Saturday, August 27, 2011

From Dull to Shabtabulous...

Awhile back I wrote a post about some recent finds. One of them was a great little vintage tea cart.
Quirky: Old Brass Tea Cart

I fell in love with the character of it. The white plastic wheels that keep on rolling, even with the chips and dents from age, the brass that was begging to be polished to a like-new state again, even the old lime green gooey substance that was used to mount the glass to the cart. 

A few trades later with the thrift store owner, I was loading this beauty up into the back of my SUV with visions of grandeur!

The first week home I did a little bit, cleaned the glass, scraped the goop, even polished a little. A very little. I'm talking maybe a 2" to 3" spot on the top railing. How long did this small feat take me? Oh somewhere in the vicinity of 30 minutes or so. 

My visions of grandeur were slowly fading as life got in the way. My little cart made its way into my room where it became a haven for toddler socks, my blow dryer and a few hastily arranged family photos. 

After months of this, I decided it was time to make my little cart fabulous, even if it wasn't the way I had once envisioned. I decided to (gasp!) paint it. For some reason, painting vintage items has a certain stigma to it for me. I know many people frown on painting a beautiful vintage wood piece, but this is brass right? The same metal that has to be polished and polished and then polished again!

So after a brief discussion in my brain, I decided to go for it. I had the perfect color in mind. I drove to Wal-Mart, picked out two cans of Krylon's "Pistachio" Spray Paint and went to town! After taping up the wheels and adding a coat of primer, I then added a few coats of the spray paint and wah lah, instant shabtabulousness!

Primed and ready to go

The finished product!

I sanded a little here and there for the shabby look

I love how the gold comes through all around the top 

I'm actually very pleased with the outcome. I figure I'll leave it this way for awhile and then maybe spray paint a few coats of another color over the Pistachio. Then I'll sand a little so the Pistachio shows through. Now, I just need to find an appropriate place to put it where it won't become a catch-all! Easier said than done :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Essential: Haggle Your Way to Victory!

Whether you are a seasoned picker or an every now and then garage saler, you can save some serious dough by honing in on your inner haggling skills. For some people, haggling just comes natural. I recently had a garage sale where a very young girl (around 5) haggled a five dollar item down to a dollar. When she walked away I thought to myself, "that smart little girl just used her cuteness to get a ridiculously good deal!" This brings me to lesson 1.

Lesson One: Know what you have and use it!

That adorable little girl knew what she had just as I know what I have. Let me introduce you to my secret weapon.

28 pounds of pure "melt your heart" power! This little guy has got me more free and ridiculously cheap stuff than you could imagine. If I walk up to pay for my goods and this little guy is holding something I say "Ah geez, he is just not going to put this thing down! How much would you sell it to me for?" Nine out of ten times they say, "You can just have it!" Score for me! Maybe you don't have a little one, but you have ridiculously long eyelashes you can flutter, or you're incredibly funny, or you're a great sweet talker. Learn what you have and use it!

Lesson Two: Kill 'Em with Kindness

If there is one thing I've learned after countless estate and garage sale haggling, it's this: talking down to someone or being rude won't get you anywhere. The last thing people want to hear is "This [fill in the blank] isn't worth near what you're asking!" Maybe to them it is. Maybe you're at a family run estate sale telling them a precious memento from their childhood isn't worth squat. 

Always be kind! Strike up a conversation. Comment on how beautiful their things are. Get off on the right foot and they will be more open to bargaining with you. 

Lesson Three: Know What You're Getting In To

Are you at a normal 'ol cleaning out the attic garage sale? A moving sale? A family run estate sale? An estate sale run by professionals? Each type of sale has different elements that need to be addressed. You can usually sniff out if people are eager to get rid of their stuff. If it's a family run estate sale, (my favorite kind of sale) you know they have already removed everything they want to keep and usually they are wanting to get rid of the rest. However, be advised of what I said above, this is usually a difficult thing to do and many of the items have sentimental value to the seller. It has been my experience that items in family run sales are generally less expensive than those at sales run by professionals. These professionals usually know more about the items, what they sell for, how much the item is worth etc. Remember, they are making a percentage of the profit so they are in it to get as much money as possible. I like to hit up these types of sales on the last day which is sometimes the 50% off day. If it is towards the end of the sale, they may be willing to go even lower than 50% off which is a great thing for you!

Lesson Four: Pile It Up

So once you have struck up a conversation or at least hopefully said hello, inquire about the price of a few items. Ask if they'll take X amount for a few things. Once you've gotten them down on a few things, start a pile. They get excited when they see you piling it up! Once you've got everything you want in a pile ask them what the price for the whole pile would be. Remember, you have already got individual discounts, when they discount your pile, it's like a double discount! I've got some very great deals with this strategy.

Don't forget the old saying and perhaps the most important in picking and buying in general. "It never hurts to ask!" If you don't ask, you surely won't get a discount and if you do... the worst they can say is no. So go for it! Assert yourself and give it a try. You never know the good deals you might get. 

Do you like to garage sale? What are some of the ways you get good prices?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Daily Dose of Inspiration

A smart, smart man that Mark Twain was. In fact, when I think back to 20 years ago to when I was nine, I am totally regretting some decisions I made to not live on the edge. :) ok, ok I'm kidding. But isn't this the truth?

Friday, August 12, 2011

QUIRKY: The light of my life...

I've been doing some lighting research the past few weeks. I'm not sure why. We are planning on buying a new home early next year and I sure as heck am not going to put forth the effort in my current home. Maybe I'm just getting excited about decorating my new home.

Anyway, there are so many different options out there! From DIY to retail stores to buying handmade, the options go on and on. The cool thing about lighting is, if you are drawing a blank on the direction you want to go with decorating a space (or maybe you just have too many directions you are going in) using your lighting as a starting point can really help you out with the rest of the room. Here are some great pieces I've found:

Love this shabby, hand painted chandelier! I can see some sort of shabby, romantic look for a space where this pretty thing could be displayed. 

This chandelier from DreamOn Lighting begs for a cool, contemporary or even industrial setting. I like the crisp, clean look it has, yet it's still a little quirky. 

For the DIY'er, this great conversation piece comes with handy instructions. 

Isn't this sooo cool. Somehow I think that trying to do something like this yourself may cause a little grief, but it's still worth a shot. Maybe I'll even try it!

Or how about some good ol'  fashioned vintage inspiration?

What an absolutely breathtaking piece! This would be great in a foyer with high ceilings. 

Don't have the time or money to invest in new lighting? Check out these great chandelier silhouettes from wallstikas! I love these...

I'm going to use the lighting as inspiration for at least one room once we move into our new home. What pieces do you use for inspiration when decorating?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Anniversary! National Cash Register Restoration

My husband and I are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary tomorrow. Yay! To celebrate, we bought a 1926 model 717 National Cash Register to restore. This baby is looking rough to say the least! 

This ugly duckling will be looking good as new in no time! At least that's the plan. We are still trying to figure out if we would rather restore it back to its original condition or turn it into something pretty and fun that would look great in a soda shop or ice cream parlor. Hmm... I'll post more as we go. Until then, enjoy this adorable pic of my son helping daddy tinker with it.