Hey there! I am beyond blessed to be the wife of Mark Andrew and the stay-at-home-mommy of Quinn and Morgan! I love to decorate, create things, and generally make life more beautiful! Come join me, and let's see what we can make today!

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Tuesday
Apr052011

Spring Vignette Part One: Flaming Log of Death and Flea Market Finds

For several years now, I have not set out too many seasonal decorations.  Mainly because I have small children, and the decorations are just one more thing they can get into trouble with.  However, my kids are now 5 and almost 3, and I have decided to reclaim my house.

So, for the first time, I have made up my mind to create an Easter/spring "vignette".  I just love that word!  Bear with me, because there are many steps that I took in this process, but I think the end result will be worth it!  So as not to overload my dear readers, I am breaking this post up into several parts.  If you get bored, just stop reading!

My first order of business for my vignette was to decide where to put it.  I don't have a fireplace, so a mantel is out.  I don't have a dining room table, but I do have chairs for when I get my table!  Look!

Just imagine a lovely harvest table right here: 

I have an antique desk that I love, but it is not in a prime viewing location area, and that's what a vignette is for, right?  

I have a pie safe, but it is a little high, plus I don't necessarily like to highlight the ceiling beam!

In the end, I decided on the sofa table in the family room that is home to our "Flaming Log of Death".  Seriously, that's what my husband calls it!  When I brought it home, about seven years ago, he was like, "Who takes an old, dried out piece of wood and uses it as a candle holder?!?!?!?!"  Apparently I do.  Anyhow, the sofa table seemed like a perfect place to set up a vignette, and the Flaming Log of Death was begging for a transformation.

 

****BOREDOM ALERT****We will come back to the vignette in the next post.  What I want to do now is share a few tips I have learned about decorating and crafting. If you do not care about my tips, and just want to see the rest of the project, stop reading now, and tune in later!

First of all, for me, in order to be inspired, I need to be organized.  If I don't know what I have to use, I can't think of a project to try!  So, I have a very small area in my basement that I use as my "items-to-be-repurposed-and-turned-into-something-fabulous" storage space.

Note that I keep a designated laundry basket right next to my storage space, so it is super easy to load the basket with potential projects pieces and carry them upstairs. Here is a close up of some of the goodies on one of the shelves:

And some more:

 

I told you this was a very small area!  And it is my laundry room!  See the laundry shoot?  I love it!

The items on this shelf have been collected from many different places.  Some I buy from GoodWill or the Dollar Tree.  Some have been "garbage picked" from my mother-in-law's basement--and, let me tell you, THAT is a treasure trove!  I also have a collection of items that I got from neighbor while she was doing spring cleaning.  She had boxes of miscellaneous items to be donated, and I asked her if I could go through them.  She thought I was a nut, but told me to have at it!  I find that my best creations have come from thinking outside the box--sometimes WAY outside the box--and using items in ways that they were never intended to be used in a new and clever way. For example, while I didn't actually "transform" anything for this, I recently held a baby shower for a dear friend, and on the front porch I loaded a ton of blocks into an antique wash tub.  Unique and clever.  Just what I like.

Here's my point: while I do not condone becoming a hoarder, if you see an item that has a great shape, or you just really like something about it, don't be afraid to snatch it up and keep it until you know what to do with it.  Inspiration will hit when you least expect it, and it will most likely be impossible to go back to a thrift store and find the super fantastic piece, at the super fantastic price, that you are dreaming about. So buy it now!

My next tip is about shopping at a craft store.  My preferred store is Hobby Lobby.  (I believe in their Statement of Purpose, and I have thoroughly enjoyed their products for many years.)  Not everyone has a Hobby Lobby nearby, but you can use these tips at any craft store! First of all, if your store has a weekly coupon (most of them do) sign up for it!  I shop at three different stores, and they all have a weekly coupon for 40% off one in-store item.  Hobby Lobby has great prices and great sales to begin with, and if you take another 40% , they are practically giving the items away!  So, sign up for the coupons! 

Next, always be sure to check the clearance sections.  You will be amazed at the things you will find there!  Buttons, beads, and little charms are some of my favorite embellishments to add to my projects.  Those items, however, add up quickly--unless you buy them on clearance! Check out these finds:

 

The buttons and beads were purchased in bags of about 150-300 pieces per bag. They were each originally $5.99, but I either found them on clearance or used my coupon, and they were about $3 per bag!  I have been using these for years!  Some other items I like to buy at Hobby Lobby are bags of miscellaneous ribbon, and fat quarters that are on clearance.  You never know when you need a crap of ribbon or fabric, and it's great to have these items on hand! I typically by about 30 yards of scrap ribbon (usually 15 strips about 2 yards each) for $1.99, and I pay less than $1 for my fat quarters!

Wow.  This is getting long, but I am almost done.  My last topic for this post is the flea market.  Ever see a really great project made from really old material and think, "I would love to make something like that, but I have no idea where to find those kinds of items, and they would probably cost too much anyhow!" No?  Well, that's what I used to think.  Then I discovered the flea market. I am fortunate enough to live less than one mile from the Kane County Flea Market.  I have wanted to go for years, but have only started going in the last couple of months.  I.Am.Hooked!  The flea market is a FANTASTIC place to find all kinds of unique goodies that you can use for your projects.  And you can't beat the prices either!  Check these out:

This flatware was three pieces for $1.  

 

These old church pew bulletin clips were also $1.  I already have a fun idea for these!

And check out this fantastic bag-o-junk I got for $2:

I honestly didn't even know what all was in there, but a few pieces caught my eye, and I figured $2 is just not much to pay for a potentially interesting bag-o-junk!  When I got home, I opened up my bag, and here is what I found:

I immediately separated some of the scariest pieces! Seriously, what's with the scary, broken angel thing?

And then I gathered a few of my favorite pieces from the lot.

I think this stuff alone is definitely worth the $2!

To sum it all up, don't be afraid to keep/purchase an item that you aren't 100% sure what to do with, think outside the box, use your coupons, and check out your local flea markets and thrift stores! I know we haven't completed any projects in this post, but I hope that these tips help you and inspire you to create something unique!  Maybe you'll even want to try a vignette! Look for Part 2 later today!

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