongs to someone who's long gone, and I don't want to look at it anymore. I will practically pay someone to get it out of my garage!" These people are going to have very different items and have very different expectations for price.

But, reading my survey showed that a MAJORITY of people will drive right past the second garage sale. Why? People are simply not willing to look past the dirt and disorganization. Most people look for labels and neat stacks, but fail to realize that they are shopping at the most pricey garage sales! The hosts of the first garage sale usually throw away things as they gather dust, so there won't be anything antique or vintage. Instead, it'll be stacks of decorations from Target that their daughter used for that one semester in college and toys that their toddler only played with for an hour on Christmas morning. If that's what you're looking for...great. You're in the right place.

I want your great-grandmother's antique sewing machine. I want your grandfather's World War I military trunk. I don't care how many layers of dirt I have to scrap off if you're only going to charge me $10. You won't tempt me with your baby toys and piles of James Patterson novels. So when I see piles of rusty junk being unloaded from the back of a trailer, I see dollar signs. When I see dirt and dust, I look beneath it and see antique pieces. When I have to crawl over piles, I know I'm going to come out with valuable trinkets. When I have to sit on the ground to dig through bins, I'm going to find that one 1800's original printing I've been looking for.

When I see junk, I see treasure. 

It's that simple! So next time you see a 1970's ranch home with rusty junk piling out of the garage, stop. Dig. Root around. Get dirty. Leave with amazing, valuable stuff. And be glad you did!

* Obviously, this isn't always true. Sometimes, their junk is just junk. Sometimes their well-organized stuff is cheap and valuable. But in my expert (lol) opinion, I have found the above facts to be generally true! So don't judge a garage sale by its dirt :) But for real, if it smells like smoke or cat pee...just leave.

Monday, May 21, 2018

I know it sounds cheap. Giving someone a used item as a gift? I have the image in my head of opening a stained blanket or a broken coffee mug and pretending to be excited. That’s not what I mean... Here are a couple of ways to buy items at garage sales that can be given as gifts.

1. Look all year long. I don’t wait till Christmas to buy gifts. It’s May and I already have about 10 gifts in my closet. That way, you’re never in a bind to buy gifts at the last minute and forced to buy something that “works” instead of something they’ll love!

2. A gift that reminded you of them is so much more special. I would rather be given something thoughtful than another scented candle (but, for real, don’t stop buying me candles). I love to buy things for people that have a special meaning. When I see a set of vintage Pyrex or old books, I immediately think of my sister-in-law, so I scoop up things like that all year! When I see a unique art piece, I love to buy it for my mother-in-law. It’s so special when they unwrap it and you tell them how you found it and how it reminded you of them. Talk about a meaningful gift! 

3. Look for things that still have the tags or that are in good shape. Yes, some people will like rusty, antique junk (this girl), but the majority of people will want something new or like new. I would never give someone something that isn’t antique store quality! So if it has chips, cracks, or scratches, keep searching. 

4. Yes, it’s cheaper! Many pieces would’ve cost me twice or three times as much had I bought them at a store. So I get more for my money and they get a better gift! I could go to Target and spend $50 on a nice mirror, or I could spend $4 and get something gorgeous, antique, and taylored to the taste of my loved one! 

So start stocking up now! Not sure what to buy? Check out 10 Items to Look For At Garage Sales (and what you should pay for them). Happy hunting!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

People can be quick to throw away things that they think don't have a use any more. I have built my life from things people have thought of as trash. Here are a few items that I've reused to create treasure out of trash!

Table bases
People often throw out furniture when it's broken! Not me! I love to find furniture that is broken and give it new life. The project above was simple, quick, and gave me a brand new coffee table from one that was unusable. Imagine recycling an old door on top instead of building a top from reclaimed wood, like I did. What an easy way to reuse an unwanted item! Never underestimate the power of a good paint job, either ;)

Book pages
No automatic alt text available.
I don't condone ripping pages out of perfectly good books. As a teacher, it makes my heart hurt! But, some books become unusable in one way or another and can be used to create beautiful things. The Dr. Seuss books from which I made the above sign for my classroom had some bad water damage on a majority of the pages. Most people would throw them away, but I couldn't bring myself to throw them out and had to save the pages that were still intact! With the covers and left over pages, I made these hanging pieces for my classroom, too! 

Broken mirrors
broken mirror, mirror mosaic, mosaic, grout
There are a hundred things you can mosaic with broken glass or dishes. From tables to picture frames, you can add extra flair with some glue, grout, and broken mirror pieces. This blog has a great tutorial on the table above!

Old canvas
wall art covering old image
Do you still have that ugly canvas picture that hung in your first apartment? Has your child grown out of the childish art that once hung in their room? Don't throw it out! Canvas can be painted over and given new life! That ugly, useless canvas can be made gorgeous once again with a little paint! 

Ugly lamps
Don't throw away your grandma's hand-me-down lamps! Yes, they may be hideous and dated, but those lamps don't have to stay the same color. A little spray paint can bring them into this decade and be the perfect pieces for your home.

Fence panels
Fence panels rule my life. I collect fence panels from the side of the road because they are great, weathered material for creating new things. Above, you can see I've made classroom decor and a new top for my coffee bar. There are thousands of uses! I've even used them as curtain rods. Check out the tutorial here...

Old pillows
Pillows that no longer match your decor or are falling apart can be easily given new life! You can use a pillow cover or cover it with fabric yourself. I have even taken the pillows apart and used the stuffing for other crafts. Ugly or not, they can be renewed!

Broken crayons
Striped Crayon Candles
Don't throw away your old, broken crayons! There are tons of new uses for them. Make them into a candle or create some new, crazy art. In fact, Rachel compiled 27 ways to reuse old crayons! Check out her ideas here...

Pickle jars, pasta sauce jars, mason jars...the possibilities are endless! I've made flower vases, sugar canisters, and salt shakers from jars of all shapes and sizes. Don't throw them away! Save them to use as decor or for functionality. You can't go wrong with these sturdy, classic pieces!

I adore reusing things that could otherwise have been in the dump. Don't let looks tempt you to throw something away that could be recycled to be amazing! What else do you reuse to create amazing? Leave me a comment telling me a trash piece that you've rescued!

Monday, May 14, 2018
My husband has always been the perfect man in my eyes. I coerced him to date me, begged him to propose, and had no doubts walking down the aisle. It was always clear to me that I had married up, and everyone else knew it, too. I remember praying to God that Michael wouldn't wise up before I could put a ring on it! I began my marriage thinking life would be perfect, and when it wasn't, I didn't know what to do. I had the perfect husband. Why wasn't my marriage reflecting that thought?

Let's back up... Michael and I have known each other since 6th grade. Though we walked different directions for years, our paths crossed again in AP Physics our senior year. We began dating, graduated high school, attended the same college, and got engaged a few years later. We were married July 27th, 2013. I can't help but smile as I type. God worked out everything flawlessly, as He always does. 

In January of 2014, we moved to Fort Worth, Texas... 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Free-handing is for the birds. Instead, here's a quick, easy way to transfer a design or text to a wooden sign.

First, print out the design you want to transfer to the wood. The simpler the design, the better. Here, I'm making wall-hangings for my sweet friends’ new little ones. 

Cut out the design and place it where you want it. Tape it down so the design doesn't move around while you work
Get the marker that you plan to use for the design. Usually, I just use a Sharpie. Trace over the design until it bleeds through to the wood. This should create some lines that are very easy to trace over when you remove the paper.

You will be left with an outline of the words when you remove the paper. You could certainly run the marker over it a few more times to get a darker outline.
Finally, connect the empty spaces with your Sharpie, and fill in the lines as needed. Most of them time, I just need an outline and can free-hand the edges of the design.

This works with more than just words, try it on designs and pictures, too! I love the way the arrows turned out! Here are the finished products!
Now that you're an expert at it, let's see your artwork in the comments below!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Nothing gets my blood pumping like walking away with an item that I know is more than I spent. I tend to hold out for prices that are way below what I know an item is worth. Sure, it may be worth $100, and the average person might pay $50, but I want to pay $10. Here are the most common items I've seen at garage sale, what they tend to be worth, the top price to spend on them, and what I've paid in the past!

1. Typewriters are pretty common at garage sales. I come across about one or two a month and they are usually overpriced. Many people think they are worth a fortune, but, in truth, only the large, old ones are worth anything.
Worth: $75-$100
Price to spend: No more than $40
I spent: $5
Sewing machines

2. Sewing Machines are a fairly common find. Price for these depends a lot on condition and age. If it has any electrical parts attached, expect to pay in the $30 range. They truthfully aren't worth much at such a new age. The best way to determine the age of these is to locate the serial number and research it on the spot. Anything before 1925? Pass unless it's dirt cheap. Brand is also important. Singer is the most recognizable and desirable. For a good condition, 1910's treadle table...

Worth: $200-$250
Spend: No more than $150
I spent: $20

For just the cast iron treadle (Singer brand):
Worth: $75-$100
Spend: No more than $40
I spent: $20


3. Crates can also be worth a lot depending upon condition, age, and purpose. Milk and soda crates tend to be favorites!
Worth: $40-$50
Spend: No more than $10
I spent: $5
4. Paintings can be tricky. The value varies dramatically depending upon size, quality and age. But don't forget about the frames! The frames can be worth far more than the paintings themselves. The thick, heavy frames are worth their weight. For an average sized, mid-century oil painting..

Worth: $40-$50 (with a nice frame- $75-$100)
Spend: No more than $15
I spent: Between $1-$5
Pyrex and Glassware
5. I don't claim to know much about glassware (though it can be super valuable), but I buy up every piece of Pyrex I find. If I can't resell it, I pass it on to some of my friends who are collectors. There are patterns and pieces that are more valuable than others, and condition is extremely important. So in your searching, research the piece when you find it. If it says Pyrex on the bottom, you probably have something that someone will want.

Worth: $20-$60 depending on the piece
Spend: No more than $15-$25 depending on the piece
I spent: Between $1-$10 depending on the piece

Vintage Suitcases
6. Vintage suitcases are at every garage sale. They aren't worth a whole lot on their own, but are super desirable for projects and decoration. The color, condition, and size should be considered. For an average sized suitcase in good condition, people will usually pay...

Worth: $40-$50
Spend:  No more than $10
I spent: $5
7. Books can be a hit or miss. Age, condition, title, and edition all matter. The average book isn't worth much, but ALWAYS take time to check them out! I'm quick to snatch up anything from the Victorian Era, no matter what the topic.

Worth: $20-$50 depending
Spend: No more than $20 depending
I spent: $1-$5 depending

Cast Iron
8. Anything made out of cast iron has some value. Whether you find old skillets or cast iron banks (even the replicas are worth money), buy it up for the right price. Spending some time researching before you buy it is the best way to make sure you have something of value!

Pots and pans:
Worth: $50-$100
Spend: No more than $20
I spent: $5

Worth: For an original? $$$$$$$
Spend: No more than $30 in case it's a replica
I spent: Nothing...I've never had the privilege to buy one!

Tools and Tool Bags
9. Vintage tools have various values that can range all over the board. Most rusty, metal things from a garage carry some value to them. I've personally never bought any tools (other than a set of ice tongs, if that counts). But tool bags and tool related memorabilia can bring in the dough!

Worth: $15-$75
Spend: No more than $10
I spent: $1-$5
Video Games and Consoles
10. You should never walk past vintage video games and consoles. People buy them up like crazy out of nostalgia, and even resale shops will buy them. As with all electronics, you should never pay much because you don't know if it works. Look for dates, original boxes, and game names you recognize. Ask the person where they got it to help you determine if it's an original or a replica.

Worth: $100-$300
Spend: No more than $50
I spent: Tops of $20

So what are you waiting for? Now that you know what to look for, buy up all of the garage sale gems and give them a new life! Post in the comments below if you know any items I missed!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Being someone who has built my house in pieces, nothing in my home has ever matched. I’ve never bought something because it “matched my living room” or because it “went with my decor.” I buy things because I like them—because I love the character. So how is it possible that the stuff in my home is cohesive? Honestly, I don’t know! But is it okay to just say, “Who cares! I like my mixed up junk!” YES!  There are some rules to having an eclectic decor style, but if you follow them, you can mix and match styles, patterns, and textures.
Gallery Walls

1. One really cool way to show off an eclectic style is a gallery wall. You can and are encouraged to mix and match styles, textures, and designs! These gallery walls are the perfect examples of how you can mix in all of your favorite pieces in a way that works beautifully! A well done gallery wall makes your home feel warm and inviting.

Kitchen Cabinets

 2. Don't waste the space above your kitchen cabinets! Use it as a way to display your favorite trinkets. Since they're out of the way, they are noticeable, but don't make the room feel messy!
Mix Textures

3. Mix and match textures! Wood, metal, fabric, leather, plastics, fluffy, scratchy, ALL OF THEM! Choosing only one or two types of textures can make your home feel like a museum. Don't pass up the chance to make your home feel like home.
Mix Patterns

4. Yes, patterns are awesome. Yes, you can mix them. But do it with some grace! It shouldn't look like a 15 year old girl's bedroom. Here's a link to help you mix and match patterns! 
Pillows, Blankets, and Rugs, OH MY!

5. Incorporate all the soft things! Different styles of pillows, rugs, and blankets make your home feel warm and cozy. Don't be afraid to mix different patterns! Mix and match for the eclectic feel you're looking for.

The final, most important piece of advice to create an eclectic feel is to avoid clutter. Eclectic doesn't mean messy! One trick to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the mixture of patterns is to incorporate symmetry! Notice in many of the pictures that every ying has a yang, so to speak. Everything should be balanced by another item that compliments it.

Can you balance eclectic style? I say, of course! So buy that incredible chair that doesn't match anything else! Paint that accent wall! Install your grandmother's old light fixture! Hang up your own artwork! Fall in love with your home, and share your pictures in the comments below!

Friday, April 27, 2018

When I have my mind set on something, I am never satisfied with my options in a store. I have spoiled myself by buying antique and high-quality items at garage sales, so I'm never satisfied with price, even when it's reasonable to most. My coffee and end tables are the perfect example of upgrading my home and getting exactly what I wanted all at the same time! You don't have to be an expert craftsman to complete these projects.

My first step was to do my research. I had a stunning piece of cedar left over from a previous project and had to find a way to put it on my home. I wanted it to be a focal point, so I decided to put it right in the middle of my living room as my coffee table! Let my DIY board on Pinterest give you a little inspiration of your own! It's amazing how you can scroll through and see what types of projects I was really into at that time.

My first step was to sand the wood thoroughly. It brings out the red in the wood so brightly and creates a smooth finish. Here's a picture of the post-sand texture. You're a liar if you don't think it looks like bacon. Here's a link to the sander I use! I love it!

Then, I coated it with the perfect Spar Urethane. I didn't know much about the types of sealant, so I simply found a competent Home Depot employee to explain the differences and help me choose what I needed. I got...

The guy said it would prevent any water damage or dents, and, so far, he was right! I'll use this product more often! After a few coats, lightly sand any rough areas and polish it smooth.

Now for the legs. Y'all, searching for decently priced legs was the death of me. I searched at every store, looked at garage sales, and finally caved and bought some from Amazon. I don't love buying products online because the hassle of sending them back if I don't like them is ridiculous. I bit the bullet on these and LOVED them. I was so pleased that I will buy them again any time I need legs for a table. They are smooth, sturdy, and heavy! There's a link over there to the right!

Attaching them was super easy as well. After measuring out where they needed to be, I marked the holes and drilled holes so my screws would go in easily. I screwed in the screws, dusted of the top, and moved it in my house, and.... CAN YOU SAY GORGEOUS?

Could this be used for a bench? Maybe...but I'm not brave enough to sit on it to find out! Maybe a stiffer wood would work. I would trust the legs to hold up a person.

Houston, we have a problem. Not really...but now my end tables didn't match my coffee table...So when I saw these laundry baskets for sale on Facebook Marketplace, my brain saw end tables! They needed to be spray painted black to match my coffee table legs and needed a top that would be the same color as the cedar. Here's a link to my inspiration for these tables:

I measures the widest parts of the baskets and went to Home Depot to choose wood that would fit my dimensions. The best part is that they will cut the wood for you if you have the dimensions ready for them. They cut the wood and I had an entire other square left over for another project! Score!

Attaching them was be the tricky part. I laid the table top on the ground bottom up, set the bases on top, and used wide head nails in the corners of the bases to hold it to the table. It worked like a champ (thankfully, because I was out of ideas). I sealed them with a redwood sealant and...
They turned out to be beautiful and matched my coffee table well! Here's a side-by-side...
I'm in love with my design and love the warmth they bring to my home! Have you ever had a design that you couldn't find in store? Leave a comment describing it!