Future Frugal Friday: ReFurbishing Furniture

This past Friday was a mom-must-stay-offline-at-all-costs-so-she-cleans Friday.

But Saturday I did some frugaling and got an Amish rocking chair for $30.

As soon as I saw it from afar, I knew it would need new fabric. Should be easy enough, right? I have seen furniture that was reupholstered using towels. Here’s what it looks like now:

There are also some tears  in the fabric, so I will need to reupholster it anyway.

The sad thing is, after I had bought it and driven away, I realized that it came from a smoker’s home. Flashbacks ensued to the nightmare that was the first bed frame LT and I bought. After 2 hours of cleaning and scraping tar off of the wood, we gave up and returned it, whether they would give us our money back or not.

But I have been wanting a rocking chair like this for about forever, and for $30, even the slightest possibility I can get rid of the smoke smell is enough to get me motivated.

I am thankful, though, because before I went to the hardware store to find some heavy duty sand paper, I googled refinishing old furniture (I don’t want to mess it up) and I came across a video tutorial by Eric Stromer! If you don’t know who Eric Stromer is (at least by face and hair), you don’t watch HGTV. All the ladies LOVE Eric. And you want to know why? It isn’t his flowing, golden locks (a la Prince Charming from the Shrek movies), or the fact that he is a manly carpenter man in a world full of  women and flamboyant interior decorators. It is because in one of his shows, he would dip his fingers into the paint and smear the color onto the wall with his hands. Men: feel free to try that move the next time you and your lady are painting a room. I can’t guarantee results.

Anyway, I am having trouble embedding the video, so click here to see it..

Usually I am against using chemicals when I can help it, but the extra “kick” might dig deeper and get the nicotine smell out, too. I’ll see. I’m going to have to get a sitter, though, so my little man isn’t anywhere near the garage when I am using the stuff.

I am really excited and a little terrified to rework this chair. If all goes well, I think it will be a great addition to our work-in-progress bedroom!

Who knows when I will get the chance to work on this baby, but I will post updates on the progress I make :)

P.S. Can’t wait for my tutorial on reupholstering? Check this video out.

Frugal Friday-March forth!

(see what I did there, with the title? My wit sometimes amazes even myself. Of course this time, it actually wasn’t my wit…it was somebody else’s. C’est la vie)

In honor of todays overwhelming victory at the on-base thrift store, I now declare Fridays to be Frugal Fridays. On this blog, at least. It’s about time I had a theme going. You know, besides the whole motherhood/baby blogging thing I’ve got going on.

Anyway, I won’t normally go over my spoils online because, let’s face it, it might get depressing if you can’t find deals yourself. Why should I rub my glorious boons in your face and gloat? First, I said boons, not that other thing. Second, if I rubbed it in your face, you wouldn’t mind, because most of my finds actually smell good. Third, gloat rhymes with goat.

[Thrifting is my drug. I am so high right now]

Frugal tip of the day: BAG SALES

I’m so cheap, I hunt the clearance rack at thrift sales. I’m so cheap, I shop at the Goodwill outlet. I’m so cheap, I go to bag sales and can get name brand clothing for more than 99% off.

Yeah. Let that just brew for a minute.

Just don’t let it steep too long, or it will get bitter.

(HahaHA! Another double entendre! Okay, sorry.)

EXAMPLE #1: I have bought a number of hardback books (vintage, which I use to decorate my house; and new ones, which I use as reference books) at library bag sales. I think the last one I went to I got a paper bag full of books for $3. That was well over a dozen books.

EXAMPLE #2: Thrift stores. Once a month, the thrift store here on base has bag sales where you pay $6 per paper bag of clothing. The only catch is that the volunteers have to stuff the bags for you. Even so, here’s what I got for a whopping $6.

oh yeah, and this belt.

Here’s a break down of all that was stuffed into one paper bag (plus the belt):

that bolero/cover up is one of my absolute favorites. The jacket is American Eagle. The striped sweater is the only thing I will have to return. Even though it was an XL, I’d have to cut off my arms to make it fit. What is it with Old Navy and ridiculously tight sleeves?

I say “dresses” because the first two are dresses, the third a shirt/dress, and the fourth a flannel tunic-type shirt, and the fifth a long zip up sweater. The Navy & white (love!) polka dotted one is going to be a future project…I’m going to turn it into a vest and a pleated skirt.

Were you keeping track? If I counted correctly, that’s 25 articles for $6.

That’s $0.24 each.

Here’s what else I got:

Another thrifty tip: Shop the kids’ section if you can! I have tiny feet. My prom shoes were the uber cultural “Kids Connection” brand. My preschoolers and I matched. Pretty sure I still have them—they are great shoes! I also buy socks and plain T-shirts from the boys’ section at Walmart. (Plain White Ts…good band.)

I can’t remember what these are called—my Father in-law would know. They are for Marines and Sailors to keep their medals, pins, ribbons, insignia, etc. in. LT already has a nice one, but I am pretty sure he does not have a box designated to keep letters in. I have a little box I have put all my letters from him in, so this one is for him to put letters from his clever wife in.

This vase is truly terrifying, yes. The form is quite lovely. Why someone would think of painting ceramic with olive green and gold—and use matte paint on top of that—is thoroughly beyond me. So here’s hoping some nail polish remover will get all that nastiness off. If you have other ideas, feel free to send them my way.

The cherub is going to go into our bedroom, which I am decorating in a vintage, French country style with a white, ivory, champagne, and suede color scheme with hints of blues and rose pinks. The feminine lace will be balanced with masculine, wood furniture. I am entirely excited. It is a work-in-progress.

Speaking of works-in-progress, I found a bunch of patterns. I am going to be making curtains for our bedroom, so finding a pattern was nice, since I had planned to just wing it. The skirts and dresses are for me, and the children’s clothing are for next decade when I have a brood of children, can sew, and am the next Julie-Andrews-Maria-von-Trapp.

Those aren’t polka dots. They’re polka STARS. RAINBOW POLKA STARS. Woa.

And…my absolute FAVORITE finds of the day:


A vintage elephant for Champ’s room. I thought I might paint it, but love the wood, so I think I will paint the wheels (yellow or green?) and then sand the edges again.


Three retro, blue suitcases. I saw the one and got all giddy. Then I picked it up and it was pretty heavy, so I opened it up to find another one inside! For $5, I felt like I was committing grand larceny, as I have been wanting old suitcases to use for decoration & storage. Then, when I got home, I opened the second one AND ANOTHER ONE WAS INSIDE. This was more exciting than opening the Babushka dolls I always wanted but never had. So, that makes three. And if you forget anything else about design, you should know that odd numbers are always infinitely more awesome than even numbers. (You can always split an even number into two sets of odd numbers, fyi.)

And that’s the end. I am soo soo happy and hyper and happy that though Champ did a volcano impression and puked all over myself and himself a couple of hours ago, I am still on cloud nine hundred and ninety nine.

Adieu, to you and you and you.