Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thrifty Thursday # 43-plus a Tablescape

Hi! It's Thrifty Thursday! I am your host, Leigh. Thank you so much for stopping by and additional thanks to those who also participate in Thrifty Thursday! I am most delighted to have you join in..for it's YOU who makes it a "show and tell party". I also participate in Tablescape Thursday the host of that fun carnival is the Hostess with the Mostess-Susan of Between Naps on the Backporch. That's no lie or exaggeration, each week I visit Susan's porch and just long to be a guest at any of her tablescapes...especially those held on the porch.
(You can click on any pictures for a closer view)
*If you do not know what Thrifty Thursday is or need more info on Thrifty Thursday you can go here.

*Don't forget to copy and paste the Thrifty Thursday logo button to your computer so you can add it to your side bar and your Thrifty Thursday post. That way visitors will know that your are participating in Thrifty Thursday.

Last Thrifty Thursday Marion, aka, Miss Mustard Seed shared some wonderful tips and suggestions on Thrifting.  I asked her if she would be a guest blogger today in Bloggeritaville and share her tips here for anyone that missed it. She was very kind to oblige. And now, here is Marion...

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is how I find such wonderful things at ridiculously low prices. Today, I am going to share the secrets of my thrifting success. Unfortunately, I can't help with the most important aspect of finding great things (luck), but I do think you can improve your chances by following some easy tips.

1.) A.B.H. - Always be hunting. There are times when I go out to intentionally look for things, but I hunt even when I am not hunting. I even look up thrift store locations to hit when I'm traveling. There have been many times that I have yelled, "stop the car!" or done a (sometimes illegal) u-turn to check out a yard sale or piece of furniture on the side of the road when we're running an errand. I found this French style sofa at a yard sale for $50.00 while on the way to a Labor Day picnic.

2.) Be willing to roll up your sleeves and dig. Junking can be dirty work. If you're not willing to dig through boxes, hurdle chairs, or brush off some cobwebs, you might miss some of the best finds. I found this chandelier late in the day while I was out yardsaling. The reason it wasn't snatched up earlier was it was in a pathetic looking box that no one else had bothered to opened! The chandelier was in pieces, but all of the crystals were there and I knew it could easily be rewired. I ended up paying $4.00 for it! 3.) See what something can be, not what it is. Having a vision for a piece is a gift, but I do believe it can be learned through trial and error. If you spend $1.00 on a piece of furniture (like I did on this table below), it's ok if you mess it up and it ends up in the trash. Know your limits if you're going to spend more than $20 on a piece, though. If you are just not gifted with the vision, bring along a friend who is. (And remember, you don't have to use a piece the way it was intended. Have an open mind.)

4.) When buying furniture, look for quality. Most of the furniture I buy looks like it's in pretty sad shape, but I always look for some key things. Make sure it's solid wood, has dove-tailed drawers, quality construction, and good lines. Stay away from pieces that have been poorly repaired, are stapled, made of "press board", have severe water damage, are missing pieces that would be costly to replicate, or ones that are saturated with smoke. I know some brave souls who take these pieces on (and I have on occasion), but as a rule it's not worth it. Again, know your limits.

5.) Buy what you love. You will never go wrong buying things that you love and that "speak to you." It's easy to get swayed by trends or to be tempted into buying something just because it's cheap. Trust me, if you don't love it, it won't stay in your house for very long. I love ironstone, so I buy almost every piece I come across that's reasonably priced and I rarely pay more than $5.00 a piece.
6.) Don't be scared to "dumpster dive" and pick up furniture off the side of the road. Sometimes people just want to get rid of a perfectly good piece of furniture. I'm not sure why they stick it out on their curb instead of donating it to a thrift store, but I'm glad there are people like that! It can be a little embarrassing, even scary to pull your van over and pick up a piece off the curb. "Am I going to get yelled at for stealing? Are people going to think I'm crazy?" Possibly...sure, but I've never had the former happen and I'm sure the latter happens all the time. I'm ok with people thinking I'm nuts. This chair was our most recent curb freebie. It was a little wet from sitting in the rain for the morning, but surprisingly it didn't stink and was in great condition. It just needs a slipcover.
7.) Talk to people. Just about everyone I know, knows that I love antiques, vintage pieces, furniture, whatever. And I have people offer things to me all the time because of this. I get freebies from family members, friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, lots of unexpected places. I even talk to people at yard sales to see if they have more furniture that they are looking to get rid of. You wouldn't believe some of the things people have pulled out of their garages to sell to me for a few dollars. I'll leave my card with people who are selling good furniture at reasonable prices and tell them to call me when they want to get rid of anything else. I also get to know the people who work at my local thrift stores. They'll often give me a better price on something because they know me. I got the piece pictured below (salvaged from a sewing factory in Gettysburg) from a woman at the parking authority when I was paying to rent a spot for the day. She told me that she was moving and wanted to get rid of some things and invited me over to see if there was anything I wanted! She gave me several of these interesting wooden pieces, some antique windows and shutters.

This beautiful 100+ year old piano was given to us for free as well. It didn't sell at our church yard sale, so the receptionist asked my husband if I would like it. My sweet guy rented a U-haul, enlisted some help, and surprised me with it one evening. In addition, the owner of the piano gave us an antique pram that was in mint condition. I also got a ridiculous amount of antiques and furniture from my neighbor, including this pocket watch for $2.00 (and it still works.)8.) It's ok if something isn't perfect. In fact, you should expect that it won't be. There are a lot of things that have been and are currently on my wish list that are very expensive if bought in antique stores in mint condition. I learned that I need to be willing to compromise if I want to get a bargain. I had wanted one of these enamel pitchers for years, but they were always too expensive for me. I finally found one at an antique store for $18.00......the bottom was rusted out, but since I wasn't planning on filling it with water, it wasn't a problem for me. This gorgeous French rocking chair was only $10.00, because it was dirty and there was a rip in the caning. Both things I could either fix or live with. 9.) Get to know Craig. If you have not checked out Craig's List, you must! It's basically an online yard sale. I know "The Craig's List Killer" and stories of robberies and fraud may have frightened some of you away, but that is the rare exception, not the norm. Some Craig's List tips - be particular, never pick up something alone, don't be afraid to negotiate, and if something doesn't sound/feel right, just let it go. I purchased both of these pieces on Craig's List (these are the "after" pictures.) The desk was $15 and the hutch was $30.

10.) Go to Auctions. I went to my first auction a few months ago and I feel like I've been a sucker for years for shopping at antique malls. You can find really cool stuff at rock bottom prices at auctions. I've come home with a van load of furniture and antiques for less than $80. Auctions are amazing. You can check out local sales in your area at Auction Zip. A few tips:

~ Don't get carried away with your bidding (it's very easy to do)
~ Come prepared. You have to take things home with you that night. With small pieces they actually carry it to you and drop it in your lap. Don't bid on something you can't get home or discuss arrangements with the auction house in advance
~ Know how the bidding and payment works. Sometimes you have to pay a buyer's premium at auctions. This means there is a fee added to what your bid was. The auction house I go to charges a fee if you use a credit card and you have to be pre-approved to use a check. Just know what you're dealing with, so there are no surprises.
~ Wait to bid on something until you feel comfortable. Some auctioneers can be very difficult to understand. Make sure you know what's going on before you raise your number. It goes fast and can be confusing.
~ Talk to "auction veterans" and ask questions. Most people are happy to help (as long as you're not bidding on something they want!) You can normally tell the people who are there for fun and the people who are dead serious about it. Talk to the former, not the latter!

The woman who owns our shop found this antique toy phone in a box with other vintage toys for $4.00. I loved it so much she gave it to me. This would've cost a great deal more in an antique shop.

So, get out there and score some junk! I hope this is helpful and valuable information. I get giddy about finding things, so I am happy to pass my secrets along to you!

Thank you Marion, "Miss Mustard Seed", those are wondeful tips. I appreciate you sharing them here today in Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thursday! You can read more of Miss Mustard Seeds blog by clicking here.

decorative painting & murals
Today is also Tablescape Thursday, which is hosted by Susan of Between Naps on the Porch.

All of the tablescape wares can be purchased at Harmony Landing in Homewood, Alabama. Eveything from the dishes to the pilgrams and turkeys. (click photo to enlarge)
I invite you to stop by my food blog, PLATES & PLACES, tomorrow for Foodie Friday! All this month I am sharing my families favorite Thanksgiving dishes from main courses to desserts.

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and participating in today's Thrifty Thursday. Please use Mr. Linky below to link up your blog.I encourage you all to spread the love and visit the other thrifty Thursday participants, for that's what half the fun is. Aside from seeing a cool treasure it's making friends!
Thank you, all, FRIENDS! I appreciate YOU!



Swampgirl said...

What great tips! I love the black and white end table. I've passed up several shaped that way because I didn't have a vision....I do now!!!!

Mari said...

I loved looking at all of your finds. Now I know why I don't find things. I need to be always looking! I also don't have the eye that you have. I can't see the beauty in it till it's done. I sure like seeing things through your eyes though!

Gwen said...

Thanks so reading Miss Mustard Seed's tips a bit ago, I went to my first storage unit auction last Friday. Which reminds me...I need to do a post about it!

No finds this week for me, but I will enjoy looking at everyone elses!

nancygrayce said...

Wow! She finds good stuff and knows how to make it look good!

Nicole @ the style hatch said...

I have been curious about auctions, so thanks for the great advice! I love your finds... I hope I am as lucky as you! I hope to join in next week for some thrifty finds of my own!


Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Great post girl I also visit Miss mustard seed I love seeing all she gets and what she does with it...and did you know instead of clicking on pictures to enlarge them...just hold down the Ctrl key and turn your mouse wheel away from you and it will enlarge your blog or any site you go to and want to read larger print...I think I'm all hooked up Leigh so come by and check...Love ya sis...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Jane said...

Hi Leigh:
Thanks for hosting the party! Have a happy Thursday!

Kristin - The Goat said...

Thanks so much Leigh for bringing in a ringer for a guest blogger. We not only got a lot of awesome advice, but some gorgeous photos to go with the examples.

I love going to auctions. My husband and I were auction veterans when we lived in Michigan. We used to go each weekend, sometimes splitting up and going to two separate auctions because we couldn't miss either one. Here in Florida the auction scene is not the same.

Thanks for everything Leigh!
Kristin - The Goat

Diann said...

Couldn't agree more with all the great tips from Marion!

sunnymama said...

Thanks for sharing all these great thrifty tips! :)

Dawn said...

Hey Leigh, I've got some doors for you to drool over. And these are actually usable, unlike my door fence!

Great tips, I'm going to have to pay Miss Mustard Seed a visit!

Barbara Jean said...

That was a post and a half.
Have to go back and finish reading it.
Don't want to miss anything.

thanks for hosting.


barbara jean

Barbara Jean said...

OK I'm back.

Great post!
Good tips and great finds.

Love the hutch!!

blessings and thanks

barbara jean

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the helpful tips! All I need now is luck =). You have found so many wonderful things and were able to find true beauty in them, not many of us have that talent. Thanks for sharing!

Lee @ said...

I'm so happy I found your Thrifty Thursday Party. This is my kind of party :)

Lee @ said...

I could get the button to work on my post. So I just drag/dropped the picture, is that ok? Let me know if you need to me to adjust it somehow. Thanks again for hosting such a fun party!

Keetha Broyles said...

Hello Leigh! Thanks for all the visits you make to my place and all the fun things you say! PT conferences today - - - so I took a short cut as you'll see - - -

Old Time Cindy said...

Hey Leigh...thanks for being such a great hostess and for sharing!
Living it up at Lakewood,

cindy said...

Thanks again for hosting! Love that you featured Miss Mustard Seed's thrifting wisdom. She's so talented!

Doc said...

Great ideas !!

Bama Belle said...

Hey Leigh, I so enjoyed this post! You have an amazing knack for finds I don't seem to have. My mother does. Take for instance our local liqidation place. Went in there did not find anything, the next day Mother goes in and finds these AMAZING wooden bowls! I stink at the Thriftyness and I really wish that I didn't! I ADORE gettting a bargain.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Great post! Really like the table redo. You got a lot of great deals. Thanks for sharing your good advice.

honeysuckle said...

I enjoyed your tips for bargain hunting and especially your wonderful finds. You certainly can see the potential in each thing!

Maggie said...

Hi Leigh,
I'm not joining in today but came over to read your blog, something I try to do as often as possible. I thought I'd leave this little note to let you know I was here and enjoyed reading all the junking advice. I love auctions anf have found many thing in Bayeux that are now scattered throughtout this old house of ours.

What Antique Furniture said...

Great Tips thanks a lot i will become one of your followers

susan said...

Leigh- you have such good tips! I am totally not ashamed to pull that car to the curb!! Homewood always seems to have the best places to shop--wish I could get there!

Miss Mustard Seed said...

Thanks so much for letting me do a guest post today. I also linked up some of my latest finds and mentioned your blog in it. I was unable to grab your button, so I did a link. I'm not sure if it was my problem or yours... Thanks again for hosting this party. I look forward to show & tell here every week.

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Leigh~thanks soooo much for hosting the PARTY!!! Happy Thanksgiving!


Little Lizard King said...

Isn't Miss Mustard Seed the best? P.S. That chandy is gorgeous!

Cass @ That Old House said...

Great tips, Leigh -- thanks for posting them, and thanks to Miss Mustard Seed for compiling them!

One more tip -- Live someplace with a lot of people and turnover of houses. Here in NJ, Craigslist is LOADED with bargains. The antiques and furniture listings alone are huge every day, because of the population.

Love the beautiful things on the tablescape table -- especially those wineglasses. I have only recently begun to lust after colored wine glasses; these are such a rich color!
Have a great T-day!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Jeez is it Thursday again already?! ;-) I eventually remembered what day of the week it was...and linked-up since I had a goody this week. This post was great...these are some of the best repurposes of thrifty castaways that I've ever seen! That hutch is "staged" so nicely...I kind of want the whole thing just as-is.

Funky Junk Interiors said...

Yay! I'm a huge fan of MMS's Marion! Good to see her guesting over here!

I too couldn't brab the button. I think something may be wonky with the code. No matter, I grabbed it as a picture for my linked up blog post. :)

Thanks for hosting!


Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

What great treasures you've shown us today~ Lot's of good advice too.

Christi @ A Southern Life said...

Wonderful treasures. My favorite is the piano. I have my grandmother's upright piano that is very old. I took piano lessons from 2nd grade through college and always practiced on this same piano that I have now. Great memories!

Christi @ A Southern Life

Terra said...

These tips from Miss Mustard Seed are very clever. One thing I see that she has is vision, so she can see a sad old table, etc. and transform it into a treasure.
This is inspiring.