Exciting News!

Friends and Followers, in a matter of days I will be moving this blog to a new site, where I can offer upgraded features and content.  I am working to do this as smoothly as possible, and I believe that if you are a current subscriber to melaniealexander.wordpress.com, you will be migrated to my new site and your subscription will still be active.   I will admit I’m not the most tech savvy person out there though, so bear with me! And if you get lost along the way, please visit and subscribe to my NEW site.

My new site address is lostandfounddecor.com.  It is live now, but will continue to undergo some changes in the next few days.  I hope to see you all there!

 

New Project

Remember this beauty that I found last summer?

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Working on this French settee was my first attempt at reupholstering anything.  It was a beast of a project. But, after all of the labor, it turned out like this

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It found a new home in a little girl’s French-themed nursery.  How perfect.

Well, after 6 months of recovering, I am ready to make my second attempt at upholstery.  I have been stalking this certain chair at my local thrift store for about 3 weeks now, waiting for it to go on sale.  I’m not quite sure why, by my local store seems to charge sky high prices for their used furniture, no matter the condition.

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I tried to buy the chair last week using a coupon I had for 20% off to combine with the store sale of 30% off, but they wouldn’t let me use my coupon.  So I sat it back by the window, and thought it wasn’t meant to be. Until yesterday, on my way to take my kids to the dentist, I saw the sign “Entire Store 50% off!”  I crossed over two lanes of traffic to make a last minute turn into the store, hoping it was still there . . . and it was.  So, at last, I was able to take it home!

I’m excited about it because like the French Settee, this chair will require very little, if any, sewing.  That’s good for me, because I can’t sew.  I have tried to learn many, many times, and it’s just not in my wheelhouse.  But I can pull fabric, and staple it, so this chair will work for me. I  did see two seams on the back that may require enlisting the help of a friend, but I think I can manage that.

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The wood has some amazing carved detail that is going to look awesome painted.

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I’m thinking some sort of gray/white for the wood frame, a solid-color front, and patterned back fabric.

Like maybe some ticking.

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or a chevron

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or even a whimsical floral

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Hmm, that ticking and floral actually look pretty good together . . .

It’s gonna take me awhile, so don’t be looking for the reveal any time soon. Maybe in time for the coming of Spring I can have it ready–it seems like a spring chair to me.

Linking up to:

Elizabeth and Co.

Estate Sale Shopping 101

Estate sales are where I do alot of my shopping these days.  I used to go to more garage sales because estate sales, for some reason, seemed . . . intimidating! But, after a year or so now I’ve learned that shopping estate sales gives me so much more bang for my buck that going garage sale-ing.  Sometimes I have to go to 5,6,7,10 garage sales before I find even one thing.  The great advantage of estate sales is that most often you can see pictures of their inventory online beforehand and get a great idea of if it a sales you would like to visit.

There are a few things I’ve learned though in my process from being an intimidated estate sale shopper to a confidant one,  and I’d like to share those with you today.

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1.  Know how to find them.

There are great online sites that catalog ongoing and future estate sales.  I use EstateSales.net and can search by my zip code.  Craigslist will often have estate sales listed under the “garage sale” tag.  Check your local paper too, they are a great place to find those smaller, family-run sales that often offer great deals.

2. Bring Cash

That’s probably obvious, but many of us are not used to carrying hundreds of dollars in cash around with us when we’re out.  Many estate sale companies will accept credit cards, but trust me, cash always wins in bargaining.

3.  Know what to buy at estate sales, and what not to buy at them.

In my experience, estate sales are terrible places to buy anything French Provincial, collectible china and glassware, and silverplate.  Estate sale companies know dealers can make a quick profit on those items and they are usually priced sky high. Wait for Joe and Susie who live down the street to sell Great Aunt Marge’s old tarnished silver teapot at their garage sale instead.  They’ll only ask $5 because they just see it as old and damaged.

Estate sales are great places to buy old books (read about how I use old books in my decor here and here), vintage ephemera, family photos, sheet music, picture frames, and old garden supplies and implements.

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via hangfirebooks.blogspot.com

4. Never buy anything one day 1 of a sale.  

In my experience, estate sales are generally way overpriced.  But, they always discount as the sale goes on.  Very little goes full price on the first day.  The final day is most usually 50% off of all items, and I’ve even stumbled upon one in its final hours where everything was 90% off.  Especially for furniture, wait until the discount days.  The great majority of it will still be around then and you’ll pay a much more fair price.

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5.  Take advantage of your tax exempt status, if you have it.

Estate sales generally charge sales tax, and some will nicely offer a simple sign-up sheet where you can leave your business name and state sales tax ID number.  After running into a few though who refused to accept just my number, I now keep with me printed and filled-out copies of my state Sales Tax and Resale Exemption Form.  Not paying sales tax can save you alot of money! Be prepared with the right documentation (and by the way, if you are resale and don’t have a state sales tax exemption number, you should!)

6.  Head for garages, attics, and outbuildings first

You’ll find less traffic and better deals outside the main house. Many items in these places aren’t even priced and are sold on a “make offer” basis.  I found my Aubusson Blue Buffet in a garage of an estate sale and paid $40.  It was painted lime green and had junk piled all on top of it.  Steals are found outside.

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7.  As the sale winds down, bargain away!

In the final hours of estate sales, the sellers can get pretty generous.  If you aren’t happy with a price on an item, don’t be afraid to make an offer! Smile, be kind, but firmly ask, “__$’s is the most I can pay for this item.  Would you consider that offer?”  I scored a great deal on the vintage Basset sideboard at a local sale this way.  The sellers were much happier to sell it to me for less than to have to haul it away to Goodwill.

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I hope these tips give you a confidence boost as you step out in the estate sale world.  Great treasures and great deals are to be found!

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Valentine’s Banner Giveaway

February is fast approaching and that means Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!  February also is when I celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the start of my business and 1st anniversary of the start of this blog.

So in honor of those 3 things, I’m going to host my first giveaway! Now please be patient with me, I’m still learning the ropes here!  The giveaway is for one of my vintage postcard banners, Valentine’s themed.

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I try to make 8-10 of these for each holiday to sell in my space, and I can’t keep them in stock.  I’ll hold back one though for one of you!

Here’s how to enter:

1.  Check out any of my posts from this past year, and then leave a comment on this post telling me what you thought.

2. For one additional entry you can check out my Facebook page, and leave me an additional comment saying you did so.  I would love for you to “like” my page, but that’s not required for entry.

A winner will be chosen from the comments at random, and the giveaway will end Wednesday, January 29th at 10:00 pm CST.  Winner will be announced on Friday the 31st.

This giveaway is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

Good luck!

Kid’s Room Makeover

I wrote in my last post about my battle with cedar allergies . . . unfortunately about 10 hours after that post published I woke up with fever, aches, and my dinner from the night before showing back up (if you know what I mean!) Yep, now I have the flu.  They keep saying on the news that this is one of the worst years for the flu in Texas, and they must be right because this is first time I have caught it in ten years. I spent about 48 hours in bed, and was glad finally to be up a little bit this morning.  I can manage about 30 minutes up at a time, but then back to bed it is.  I’m so thankful that my husband can be home to help with my kids, and also that everyone else in the family got their shot so hopefully I will be the only victim.

So with lots of time resting in bed, I thought I would take the chance to post again! Over Christmas break my husband and I arranged to have our oldest two boys spend a few days away with grandparents and cousins so we could work on re-doing their bedroom.  This is what it looked like before:

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It was “Dr. Seuss” themed, in case the bright stripes didn’t give it away! My boys were 4 and 2 when we moved into this house, and this was their first “real” room.  We had been living in rentals prior to this, and so I wanted to go all out with making a super-fun kids room. My oldest at the time loved Dr. Seuss and Pottery Barn had just come out with a Seuss line of bedding, so we decided to make it as bright and “Seuss-ical” as we could.  The twin beds were purchased from JCPenney on clearance, and the bedding sets were from PBK (they were the big splurge).  The dresser was mine from when I was a kid and had been used at one time as our master bedroom dresser.  I always intended to paint it, but never could decide on a color, so it stayed the same.

It was a fun room,  but my boys are now 7 and 5 and I felt like they needed something more “big boy”.  Also, the room only has one window and doesn’t get much natural light, so the bright, saturated colors on the walls made it feel very dark.  When my third was born I moved all of the big boys’ toys up to their room to make space downstairs for baby stuff.  That made their room very cramped and it felt even more uninviting with the darker colors.  They really never wanted to play up there, so another motivation in the room re-do was to give them a brighter space with more room to play.

Finding some of the new furnishings was a work in progress, but once those were found it took us about 3 days to re-paint and pull it all together.

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It’s about 90% finished now, and here is what it looks like:

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Let me walk through the major changes.

First,  I sold my old dresser and purchased one tall chest off Craigslist.  My oldest’s clothes are now in that and my youngest’s are in a Elka drawer system (from The Container Store) in the closet. The Elka drawers used to be in the baby’s room holding blankets, bibs, etc, but it wasn’t really being used anymore so I moved it to this room.

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This chest of drawers is of amazing quality and is completely solid wood, including the back.  It cost only $75 and with its deep drawers, will fit his clothes for many years to come. The TV was our old TV from downstairs and was moved up to their room when we received a new one as a Christmas gift.  I know, I know . . . TV in kid’s bedrooms is a parenting faux-pas, but  they are only allowed to watch with our permission and only have access to certain shows through streaming Netflix.  Having it there provides a little relief to our overused family room.

Next major move was changing out the 2 twin beds for bunk beds. The bunk bed was purchased off Craigslist for $200 and is decent quality, good enough for the few years we plan to use it.  The twin beds were nicer quality, so we didn’t want to get rid of them knowing they would probably use them again in the future.  One of them was taken down and stored, and the other was moved to the baby’s room to be his big-boy bed when he’s ready.  To make room for it, we sold a full-size mattress set and bed frame that was going unused in the baby’s room.  I also sold one of the PBKids Dr. Seuss bedding sets on Ebay, and put the other in with the twin bed in the baby’s room.  Since we didn’t need box springs with the bunk beds, I moved one with the twin bed and sold the other.  I found a like-new twin mattress on Facebook for $75 and purchased that for the twin bed now in the nursery.  Whew, that’s alot of selling and swapping, I hope you followed me!

The bedding was purchased from Target and is really amazing quality. Both sets together cost roughly what one of the PBKids Seuss sets cost. They fit our needs much better because they are lighter (a better fit for our mostly warm TX weather) and fit the bunk beds also (the PB quilts were way too puffy).

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With the bunk beds the boys now have much more floor space to play.

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There is plenty of room for their toys now and even now a special shelf to display their Lego creations.  The white shelves were actually $0 cost . . . my husband cut them down from a shelf that was left in my booth space up at ACM. The lamp is an extra one that was going unused in the corner of our master.  Use what you have!

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Another fun find is the pew shelf that serves as the top bunk’s bookshelf.  I bought two of those a few years ago off Ebay for the baby’s room, but was having trouble finding one for an affordable cost this time around. I finally stumbled upon this one though at an estate sale and paid $1 for it. Amazing!

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The curtains were hold-overs from their last room and the small nightstand I bought at a flea market for $30.  I have intentions to paint it navy, but it may take me a bit.  The vintage letter “a” came from a yard sale and cost $2.  I plan on hunting down a few more letter “a” signs to fill up that space.

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The “Brother” sign is one of my favorite additions. I purchased the digital print off Etsy for $12 then paid $30 to have it printed at a FedEx Kinko’s.  My husband mounted it on some particle board we had in the garage.  The only other new purchase was the lamp  base, which was $12 at Wal-Mart.  The denim shade was one I had kept from a previous broken lamp. I knew it would come in handy one day!

This room was achieved through lots of selling and deal-buying.  A quick recap of what I sold to fund the makeover:

– one PB Kids bedding set

– my old dresser

– one twin box spring

– full size mattress and full size bed frame (from baby’s room)

– an antique mirror that didn’t sell in my shop and was being stored in my garage

The money from those sales covered the new chest of drawers, bunk bed, Target bedding sets, nightstand, lamp, “Brother” print, and twin mattress for baby’s room.

The only cost that came out of our regular budget was the paint, which was the high quality Behr Premium Plus from Home Depot.  It’s roughly $30 a gallon, and we had to purchase 2. (On a side note, the paint did an incredible job covering those stripes!) So that makes for roughly $60 out of pocket for a completely new bedroom.

So here are some take away thoughts for those of you trying to accomplish a major room makeover on a budget:

1.  Sell what you don’t need or want anymore. Look around your home, and whatever is sitting unused let it become a blessing to someone else.  Let that be your seed $ for your new project.

2.  Don’t be afraid of “used”.  The bunk beds we purchased off CL are not the highest quality, but we don’t see ourselves using them forever.  They cost about $600-$800 less than something like them new, so why waste the money? Also, the new twin mattress we purchased for the baby’s room was only $75, compared to over $200 new.  It was used as the extra mattress on a trundle bed for a few years, so it truly is like new.

3.  Look for quality in hidden places.  The Pottery Barn Seuss bedding sets I first bought were great quality, but when all is said and done, they turned out to be more than what we needed.  The Target quilts appear just as nice to me and cost 1/3 of the PB ones, and they fit our needs even better.

4.  Be patient.  Like I wrote above, the new furnishings and decorative items were accumulated over a few months time.  Re-doing a room on a budget means you will have to take time to look around at all options, and wait for a good deal to show up. Piece it together as you find it, then once most of it is accumulated, take a few days to paint and put it all together.

I hope this has been helpful.  My boys love their new room! And I enjoyed sharing it with you all.

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Elizabeth and Co.

Changing it up

I am at battle with the Mountain Cedar trees of Central Texas, at least that is what the news tells me.  This past week has been one long, continuous sneeze, and I have heard that it’s a result of strong winds blowing the cedar pollen into our Dallas area.  Yuck.  I’m tired of it.

Despite feeling pretty crummy, I was able to finish up a furniture project and make it out to a few estate sales. My booth space up at ACM was in desperate need of a fresh look, so it was good to find some new inventory.

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The cane-top table and chair set was quite a project, but came out nicely.  The table and chairs each got a coat of Maison Blanche Sugar Cane and were antiqued with dark wax.  I recovered the seats in natural linen and left the top of the table and back of each chair stained to give it some contrast.

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Here are their “before’s”

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They weren’t a set but fit together so well.  I was ecstatic to find the chairs at an estate sale, anything cane is hard to come by in this area.

Speaking of cane, I also found an adorable child-sized cane rocking chair and small cane-top table at a local flea market.  You can see them peeking out from under the table on the bottom left of the photo.

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It’s quite a collection of cane! I love it though.

I also found an awesome church pew.  It anchors another section in my booth that is “wedding” themed.

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I really wish I could keep it, but just don’t have the room in my house.  Underneath the pew is an awesome loooong crate that came out of an estate sale attic.  It would make an amazing planter.

The green drawer, milk bottles, and cotton were also weekend finds, as well as someone’s old Sunday School Bible.  They made a great display together.

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I am a sucker for vintage artwork and found quite a bit of that also. These three tiny house prints are my favorites.

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And with February right around the corner, I threw in a few vintage Valentine’s postcard banners for good measure.

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That Mountain Cedar took most of my energy, but I had just enough left to freshen up the space a bit.

Hope you like it.

 

Elizabeth and Co.
All Things Thursday Blog Hop
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Blue the New Black?

I love the color blue. It’s my favorite color, and I have it splashed throughout my home.  Most of my clothes are blue, and I guess I’m lucky that I have three boys because they get to wear mostly blue too!

Given that love, I was excited to see the cover of the newest issue of the Pottery Barn Catalog the other day when I pulled it out of my mailbox.

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If Pottery Barn features it on their catalog cover, you know it must be in style! I’m curious to see as the year goes on if I see more and more blue popping up in decor catalogs and blogs.

And speaking of blue . . . over the past two weeks I have moved out all of my Christmas items from my space at ACM and have moved in some new inventory.  As I was setting it all up a few days ago, I noticed something–most of it is some shade of blue! It wasn’t a conscious plan, but after all the warm colors from fall and Christmas, I think I was just longing for my cool, crisp blue again.

There is this awesome 5 gallon vintage blue lard bucket I found in NW Arkansas

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and this wonderful primitive blue wooden shelf I grabbed several months ago at Canton

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This sweet little pitcher I bought at an estate sale last weekend also has a splash of blue.

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And remember this green dresser?

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Guess what color it is now? Yep, blue.

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It wasn’t selling like it was, so I gave it a quick makeover with a new Maison Blanche Chalk Paint color I decided to try, Sugar Cane. It is a very light, delicate blue.  I highlighted the lines with some ASCP Old White and it has a pretty new look.

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I wandered a little bit around the rest of our mall and found some more blue.

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So with all this blue, we must be in style up at the ACM.  I wonder, is blue the new black for 2014? If it is, I won’t complain!

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Elizabeth and Co.