Thrifty Thursday - Miss Nancy Drew

February 28, 2013

A few months ago I shared with you my thrifting find of some Hardy Boys books, and explained my rather short-sighted decision as an early teen to sell my collection of Nancy Drew books which I regretted almost immediately.

Over the years I’ve spotted some Nancy drew books at antique stores and markets, but they’ve always been priced at from $6-8 each which I’m unwilling to spend (especially when you consider the guy who bought my rather extensive collection got the whole thing for something ridiculous like $10).

After Christmas I went into a Value village and look what I spotted: 
Vintage Nancy Drew books between lion bookends
Yay! They were priced at $1.49 each, but when you buy 4 you get the 5th free. So for $12 I’ve restarted my collection.

PS - I always thought that if I ever had a little girl I’d share with her the Nancy Drew series that I loved so much as a child. They were my first big-girl chapter books and I spent hours reading and rereading the pages. Since finding the books above I’ve reread some of them, and I may change my mind – there are some things in the books my modern female self has some issues with, so that plan might have to rethought.

Before & After

My DIY Foyer Rug

February 27, 2013

My apartment has wood floors which I love even though they're not in perfect shape. What I don’t love is the amount of ‘stuff’ that gets tracked in from outside. Even though I have to walk across my building's entry rugs, and then climb a carpeted staircase and down a carpeted hallway before I get to my unit a lot of stuff gets tracked in on my shoes and boots. It’s winter here in Canada, so there’s the salt and sand that gets thrown down to treat slippery sidewalks and driveways, and the snow that melts and gets everywhere no matter how hard you try to bang it lose before coming inside. When I moved into my apartment the previous owner left behind an entry mat which I used for the first full winter I lived here, but it wasn’t a really great solution – the above mentioned salt, sand and melted snow made a daily mess of my foyer, and I tired quickly of mopping and sweeping it on an almost daily basis, not to mention the damage the stuff was doing to the hardwood.
My Foyer with its wood floors and numerous doorways
My Foyer with its wood floors and numerous doorways
I looked high and low for a rug I could use in the space, but I had two problems – the room is small (It’s about 5’x8’ but has 6 doors so a 4’x6 rug wouldn’t work) and as is common in old buildings, the floors are uneven. In my foyer the floor in front of my front door rises a bit, which means the addition of a regular, even flat-woven, rug impossible as the door would get stuck.

After a few trials and errors with various rugs I schlepped home on the subway I came to the conclusion that if I wanted something for my floor I’d have to make it myself. After a while Google introduced me to the idea of floor cloths. While I like to consider myself handy and creative, I’m also pretty lazy, so I figured instead of painting a pattern on blank canvas I’d just buy some fabric with a pattern I liked instead.

I found some navy and fuchsia stripped fabric at King Textiles that I quite liked. The only problem was it was a bit stretchy, and not wide enough to fill my odd-shaped foyer. One seam, and some iron-on interfacing and I had the base of my rug. I then quickly hemmed the four edges to make it the right size (I'm a bag blogger and didn’t take any photos – but I’m sure you can imagine it – it’s was very simple).

I could have left it like that, but I wanted my cloth to be somewhat water-resistant as I knew I’d be standing on it in snowy boots. I laid out a big sheet of plastic and then laid my new ‘rug’ on it, and then proceeded to paint it with polyurethane. I had a half can leftover from a previous project and I figured that would be more than enough – I was wrong. The fabric soaked up the urethane like a sponge, so I ended up using another full can.

My next task was figuring out a way to prevent my new rug from sliding all over the place. Traditional rug pads wouldn’t work because they added too much thickness and prevented the door from being opened. I had pinned this on Pinterest sometime last year and I figured it would solve my problem, and it did – sort of.
Rug slip-proofing tip - image via
Rug slip-proofing tip - Via
While the caulking did prevent my new rug from becoming an indoor slip 'n slide it wasn’t ideal for the thin material I was using – after a while the lines of caulk because visible through the fabric, and I worried that eventually there would be permanent wear marks where the caulk was. 
Caulk on the back of a rug to prevent slipping
Luckily a while after I started using the mat I was at Ikea when I spotted their extra-thin rug underlay, and it works quite well without adding that dreaded bulk.
My DIY foyer rug in place
My DIY foyer rug in place
I’ve lived with my DIY rug for a few months now and I really like it. I sweep it to get rid of the dirt I do track in and an occasional damp mop gets rid of the salt and water marks. I love the bright graphic stripes, and the fuchsia picks up the colour of the flowers in the art print I have hanging on the wall.

What do you think? Would you ever consider trying to make your own rug?


Something Different

February 20, 2013

I haven't posted anything here in a while – my apologies for that. If you recall I’m on the Board of Directors for my building, and we’re proposing replacing all the windows (all 112 of them). The ‘Big’ meeting is tomorrow and the owners will vote on our proposal so we’ve been busy getting everything organised. As I write this there is about 21 hrs to go before the meeting and I have no idea if all the work that went into this proposal will be enough to get it passed. Keep your fingers crossed.

I’m going to stray away quite a bit from what I normally write about here and share with you something that a couple of friends posted on Facebook that I thought was moving and quite powerful. I hope you take a few minutes to watch it.
This spoken work poem was done by Shane Koyczan, and if his voice and style seem familiar it's for good reason – he’s the amazing poet who performed his poem ‘We Are More’ at the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympic games.
PS - I know the video is a little ‘heavy’, so if you want to see something that will make you say ‘aww’ I highly recommend this one.

Before & After

Thrifty Thursday–It’s for the Birds

February 07, 2013

I haven’t always loved thrifting. Growing up my mom would go to the thrift store every so often to drop off some stuff we didn’t need anymore, and while there she would normally browse the books since there were usually lots of read-only-once books for about $0.50. I didn’t like to go into the store with her because thrift stores have a certain smell that, as a child, I couldn’t stand.

Over the past year or so I’ve developed a deep love of thrifting which in all honesty I blame squarely on blogs. Before I started this one, and reading so many others, I never went thrifting. Now, every time I read a post about someone's wonderful find I find myself plotting my next thrifting adventure. I don’t know if it’s the thrill of not knowing what you’ll find, or the crazy belief that one day I’ll walk into a thrift store an discover an original Eames lounge chair and ottoman with pristine leather, but I now recognise that ‘Thrift store smell’ for what it really is – buried treasure.

The other day I was looking around my home and I realised that over the last few months I’ve collected a number of thrifty finds that I haven’t told you about, so I’m starting Thrifty Thursdays – where I blog about some of the random things I’ve found – some of which I’m leaving as is, and some I’ve made improvements to.

A few months ago I was in value village when I spotted this rather gaudy little guy for $2.
Thrift store ceramic parrot
Now, normally I would have just walked right by (the picture doesn’t do the colours justice – they were bad, and they were also rubbed off in some places), but earlier that day I had been in HomeSense where I had spotted this guy for $25 and for a moment was tempted to bring him home.
Ceramic parrot at HomeSense
Ceramic Parrot - HomeSense - $25
I bought my ugly new find home, and after a bit of spray paint and some felt to cover the bottom (leftover from this project) I had a decidedly less ugly bird statue, and all for just $2.
thrift store parrot painted white
What do you think? Would you have brought him home? Or would you have left him to languish in misery on the thrift store shelf?

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