Friday, April 25, 2008

garage sale heaven

Well, as I mentioned last week, garage sale season is really starting to warm up! I just checked the listings, and found at least 30 that are going on right now and this weekend! Using their website is an easy way to check out listings in Kitsap County, and you can click on each one for more details.

To inspire you to get out there and take advantage of the deals, I'll let you in on a few of my finds from last weekends Rotary Annual Garage Sale. I spent a total of $17 and got: a nice solid oak swivel desk chair, an upholstered queen headboard, and an old art book with prints in it. Not bad, right? Well now, of course each of these purchases beg for a little redesigning. The chair, I painted light blue to match the decor of my newly painted office. It looked fine on its own, it just needed an injection of personality.

The headboard is going to be a bigger project than I expected, as the lining on the back was slightly mildewed. I will have to remove all of the soft coverings and invest a little more money on purchasing new foam and padding. This headboard symbolizes both the beauty and the beast of garage sales: the beautiful low price of $5, and the beastly water damage that I did not see upon purchasing. My advice to you: look at the pieces carefully for damage that is either irreparable or too expensive to undertake. That bargain of deal may just not be worth it. In the case of my headboard , I can still salvage the wood frame, which will jump start a project I have been wanting to do for quite some time.

The little art book will be useful in augmenting my stash of pieces for a gallery wall I am planning in the office. I have already marked the pages I intend to rip out and mat in inexpensive frames. They will add some much need depth and breadth to the collection I am going to hang.

There were three other pieces that I thought were deserving of good homes, but would have put me over my $20 limit for the day. All of these pieces had nice lines and were in very solid condition. The desk, while modern, would be a style statement in any home office. The small upholstered chair cries out for a new, fresh fabric and painted legs. The wooden captain's chair would be great in shiny black with a graphic fabric seat cushion. Place it at the head of the dining table, at your desk, or in your bedroom.

Just a few ideas to stimulate your creativity. Keep an open mind when garage sale-ing. Once you get that steal of a deal at home, the possibilities to give it a new life that reflects your decor are virtually endless!

fraiche cup

An unexpected place to find sweet little treasures ( of the inedible variety) is the Fraiche Cup coffee shop in downtown Bremerton. Close to the ferry terminal and the beautiful new waterfront park, Fraiche Cup offers several design surprises. Aside from their wonderfully delicious pastries and Torrefazione Italia coffee drinks, you will find a seasonal mix of melamine dinnerware, gift/decor items and a rotating gallery of artwork to purchase. There are even few good design magazines to browse through while you sip your drink of choice in comfy leather club chairs.

The original artwork currently featured at the shop is by local artist, Jenna. More of her edgy work and her contact information can be found at

I was also really inspired by the lighting! They have the cutest collection of pendants hanging over the coffee bar. A take on this concpet would really cozy up a dining room, eat in kitchen, or reading nook.

Fraiche Cup is a joint effort by Jennifer Kreifels and Kim Beckett. Next time you are in need of a fun hostess gift, stop in and see what's new! You can also find Fraiche Cup's yummy drinks at the Sun Prairie Trading Company , a great gift store in the Silverdale Mall.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

fancy watch tower

Every cat needs a watch tower. A post from which to view the goings-on outside: especially in our back yard. It is like the Get-Along-Gang out there. A small family of Raccoons: Rocky, Roger, Rodney and Rachel. Several stray cats: Heathcliff, Calamity, Jane, Cheetarah, Panthro, Scratchy, Marbles and Trashy. And of course, the squirrels(Rocket and Randall) and birds (Rebecca and Old Blue).

There is no need, however, for this "pride rock" of the house to be ugly. For three years our cats, Max and Basie, have used that stool to observe the world which they dare not venture out in. From Colorado to Washington, this stool has seen it all. It was high time for a makeover.

Light blue paint ties it in with the decor in the dining room, but sets it off from the apricot colored walls. The damask stencil in black adds a little graphic punch and a nod to the black lacquered wine cabinet nearby. It only took two light coats of paint to get the job done, and now the cats are watching in style.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

art gallery wall

domino magazine

I have always wanted to do this. Something about the mixing of related but unique works of art, collected over time, on one common wall says home to me. Seeing these two photographs on, along with the feature on Drew Barrymore's film studio offices the April issue, has inspired me. Although I am not quite ready to undertake it, I have decided to dedicate a wall in my office to this salon style art hanging.

If you don't have enough pieces to create a cohesive collection, scour antique and second-hand stores,keeping an open mind. Look for works whose subject matter are related, such as landscapes or portraits, or for pieces that simply have a pleasing color palette. No need to worry about the varying frames; either go with the eclectic look or paint them all the same color to unify the group. Consider old postcards and photographs, which can usally be found for a buck or two a piece. I found a small art history book at the RAGS sale for $2. It contains nice color prints, for which I'll purchase used frames to put my favorites in.

Properly hanging them might seem like a daunting task, however, there are ways to simplify and reduce the number of mistakes. Trace the outline of each piece on craft or butcher paper. Tape the shapes to the wall with painter's tape until you get the right configuration. For a more formal arrangement, create a grid pattern with the templates. If you want a more casual cozy feel, be random with your spacing. While doing this, don't forget to consider the furniture that will be below it, be sure to hang items at least 10" above the top of the piece.

Displaying art work in numbers is a sure way to provide visual impact. Doing it on the cheap makes it painless to rotate pieces out when the seasons change or the mood strikes you. I'll let you know when I've get mine done!

Shops to try in the Puget Sound area:
The Anne Bonny in Seattle
Simply Renewed in downtown Bremerton
Olde Central Antique Mall in Port Orchard

Monday, April 21, 2008

bulletin board cluster

Got a messy bulletin board? Here is an idea: try using more than one. How about one for each family member? Or one for each type of item to be kept at the ready: invitations, bus schedules, take out menus, and snapshots.
I decided that my little one wasn't cutting it on his own. So, I covered three painter's canvases with fabric swatches, hung them in a nice little cluster on the wall, and I was organized. One for appointments/save-the-date type items, one for memorabilia, and one for the ferry and bus schedules that we refer to on a daily basis. Plus they make more of an impact when hung tight together, especially if you use really cute fabrics to coordinate them.
To keep the boards from getting cluttered, remove dated items as soon as the event has passed, and rotate old photos out instead of adding new ones on top of them. You can find the pre-stretched canvas in many sizes at art and craft supply stores, and often fabric stores will have fabric remnants at extremely reduced prices. Sometimes just a scrap is enough to do something creative with!