Tag Archives: home decor

Saturday thrifting adventures!

Thrifting is not something that I grew up with in my life. My mother always enjoyed the finer things in life. We weren’t rich by any means but she sometimes acted like we were and would spend so much money shopping. I think she passed on the habit down to her girls because it’s definitely something that I like to do as well. I spend many hours on Amazon each week looking for new things to try.

But in an effort to remain “frugal” and be more conscious of how much money I’m spending, I suggested that my bestie and I go thrifting today. I’ve been so excited for this, that I went to bed at midnight last night and woke up bright eyed at 5:00 am. I sat outside for a bit but it was so cold – I bundled up and went back to bed.

I’m sitting here with my morning cup of coffee, a bowl of Special K cereal, my water, almond milk and some piano music in the background. This – is my new happy place.

My bestie has a booth at a local antique mall. We’re going to hit that and then check out some garage sales. She’s the one who got me into thrifting a few years back. We would head to the mall after work or on Saturday morning, go for brunch and have some quality time together.

Because of the pandemic, we really haven’t been able to do that in a couple of years. It’s been since 2019 at least and I didn’t realize how much I missed thrifting and looking through people’s treasures until this month.

The Hygge life and thrifting

My journey to a happier life is a work in progress. Something I learned this week about being Hygge, is decorating your home with things you love. One YouTube channel I discovered suggested that finding vintage items like canvas art, candles or other decor items adds more history and character to your home. So, that’s what I’m on the hunt for today.

We’re going to hit Good Will as well. And before anyone jumps down my throat and accuses of being “trendy” – I’m still on disability leave. That means I’m taking home less money than I would if I was working full time. I can’t afford to buy new artwork right now at the prices they charge on sites like Amazon.

And besides, I’ve found some great furniture over the years via places like Marketplace and Kijiji. It’s where I got my last piano. And the piano I have now is one we bought for the church in 2005. It sat in storage unused for many years when we got an acoustic piano and so I asked if I could use it as a practice piano.

There’s nothing wrong with buying second hand items. Especially if money is tight – which this year especially, that’s the case for a lot of people. Most of my living room is full of second hand furniture and items from my parent’s house. The only new item I have is my sofa. And as you know, the reason I bought that is because my last couch broke a few years ago. I haven’t bought new furniture since 2008 save for a few things for my bedroom from Ikea.

What not to buy

If you are new to thrifting and are looking to bring items to your home, do be forewarned. Some items are better to buy brand new. Things like sofas, mattresses and even clothing can have bedbugs in them or worse – cockroaches. Those suckers get into everything. Mattresses are definitely not something I would ever buy second hand. Unless you know the home it comes from – I would highly recommend getting a new mattress and linens.

Other things to consider when buying second items:

  • Look for yellow or black stains. This could indicate that the item came from a smoker’s home. The smell of smoke can linger on fabric items and can be hard to clean.
  • Check for holes in wood or fabric of furniture. Look for rodent droppings, white stains (urine) or tiny little black marks which could be from bedbugs.
  • If buying from Facebook Marketplace, ask for the history of the item. If you can, check out the seller’s profile and their other listings. I’m more inclined to buy from someone with a well kept home. A well kept home, is a good indicator that the item you are buying has been properly cared for as well.

One of the reasons I prefer thrifting or garage sales compared to using Marketplace is people play too many games on Facebook. I gave up trying to sell anything online because of the 20 question game people play and then decide they don’t want the item. And then there are the low ballers who will offer you half of what the item is listed for. I wound up giving away so much stuff when I moved because of that.

Things you definitely want to buy

Today I’m on the hunt for vintage artwork, lamps, lanterns, and anything I can decorate my home with. More specifically, the bedroom and balcony.

Things that are definitely worth buying at thrift shops or garage sales include:

  • Vintage artwork (canvas art, photo frames)
  • Vinyl records – these have made a comeback
  • Art supplies (scrapbooks, paint brushes, paints, etc)
  • Books – I’m definitely going to be looking for old music books to replace some I’ve lost
  • Decor items – garden gnomes, lanterns, statutes, etc
  • Jewelry – rings, gems, stones, beads, (sanitize before wearing)
  • Signage, and posters
  • Trading cards and other collectables (stamps, coins, etc)
  • Dishes (plates, bowls, etc)

You just never know what treasures you might find in a thrifting store or antique mall.

One man's trash is another man's treasure, and the by-product... | Picture  Quotes

COVID Safety

The pandemic is still going strong here in our city. The city council brought back a mask mandate and so we will be wearing masks today. I strongly recommend that you wear masks and gloves when going thrifting at best of times. Or carry hand sanitizer and wipes with you.

While many shops are really strict about the quality of items they accept, shelves can become incredibly dusty. Plus you just don’t know the history of the item you’re picking up. If you have allergies or are sensitive to dust, then gloves are definitely recommended.

Cleaning and sanitization

Wash your item as soon as you get it home from the shop or garage sale. Wood furniture can be wiped down with a wet cloth and cleaning solutions – or just vinegar and dish soap. I did this with my sofa when I ordered it from Leon’s because it had that musty warehouse smell. The smell has disappeared from the cushions. I used a wet cloth and warm water and will do this about once a month to keep the sofa clean.

Wood, metals and hard materials are easy to clean. Use products like vinegar, baking soda, dish soap or ammonia for deep cleaning.

Follow cleaning instructions for clothing and fabric items. Check insides of bags and purses for signs of bugs. Machine or hand wash all clothing items before wearing them. One tip I learned is to toss in some vinegar with your laundry. This helps to get rid of some stains and lingering smells.

Saturday Thrifting Adventures

And that’s it for today. I’m excited to just go out for a few hours and be social. My bestie just texted me so I should get ready for our day. I’m hoping to get to see dad later but might have to wait until tomorrow or Monday. There is a COVID case at his residence so maybe we need to be careful of who visits him.

I’ll come back later this week and share my finds with you! I think we’re planning on stopping for lunch today. We have been trying to get out to Elk Island park to go for a walk and take some photos but my knees haven’t been cooperating for that. Hopefully we at least get out for a drive to take some amazing fall photos. It’s a glorious day outside right now with the sun shining and the golden leaves outside my window.

Have you ever been thrift shopping? What kind of treasures have you found at an antique mall? Let me know in the comments.

Autumn 2020

Home Living: rainy day projects

It’s been a fairly productive day. I’m nursing a sore need that feels like it’s ready to pop any minute. This is the one that I’ve had surgery on. I think it’s the rainy and cold weather that’s doing it. I’ve exercised, iced it, massaged it, have taken my pain killers – and hope it holds out. I have to go out later.

I actually have a dinner date with a friend I haven’t seen since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. We used to get together for lunches every month. So this is our first time catching up. Unfortunately, it’s piss pouring rain outside and has been all day. It’s like 9 degrees out there. That’s Celsius for you Americans.

I couldn’t sleep last night after painting, so I grabbed a few hours this morning and finally crawled out of bed at 11:00 am. I’ve had a pretty productive day since.

I’ve had my fireplace all afternoon – because I refuse to turn on the heat. It works pretty great. I just tore apart my bedroom closet to go through bins of clothes. I found my mum’s old sweaters that I kept after she died. They still don’t fit me, just a smidgen too small. But I found a bunch of warm sweaters and comfortable clothes that I can wear for the winter months. It’s coming – and it will be here sooner than we know it.

Bedroom Decor

While cleaning out my closet, I also decided to check on my old comforter. I bought a $200 Wasmutta bed in a bag set from Sears back in 2013. It was a great set. The sheets were soft and cozy and didn’t pile up. But after a year, the sheets started falling apart. I just went through my bins and found an older sheet set that I can use.

I tossed the comforter into my high tech washer – it has more buttons than I know what to do with. Surprisingly, it did a good job for a deep clean. My old washer/dryer couldn’t handle the size of the comforter. One of the reasons I decided to take this condo – the jumbo washer. It’s fantastic. And I love washing clothes spin in it. It has a see through top… Lol. I need to get out more.

So, this will do for now. I can use this comforter for the winter, and get a quilt set for next spring. I also dug out an old green blanket that I can throw underneath it. Pictures coming soon. There is a tear in the comforter on the inside. I’ll have to be careful with that. I’m looking for someone who can mend it for me.

The comforter is grey and white with simple floral designs. They are starting to fray, so the comforter won’t last long. But I can save myself a couple of hundred bucks.

My friends are getting a kick out of my progress reports on Facebook. I’ve been sharing photos as I update and change things. My living room still needs work. The new sofa gets here on Wednesday. I will need pillows and little things. But it’s coming along nicely.

I think what I love most about my new home is that it’s a smaller building. It’s well maintained. And other than people coming and going, I don’t hear anything from neighbours. The noisy thing is the traffic during rush hour. But it quiets down after 10 pm at night. That’s usually when I’m outside.

Oh yeah. I’m looking for a water proof blanket and a small heater that I can use while outside for the next few months. It’s so cold in the evenings once the sun goes down. There’s no Indian Summer this year. Just boom. Fall – here it is.

Amazon Art Haul

My Amazon order got here on time and more importantly, before I had to go out to meet Louise. I gave the watercolor paints a try and apparently, I need to take some more online courses. Or watch more tutorials. It is harder than it looks. What I really need to learn is how to mix the paint and water to get the right amount of color. I did take a picture of my first doodles, but the paint is so light – you won’t be able to see it.

But here is my haul that I got for $70 on Amazon. I placed the order at 10 pm last night, and it got here by 2:00 pm this afternoon. I love our Amazon couriers. They’re awesome. They’re the only shipments that I know, I’ll receive.

The metal tray that the paints comes in – it’s adorable. It’s a great set for beginners and comes with a water brush. I also ordered a pack of watercolor paper. Pricy for what you get, but it feels sturdy. This set is great for beginners, it’s made by Koi – I think a Japanese company, but I could be wrong about that. It’s also the perfect size for travel. You can take this sketch book on the road with you – like to a park or on a road trip.

Musical Updates

I’m loving TikTok and have been spamming the site – while trying not to break the rules. There are so many to learn. I’m also using the platform to share playlists. Today’s mood is “Instrumental Dreams”. I’ve added a few of my own pieces on this playlist. Along with other artists that inspire me. Like Yanni, Yann Tiersen, Michael Nyman and more. It’s a work in progress.

If you’re looking for something to listen to on this rainy day — check it out. It’s so relaxing! I think TikTok helped me find passion again when it comes to music and art. I’m feeling inspired to create more and work with my hands while I can. I hope you don’t mind me sharing these posts with you too!

All in all, it’s been a pretty good day. Knee aside. I just need to do more exercises and physio therapy. For now, I’ll wish you all a fine day. And please, if you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet, give it a follow. I love reading your comments and hope more of you take the time to engage.

Have a great day everyone.

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Home decorating challenge on a budget – update

Since moving into this condo in March, hard to believe it’s been almost six months, my balcony has been one of my main areas to focus on. It’s gone through many transformations since moving in. And after this last step, which was very affordable addition to the balcony, I can honestly say – that I’m pretty pleased with myself.

I’m running out of time as the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter. But ideally, I’d love to transform the balcony into a welcoming and warm space in winter months. I might not sit outside for hours at a time like I have this summer – but I hope to get outside for at least 10 minutes daily. Unless it’s -40C outside. Because no one wants to sit outside in -40C weather. Even with an outdoor heater.

( I have 40+ draft posts ready to share…some days I might share more than one post!)

This was the view during a June snow storm. It can get pretty miserable.

Balcony #1: April 2021

This is a before picture from when I first moved in. It started with my sister who graciously offered to buy me an outdoor area rug. The rug has held up wonderfully all summer though it does need a good cleaning. I’ll get my vacuum outside when it’s less windy.

I’ve shared pictures of the updates on Facebook and the one comment I hear from all my friends is, “I can’t believe how big that area is!” I love it. I don’t think I’d love it as much if I had neighbours across the street. But I love it for what it is now. My little cozy reprieve.

My sister who spoils me, also bought the flowers for me. They’re now pretty much dead thanks to all the heat, lack of rain and high winds. You also know about the smoke. It’s been a bad year for gardens and flowers. Hopefully next year, is better.

First balcony update

Balcony 2 Update: May 2021

It was early May when my sister texted me and offered up her old patio furniture. She had ordered a new set in from Canadian Tire. “It’s a house warming gift, you don’t have to pay me.” She said when I offered her cash. It took us a couple of weeks to find a time to drop off the furniture. I was blown away when I saw how much furniture she included. Even down to the rest cushions!

The chairs are a little sun worn, and one chair is wobbly, but otherwise – this set is in really good condition. I know, because I’ve used it ALL summer – almost every night.

As you can see, the balcony is badly stained from previous tenants. They had a gas bbq and I think that’s where the stains are from. The rug covers most of the area. It’s pretty huge.

What I learned quickly, was that the chair placement was fantastic for working on my summer tan. I face the sun during the day and it was awesome for tanning.

Second balcony update

Balcony 3 Update: June 2021

After about a month of this set up, I realized the above neighbours could see me where I was sitting. I used the two seater more often than not to listen to music or read. I was also a bit worried about storing outdoor supplies on the balcony. Our condo board has some really strict bylaws. We can’t store any household items outside, nor can we hang anything on the railings.

So, I got crafty. I moved the two seater over to the corner. Not only did this provide extra shade, but it hides the planters and supplies very well. When it rains, I store the cushions in a large plastic bag behind the seat, and no one but me can see it.

I don’t have a picture of this layout, but this is my view from the corner.

Balcony 4 Update: August 2021

All summer long I thought to myself, there must be a way that I can get around the condo bylaws in order to have some more privacy. My issue is that I love sitting outside at night time. Not evening time – the kids are still outside at the park playing. On really hot nights, I would sit outside between 11 pm and 1 am to cool off. Not only were the kids in bed by this point, but the stores were all closed except for the one restaurant that is hidden by a large tree.

I loved curling up in my two seater while listening to podcasts or watching TikTok. I used headphones for this to block out the noise from traffic. The issue here is privacy. Even though the stores are closed by 9 or 10 pm, a surprising amount of traffic still moves through the parking lot. I’ve even caught some people sitting in their cars late at night facing my condo.

And before you say I’m paranoid, I started using my green chairs as a shield to hide myself from people’s views. One night, I noticed a car sitting in the lot. I moved the chair to block their view. Moments later, the car moved. I moved the chair a second time, and third time – and the car moved with it too. I finally got up and put a towel over the railing. And wouldn’t you know it – the car left.

So, I searched the internet high and low for options. I even asked some Reddit groups on what to do. We can’t hang anything and we can’t block visibility of the balcony deck.

I considered room dividers but they were too expensive. The easiest answer would have been shades – but they are no longer allowed as they “block management from seeing what’s on the balcony.” And so, yesterday, I discovered that Rona had a sale on a privacy latte. For $25 per piece!

I ordered this 4×8 ft slab, and it works pretty well.

My friend Wally picked this up for me and helped me set it up. What would I do without him? We had a chat over how much sun it blocks. And while people can still see through the holes, this little fence gives me that sense of security that I needed more than anything. Plus I love the pattern that the sun casts on the rug.

After Wally left, I hummed and hawed about the height. The main idea was to have something minimal that wouldn’t be too obvious to someone walking by. And unfortunately, this fence was just too high for my liking. It definitely needs to be cut by a professional with a saw.

But for now, I got a little crafty. The fence bends a little and so I came up with this:

The fence is tied with string – but you can’t see that from the street. This isn’t a perfect solution but for now — it works!

I also decided to leave the left part of the fence open so that the condo board can still see the balcony. Technically, this doesn’t break any rules. And I think it looks really pretty.

Condo decorating continues

And so, the evolution of my balcony continues. I really wish we could hang little flower pots on the railings because it would look so cute. I’m looking at alternatives for next summer. Like maybe a plant stand and then hang metal flower pots. But we’ll see how it goes.

My next focus is on how to keep the area warm for fall. Sitting outside last night was COLD. I had a towel with me but I think I need to get an outdoor blanket too.

I’m also looking at outdoor heaters. Luckily, the balcony does have an electric outlet. So, I’m searching Etsy and Amazon for ideas. Maybe Canadian Tire or Home Depot will have something affordable in a heater. That way, I can cozy up with a lantern, a blanket, a cup of coffee, and read books on my Ipad – if it ever gets here.

I also want to get some soft white lights to hang in the kitchen window. Again, technically, that doesn’t break any rules. They will be inside – but visible from outside. And in December, I plan on hanging some lights – I just don’t know where yet. I’ll keep it simple with white or LED lights. There are so many things to choose from!

The other thing that I am excited about is that I finally ordered a sofa for my living room. I’m still searching for slipcovers for my red chairs. Once that project is done, I’ll share some photos. But one step at a time. Decorating is so expensive!

Stay tuned for home living updates and project ideas! For now you can read related posts under my “Home Living” category. Or just use the right side bar to select your category of choice. As you can tell, I write about anything and everything that sparks my interest With fall fast approaching, my main focus is on home living and making my new home cozy and comfortable for the winter months.

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