jess knows best

Friday, March 5, 2010

In a Thrifters Dreamworld

If a person knows me at all, they realize that thriftiness is a major part of who I am.  I get absolutely no kick out of paying full price for a top at the mall, but if the same article of clothing happens on sale at Salvos my fingers get all tingly and I get a hit of shopper's buzz.  I haven't paid full price for any article of clothing for years and I'm really very proud of that.  Call me materialistic, that's fine, but I'm quite comfortable in the knowledge that my wardrobe contains appropriate attire for literally any occasion.  And I couldn't do that full price.

I don't even buy groceries unless I can get a good deal.  The local Fresh Food Markets are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so if you go at 5pm on Sundays you can clean up.  We're talking half price lunchmeats, 60% off meats, bags of veggies for a dollar... its really quite fabulous.

I'm not a tight-wad, per say.  I'm as happy as the next person to spend money.  But I just like to get as big a bang as possible for my buck.

I'm also a great lover of anything craft.  

I've also recently discovered something that combines my two loves-- thrift and craft-- in a nice, neat little package.

Pottery Barn Knock Offs. 

Who doesn't love Pottery Barn?  Their products are chic, classic, and elegant and add a touch of class to any room.  Often, I find the 'shabby' look to be a bit-- well-- shabby.  Looking more like something you'd find at the dump than something worth having.*  But Pottery Barn puts the chic into shabby in a big way.

I mean, how many companies can sell a wreath made out of book pages for $50+?

I'm still not 100% sure I'm a fan of this particular decorative gem.  It still seems a bit recycled-trash to me, even if it is Pottery Barn.  But my point is, I could totally make that.  For about $2.

In fact, I can totally make a lot of the stuff I've been drooling over from the Pottery Barn website.  And other people have and have provided tutorials, which makes it all the easier (and all the more unjustifiable to spend lotsa bucks on the real thing).

There's a great website called Knock Off Wood that provides the patterns to make loads of the cabinets, beds, desks, etc that you see at Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma and lots of other places I can't afford.  If you're clever and crafty you can make this:

or this:
Plus much, much more.  These may be above my level of expertise at the minute (although I did successfully hang shelves in my laundry room that don't even look uneven when you put lots of bottles on top of them), but I'm thinking of taking a woodwork class and learning how to do stuff like this.  How cool would it be to have people come over and sit at my table and be able to say 'oh, yeah, I made that'?
Here is my list of high-class-store-inspired projects I want to complete this year:

1.I am a big huge fan of this from Pottery Barn...
...But am not such a big fan of the price tag (shown here is easily over 1k).  

We have this pantry that has an exposed side that you see when you come in from the laundry that I want to paint with chalkboard paint like this...

But instead of drawing weird flowers that look more like weeds I'm going to add a chic looking calendar, some hooks to hang keys and, in keeping with my New Years Resolution to reduce our food waste (Not for the environment. Because I'm sick of paying for food we don't eat.) a weekly 'what's for dinner' section.  I may even make one of these puppies for sorting our mail:

The whole thing will look like this, except a lot more chalkboard-y and exciting:

2.  Pottery Barn makes this 'EAT' sign for $49, which is a total ripoff, cause I can make it for under $10.

But I do like it.  I may add this to the top of my cabinet chalkboard. 
3. How fabulous is this mirror?  We need things hanging on our wall and this would be perfect in our living room:

But at $700, its just not happening.  Someone else in Blogland made this version for a mere $60...
...but I think I can do even better.  Plus, I'm more a fan of Pottery Barn's more-mirrored look. 

4. I don't know why, but I'm a big fan of these number pillows, which Pottery Barn is selling for $29 each:

My goal is $15 for the lot, which I think is very generous.  All I need is some fabric from the discount section and some printable transfers!  There's a website called Graphics Fairy where you can download tons of great vintage-inspired stuff free.  Perfect for fabric transfers and a whole lot more!

I want to make these into pillows:
Aren't the ABC pages cute?  They're from an old Victorian children's book,  and she has each page. A-Z.

5. I love this wall art, also from Pottery Barn:
Its folk-artsy meets abstract and made from planks of color-stained wood.  At over $700, its something I think I can replicate... but probably with paint instead of stain.  I doubt I'll actually get around to this one, but its good to have a goal project, right?

Rory wants to knock down some walls in the house, get rid of the hallway and re-arrange some rooms, so I'll have a lot of decorating to do.  I want to take that woodworking class before he does that in the hopes that I can create a few pieces from scratch.  I'll get new shiny flooring out of the remodel too, which I'm really looking forward to.  When we moved in we put in some cheap faux-wood flooring instead of sanding and shining the pine floors that are throughout the whole house-- the only remodeling mistake I think we've made so far.  I will be excited to start again! 

*NB:  Not everything at the dump isn't worth having.  Not at all.  Here in Aus, we have the 'Recycling Centre' which is where people throw away their not-quite-dump-worthy goods... and where I pick them back up again.  Its owned by the dump-people, and is oh-so-cheap.  We got a brand spankin new glass paneled door there a few weeks back for $10.  TEN DOLLARS.  Its brothers and sisters are still sold at Doors Plus for $200.  Makes me regret a very similar door purchase we made for $150 at the hardware going-out-of-buissness sale.  Litterally, the same door, except the hardware store one has frosted glass.  The Dump-- Don't knock it till ya try it!



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