I Brake For Yard Sales {Book Review}

Hey all,

I was very fortunate to receive MANY design books for my birthday this year.

 

So many options, where do I start?

So many options, where do I start?

 

For those of you who know me, and my addiction to HGTV, you know that I squeal with delight every time I am able to catch Flea Market Flip. I dream of being on that show, scouring the flea market to find different items to flip and resell for a profit. What a dream.

Well, Flea Market Flip is hosted by the lovely Lara Spencer, a veteran flea marketer and home designer/TV personality. Her perky, funky style is apparent throughout the show. So when I found out that she had written a book chock full of tips and ideas, I decided that I must have it. And so, it brings me to her book, I Brake for Yard Sales (And Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster).

 

Don't you already love it? Just based on the colorful, happy cover? Where did she get that fabric...

Don’t you already love it? Just based on the colorful, happy cover? Where did she get that fabric…

 

She begins her book discussing how she got the thrifting, picking, and flea marketing bug. This, for sure, is a familial trait. Her mother was very into thrifting and now, Lara has made it her own family activity (sometimes bringing her kids for the fun). What a sweet anecdote to get the ball rolling.

Lara then begins to discuss the ways to define your style. She thinks that most styles fall into several categories and most importantly, find the things that make you happy in your styling. Embrace the whimsy, glamorous, or whatever else makes you happy! Don’t walk away from things that you will regret later (a BIG flea market lesson learned on many occasions).

 

I love the juxtaposition of her buying the sign and then showing how she actually used it in her own home.

I love the juxtaposition of her buying the sign and then showing how she actually used it in her own home.

 

Throughout her book, Lara provides GREAT tips and encouragement. She gives ideas for where to go, how to remake pieces and give them new life, and how much some projects have cost. I find that some of the insets are the most helpful, with lists about raw materials to explain patterns or descriptors to help you identify REAL quality pieces that may need some help (check for antique stamping!). She shares these tips and ideas while showing how she has decorated her homes with her own finds. Lara even shows some before and after shots, highlighting just how easy it is to breathe new life into a tired piece. Though, she also gives you great warnings for things to avoid (peeling veneer, etc). There was just so much in this book that I loved. In fact, while reading, I couldn’t stop myself from Instagramming one of the most important pages!

 

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What a clever way to phrase the flea marketing essentials! Though I love picking, there are many times when I feel under prepared, rushed, or like I’m missing bits of the experience. This list is necessary. Don’t forget, cash is king in flea markets!

 

I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a great read. Overall, I highly recommend this book. It’s a wonderful resource to just pull inspiration from the colorful pages or remember a great resource for flea marketing. She even includes a list of places she frequents across the country (I smell a road trip in my future). For my fellow DIY-ers, HGTV enthusiasts, and bargain hunters: this book is for you!

 

XOXO,

Ashley

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A Porch to be Proud Of {Updating our Deck Furniture}

Hey everyone,

 If you remember MONTHS and MONTHS ago, we used to have all our deck furniture in a deep red. And though, I’m always partial to that color, I wanted to update the deck and give it a real face lift. Plus, the spray paint I used didn’t adhere well to the old, vinyl straps. So after two years, it was peeling pretty horribly.

So originally, I decided to paint the table and chairs in a bright blue. Scott wasn’t happy with the thought of MORE BLUE in the house, or around the house for that matter, so I decided to mix it up.

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Can’t go wrong with a bright blue! Can go wrong with spray painting while the outdoor unit of your HVAC is on (sorry dude). I painted the table and two chairs blue and the other two chairs went bright green.

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A little blue, a little green. What perky colors to see through our kitchen window!

These colors matched the plant stands I painted a few weeks ago, which made the whole deck look like a cohesive space. Plus, my grandmother gifted us a fun and funky umbrella for the deck, which also incorporated all the colors and more! I’m still searching for an orange color to repaint our white plant stand. It needs a little perk. But with our happy new window boxes that hang off the deck and all the flowers in full summer bloom, I think our deck looks pretty good!

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See! Even Truman is satisfied with the changes.

 

XOXO,

Ashley

Baubles, Bangles, and Beads {Christmas DIY}

Hey y’all,

I promise, I promise! This is my last Christmas DIY-present update. Okay, well maybe not. But I’ll at least keep this one short, sweet, and gorgeous (if I do say so myself…).

Last Christmas, we gave my grandmother a beautiful pair of earrings. They were large, golden, and had a great filigree that housed a emerald green stone. This year, besides giving her many pictures from my brother’s several milestones this year, I decided that she needed to complete her set. She continually talks about the comments and compliments that the earrings get, so why not have a great necklace to go with it? Also, much like myself, she enjoys a sparkly accessory from time to time. And if there’s anyone my grandmother loves, it’s good old Martha Stewart (not old in that way…oh you know what I mean).

I searched online for a great tutorial for beading, especially easy for a beading beginner, and came upon this one. Martha had very specific restrictions for the beads, beading cord, and ribbon. And I, of course, could find NONE of these supplies. I went to my favorite crafting haunts and quickly realized that I wasn’t going to find anything to fit the bill. So I set out to complete this with her tutorial as a guide.

I did follow the first few directions exactly. These directions work perfectly for securing the ribbon, a huge part that I did not want to mess up. Unfortunately, I didn’t want the black beading cord that I found to show as it does in the tutorial version, so this is where I went on my own. I used two packs of some BEAUTIFUL beads that I found at JoAnn’s. The green seemed perfect, not only to match those fantastic earrings, but for my grandmother’s love of jewel tones. I used every bead, strung all of them onto my beading cord, and finished it off the same way that the tutorial explained. This was probably the most difficult section. You have to be careful to knot the cord precisely the first time. If you don’t, you’ll curse yourself to get the knot out and it won’t look finished. You want to make sure that you do this correctly, because who wants a DIY gift that actually LOOKS DIY. I wanted it to look like the super cute bow tied necklaces that you can find in stores. I hope I replicated the look well. What do you think?

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Aren’t the beads just beautiful? If you double the cord through and carefully knot, you won’t even notice your cord work around the ribbons.

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I just love the colors. It was pretty easy, once I picked the beads, to find the coordinating ribbon. And if you have a great local craft store, you don’t have to buy the whole spool of ribbon, but can just get exactly what you need by the yard.

Her immediate reaction to the gift was awesome. She loved the color and asked straight away if this was a handmade gift. But, best of all, she asked if it was going to be a blog post. So here you go Grandmomma! Hope you love your new beads!

XOXO,

Ashley

Retro-Upgrade: Metal Pin Headbands

Hey all,

This was a craft, once again, inspired by mi familia! I was very fortunate to receive all of my great-aunt’s metal pins. I couldn’t imagine, in their original state, what I could possibly do with them. I’m not a pin or brooch kind of gal, so I certainly wasn’t going to wear them as-is. But I also wasn’t willing to part with them. It became quickly apparent that though I’m not a brooch kind of gal, I am a headband wearing fiend. I love outlandish, fascinator-eque headbands with flowers, pearls, and feathery fluff. It’s rare that I go anywhere without a bun and a headband. So why not make a few of my own out of these awesome, adorable pins?

During my run for Christmas crafting supplies, I stopped in the beading/adornment section of my local craft store. I zeroed in on the satin covered headbands. Though I do have a few headbands with the metal base, when I wear these with my glasses, my head hates me for it. So I figured I would go with the most comfortable option. After choosing two thin (about a half inch wide) and one wide (one inch wide) bands, I headed home and got to work.

Seems easy, right?

Seems easy, right?

At first, I thought this craft would take me less than ten minutes. But of course, nothing is as it seems. I used the pin back and stuck in into the headband. It seemed to work, and in the above picture it looks fine, but I wasn’t impressed. Wearing the headband, I could feel the pin slide about and shake whenever I moved. Not happy with that, since I would be in constant motion at work wearing these. AND, if you look closely, you still see the shiny gold pinbacks. Not impressed. Needless to say, I had to change my strategy.

I took the pin off of the headband and thought for a bit. I wanted the headband to fit flush against the headband, as to remove any moving or shaking. This required my hand strength to twist and move the pins, pulling off the clasps without harming the actual pin. You have to be VERY careful because sometimes they are assembled as one piece, so you break one part, the pin disintegrates. But after you remove the pin clasp, a simple application of a TON of hot-glue and some stable holding, you’ve got some great new headbands.

And voila! Adorable headbands that are sure to make all my little girl students jealous.

And voila! Adorable headbands that are sure to make all my little girl students jealous.

I decided to group a few of the pins that were smaller and similarly colored. They’ll go great with my super colorful outfits. The black and white headband has a HUGE flower, so unless I wanted to feel like I had a massive amount of weight on top of my head, I wasn’t going to add anything to it. I’m pretty excited about these guys, but now I can’t decide which to wear first!

XOXO,

Ashley

 

PS- The headband bases cost less than $5 (coupons, coupons!). So with glue and the pins, this was a really easy, affordable project!