Friday, March 30, 2018

The way you hang your curtains can make a massive difference in how large your room feels. But hanging curtains can also make your room feel closed off and dark. Not only that, but curtains and curtain rods can be expensive, especially for large windows! So how can we hang curtains that open up the room and still add a lot of flair? And does the above trick even work??

The first thing I did was I went with something sheer that would make the room feel soft and inviting. I bought some curtains at a garage sale for $10, but if you can’t find anything you like, these from Amazon are a steal! 

I wanted mine to be really long to reach from floor to ceiling. But how to hang them in a creative way that won’t cost a lot? I wasn’t willing to buy curtain rods, but I had a TON of fence panels. 

So after sawing off the rounded edges (which isn’t necessary), I cleared my floor and laid the wood panels down against my windows. Then, I measured where to staple the curtains. The break between my windows is about 6 inches, and I wanted to cover them to make it look like one large window.

Once I marked where on the board my curtains needed to hang, I took my staple gun (my one true love) to the fence panels and the curtains. I folded up the fabric so that it would hit the floor at exactly the right spot and be the correct width to cover the space between the windows. Then, I stapled it to the BACK of the board. It is meant to be flipped over the board to create a waterfall effect. 

Depending upon how many windows you have and where you want your curtains to fall, you can decide how many curtains you need and how wide they need to be. Mine were folded a few times before I stapled them up. I felt like this made them look thick and lush.

But we had a problem when we went to hang the fence boards up (I have two fence panels and the curtains + wood made them somewhat heavy). My original plan was to screw them into the wall (which probably would have worked had my drill cooperated). Since Plan A left me with empty windows, Plan B was to attach picture brackets to the back of these and hang them like a photo (two brackets per board).  It worked like a champ! Yes, I decided to staple them on, too.  #impatient

The issue that some people have with these is that they don't actually block any light. My intention for these was purely decorative because my venetian blinds take care of the light when need be. A solution to this problem would be to staple them in wider panels and tie them up in the middle or to the sides.

So does the trick work? Does it actually make the room look larger? Here’s a side by side for you to decide. 

Yes, the dog helps in the second picture 😍 But I see a huge difference between these two! Shoutout to my amazing hubby who helped me get these up! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and keep a look out for my next article: “7 Inventive Storage Ideas.”

Monday, March 26, 2018

We all have grand Pinterest plans to fill up our homes with cheap, DIY ideas that will beautify our homes. But how can you accomplish any of them without the materials with which to make them? Here are my favorite places to find cheap items to repurpose!

1. Buying and selling pages on Facebook are a gold mine. Personally, I am a part of around 15, and they are constantly popping up on my Facebook home page. Not only that, it gives you a treasure trove of places to search for specific items. It also makes it easy to sell your unwanted items. If you buy a brand new t.v. stand to refinish, sell the old one to make some of your money back! At the bottom, I'll post links to all of my favorite garage sale pages in the Collin County Area :)

2. Garage sales. This sounds like a gimmie, but there's so much more to shopping at garage sales than people realize. Get there early if you're looking for the valuable items (antiques/rare pieces), but if junk to fix up is more your style, try to time it later, like 10/11ish. Most people are more interested in lunch than they are in making profit by then, so give them an offer of what you want to pay. Most will bite. After all, most people will take anything not to have to haul it back inside! Also, be willing to go when it's cold or hot outside. People having a garage sale in January aren't doing it out of convenience, but out of necessity, and they usually want to move their stuff fast! Finally, be willing to leave your number for items that you want if they wont budge on the price. If you love something, but the price tag is unreasonable, offer to come pick it up at the end of the day for your price if it doesn't sell. They all think Bill Gates is going to pull up and spend a fortune on their item. When it doesn't happen, they'll have your number ;)

Need a good way to find garage sales? Click here to sign up!

3.Thrift stores may not barter with you, but if they have the perfect piece of junk, it'll be so cheap you wont need the price lowered. Go often because things change out daily! Don't be afraid to buy the really ugly stuff. Yes, the dresser may be white with pink flowers, but if it has a solid structure, it can easily be sanded and repainted. Try to look past the coats of nastiness to see the structure underneath.

4. Facebook Marketplace is my new favorite thing.
Things to look for:
- Poorly taken pics of good items. It means they don't care about the item and just want it gone.
-Things that are posted "First come, first serve." That means they are ready to see it go, and will be willing to drop the price to have it gone. Say something like, "I'll come it it today if you'll drop the price to _______." That is super enticing for someone who wants to see their product go! However, anyone that is "first come, first serve" is going to get rid of their product quickly, so it's important to check often. You can also set up to get notifications about certain types of items you are looking for.
-Garage and estate sales! Some people don't know how to advertise any other way. This can be a good way to find a relatively undiscovered sale.

5. Don't be afraid to pick things up off the side of the road. I mean, don't slam on your brakes on the busiest highway in your town to pick up something that fell off a truck... But, seriously, people put out valuable items that they don't even know could be worth money! Sure, you may not get lucky enough to pick up a vintage Louis Vuitton suitcase (been there), but that scuffed up dresser that your neighbor left out? The chances are that they were just too lazy to get rid of it the right way!

This dresser is the perfect example! It had all its pieces when I picked it up from the side of the road, but it looked like a hot mess. But with a good sander and your favorite paint, anything can be gorgeous!

Here are some of the links to a few really good garage sale pages on Facebook. Obviously, these are only helpful to people who live in Collin County, Texas. If you lIve somewhere else, simply search for garage sale sites in your area. If you have any more, please post the link in the comments below!

Collin County Online Yard Sale
Princeton Texas Online Sales
Collin County Online Garage Sale
No Rules- Collin County Area
McKinney Online Garage Sale Unlimited
Collin County Antiques and Home Decor
McKinney Tx Online Garage Sale- No Rules
Collin County Furniture
McKinney Area Online Garage Sale
Farmersville Online Garage Sale
Mckinney Garage Sale and Yard Sale
Princeton Texas Online Garage Sale
Princeton Texas Online Garage Sales

Thursday, March 22, 2018

We don't do it at Walmart. We don't do it at Macy's. A price is a price in 95% of places you shop. But garage sales are NOT that way! So why don't we ask for a lower price? Do we feel like we're being rude, unkind, or even offensive? Here are a few ways to barter and haggle without being rude!

1. Say hello to the person who is having the garage/estate/antique/trade days sale. People aren't used to strangers being kind to them, and it makes them like you immediately. This may even mean making polite conversation if they seem interested in talking.

2. Relate to the seller somehow. Do you see something they're selling that you can use to start a conversation? "Hey, I see you're selling a lot of classroom posters. Are you a teacher? How cool, me too!" Are they wearing a shirt that you can talk to them about?  "TCU, Huh? Go Horned Frogs. Yeah, how do you think this year's season will go?"

3. Be careful how you act. Your reactions to the price often determine how much they think an item may be worth. If you jump up and down with excitement, then try to lower the price, they won't bite because they know your level of interest. Pick it up and carry it around if the price is really on point, but if it's high, put it back down. When they see you put it back, they realize that the price is out of your budget and should be more willing to lower it.

4. If it's reasonable, don't lowball. That's just rude. The only reason to offer a really low number is if you can tell they want their stuff gone. If you hear them cutting great deals for other people is a good sign that they'll take anything they can get.

5. Ask questions about the piece before you buy it. If it has any imperfections, you can use that to your advantage as a reason to lower the price. "Well, it has this stain here that has to be removed. Would you come down to ____ since I'll have to spend money to fix it?" You may not even be planning to fix the imperfection, but they certainly wont want it when you remind them it's damaged!

Pin this for later.

6. Bundle your items! If you have multiple items that you want, offer them a bundle price. If the total price of the three items is $35, say something like, "If I buy all of these things, will you take $20?" Most people wont stop to count out how much each item is worth and will just be glad to see them go. You can even get confirmation that bundling is an option before you make an offer. For example, if you're looking at DVDs you can say, "You have $2 a piece on these, but if I buy a bunch will you make me a deal?" Most people will say yes. Then they can't back out because they already promised to give you a good price, even if you only pick up 3 or 4.

7. Carry small bills with you. You don't want to ask them to lower the price from $20 to $15, then ask them to break a $20. This is also really valuable if you have to say something like, "I can only spend $15 dollars on this." Then you can hand them the $15 even, and there's no question about your credibility.

8. Show them the money! There's something crazy about handing them the money as you make your offer. They see the money and realize that if they take your deal, they get money in their hands immediately. No one can resist that kind of instant gratification!

9. Start slightly lower than you want to pay. Most people will come back with a counter offer, and you don't want that to be out of your price range. If you want to pay $15 for their $20 item, offer them $10. Three things could happen: 1. They meet you in the middle at $15. 2. They say no, and you can offer them the $15 you wanted to pay in the first place. Both options 1 and 2 make you seem like a reasonable person who is willing to negotiate. 3. They give it to you for $10! Woohoo!

10. Make them name a price first. Then you know what ballpark they are in. If they are in the stratosphere with their number, you know it's not even worth the fight. I've also had people give me a price, and it was WAY lower than the number in my head. If I had made an offer, I would've overpaid! Yikes!

An extra nugget: Smile. Everyone's face looks better than way. A bat of the eyes and a "pretty please" doesn't hurt either.

Now that you know how to get the deals, go out and get some good stuff! Don't know where to find cheap stuff to repurpose? Check out this article for some inspiration: 5 Ways to Find Cheap Items to Repurpose. Don't want to miss the next update? Hit the subscribe button to get emails when articles are released. And don't forget to SHARE these tips with your friends :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

After many months of upgrading my furniture and selling off its precursor, I was finally getting in the habit of owning a few nice things here and there. I spent every Saturday at garage sales, knowing there was no other way for me to afford the luxury that my heart desired. One person’s junk was my antique to love a cherish.

But I never bought anything that I couldn’t sell something else to replace it. I certainly couldn’t buy an old record player that didn’t work and looked like garbage.  

Until my husband found this thing in an estate sale for $50 (can you say splurge?) and stood in front of it yelling at me from across the house, fending off passersby until I got there. He knew how much I had been wanting one, and he helped me haul this hunk up our two flights of stairs. I had never fixed up anything before. Sure I had replaced plenty of hand-me-downs with my own finds, but I had never refinished anything! 

After getting it home, I realized it had been covered in spray paint, had water damage that made the laminate peel off, and didn’t work. What had I gotten myself into?! 

With no place to work, I set this thing in the outdoor stairwell of my apartment and began doing all I knew to do: sand all the crud off. I even had to ask to borrow a sander. Thankfully, I was given one by a sweet lady at church. It was my first power tool. 

I sanded the parts of real wood and peeled off the laminate to reveal the wood underneath. I sanded smooth every nick and smoothed out the edges of the doors so they hung straight once more. I worked so tirelessly, even my husband was impressed. I had never finished a project this big in my life! 

After sanding until my back ached, I bought wood stain for the first time and fell in LOVE. What an incredible product and way easier than painting!

My hands had never been so dirty...and I loved it. I was even proud enough to snap a picture (and impressed with how my nails held up)!

After staining it and putting it back together, I ran into more issues. The wood screen on the front was cracked and stained beyond repair. My only option was to toss it or replace it, and I knew I didn’t have the ability to replace it. This left me with an amplifier horn that was now showing and falling apart. My first time to use wood glue and clamps. After sliding it carefully back in, I knew it needed one more thing. 

The pop of color and new felt for the turntable made this piece mine. 

Is it worth any money? No. It’s a nice cabinet at best. It takes up space in my house. But it’ll always be the reminder that I can do anything I set my mind to. It’ll always be the totem that says, “Why not give it a try?” 

Here’s to the many more times that I said, “Why not?” and to the many more to come. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I’ve always seen a sewing machine treadle as a work of art. Something about a big hunk of metal with a purpose just screams “put me in your house!” But without a purpose, they just take up space. 

So after finding a treadle for $20, what could I do but take it home. After some reasearch, I discovered it’s from 1915.  The only problem...the termite infested cabinet was still attached, and the pedal was stuck fast. So to start, I had to strip it down to the bones. Not hard since it was practically falling apart. I took out the machine and saved it to sell later. While keeping every nut, bolt, and screw, I carefully peeled back the wood, saving the drawers  (which were in pretty good shape). I tossed all the wood and was left with...

The drawers, which I put new knobs on and sold for $40 for the pair. 

The machine (isn’t it gorgeous?!?) which I sold to a leather worker for $100. 

And the treadle... The base for a million possible projects! With some WD-40, the pedal came into working order and was well polished. 

Depending upon the type of top you want, it could be as simple as screwing on the new top (with the screws you were hopefully able to salvage) and sealing it with something hearty. My suggestion is this Polycrylic. It'll ward off any water stains :)

With the one below, I had to make the top to match the decor I wanted for my coffee bar and made myself some shelves to match. It was also cheaper to use some old fence wood.
P.S. The "book" under the sugar set is just a painted block of wood. Clever, right?

Any top could be mounted on the treadle to create a beautiful piece! These treadles are a smart, creative way to give life back to your grandma’s machine. Do you have another idea for a treadle? Let us know in the comments below! Also let me know what project you want to see next! 

Want an exclusive, all inclusive guide to garage sales? Sign up below for your FREE guide to scoring the best deals!

* indicates required