Saturday, August 28, 2010

Details on the Goodwill Makeover

As I promised yesterday, here are some of the details on my master bedroom makeover.
This makeover began after a lucky day at Goodwill.
I found all of these lovely things at one of the three Goodwill thrift shops that I like to frequent.  Most of them were new.  Good etiquette would be to not tell you how much I paid for things.  But this is a makeover--a bargain makeover--so I'm going to tell you.
Notice how many new items I discovered at the thrift store?  This is not uncommon.  Many stores will take damaged items from their shelves and donate them to places like Goodwill, so they can get a tax break.  I could find no damage to any of the linens, other than the fact that they weren't in their original packaging.  The lampshade was only slightly damaged, not enough to stop my from loving it and bringing it home.  Here's a handy tip I learned: at Goodwill, items donated by stores are marked with a gray tag. 

Let's talk makeover, now.  I was happy with the parts of my room that would have cost the most time and money to redo: the furniture and walls.  The walls are a custom color of Behr paint.  Custom because we tweaked the original color to make it work for us.  I call it Creamy Tan.  The furniture was our very first furniture purchase that wasn't a)used b)damaged c)unfinished d)particle board.  It's pretty matchy-matchy, and I know some of you are screaming a your screens, "Paint it white!" but Bionic Man loves natural wood, and I love the Bionic Man, so it's not going to get painted white.  I was also happy with the silk coverlet we have on the bed.

After making sure that the new bedding fit my bed, I switched out the curtains.  Um...the fitted sheet actually didn't fit.  I think it was twin sized.  No problem, it actually matches the bedding in my girls' room, and I had a fitted sheet already that matched.
I removed the old Waverly Vintage Rose curtains that had been on this window since the previous homeowners put them up.  The only new thing I purchased for this room went up next: a set of sheers from one of my all-time favorite discount decor stores, The Christmas Tree Shoppes.  They cost me a whopping $4.99/panel.

I shopped my house for the next layer of curtains, and stole these from my dining room:
Amanda from Serenity Now had told me about some similar curtains that she made from canvas drop cloths, too.  I copied her idea in my will be easy to get another set of drop cloths for the dining room!
After decluttering and vacuuming, I shopped my house for a few accessories, and changed up a few of those with a little spray paint.  I also spray painted my brass lamp from Goodwill.  I used Rustoleum's Painter's Touch in Green Apple Satin for all of these projects ($3.49/can).  I especially love the way the lamp turned out.
I got the idea to paint that old, ugly, brass lamp from Melissa of 320 Sycamore.  Thanks, Melissa!

Then I added a little to this space, with some stars I've had for a while.
Eventually, I'll get the Bionic Man and a tall ladder to switch some of the things on that tall shelf.  the barn stars will go up there, and I'll hang the plates I found above the dresser.  But that's a project for another day!

The armoire in the corner also needed a little TLC.
I'm really, really happy with the way everything turned out!  Admittedly, the Bionic Man was a little skeptical about it, when he came home to a new bedroom.  However, by the time he climbed into bed last night, he had to admit that he liked it.  He especially like that I pulled the whole thing off for under $100.

Here's my cost breakdown:
New Bedding: $53.94
Lamp & Shade: $9.48
Sheers: $9.98
Spray Paint: $3.49
Total: $76.89 for a new room!
It amazes me what a little imagination and a willingness to shop at a thrift store have done for my blah bedroom.  Complete transformation!  My most recent Goodwill shopping trip was inspired by Shelley over at House of Smiths.  Thanks, Shelley!

What's the best thing you've ever found at a thrift store?
I'm linking this post to:


Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm not Being Paid by Goodwill

Earlier today, I left my local Goodwill thrift store with quite a haul.  I was so thrilled by what I found, I hurried home and posted a very excited blog entry.  

Well, I spent the remainder of the afternoon redecorating our master bedroom with my finds--in between trips to the physical therapist and various schools.  It was a busy afternoon.  (Oh, and my sprained elbow is healing nicely, thank you for asking.)  

Here's a sneak peek at the project.

First, a display of what I found at Goodwill today:
    Sorry about the big, blue date in all these pictures.  I haven't had time to do any photo editing yet, today.

See all of those linens?  They are new!  They were damaged/opened packaging from Target and Pottery Barn!  We're talking sheets for $4.  Pillow shams for $3.  The lampshade is also a slightly damaged cast-off from Target.  It's canvas!  The plates were just too pretty to pass by, and the lamp--well, let's just say that i was sure the lamp had potential.
Here's a close-up of the linens.  I don't know if the computer screen does the color justice--they are the prettiest shade of apple green, with tan and white accents.  
Now, here is a picture of my bedroom in its natural state.  The before, if you will.
Don't you just love how I've decorated the bedside tables with piles of JUNK?  Just to keep it real, I will disclose that I made the bed and moved the laundry baskets right before taking this picture.  (Proof:  circular shapes pressed into carpet at the end of the bed!)

Thanks to a fruitful morning of shopping at Goodwill, tonight I'll be climbing into this:
Buh-bye, bland....hello, serene color!
I love the new bedding, but my favorite element of the room is the apple green lamp.
I told you that ugly, old brass lamp had possibilities!  All it took was a can of spray paint and a fresh, new lampshade.

It's been such a busy day....I can't wait to flop down on my newly dressed up bed and get some sleep!  You can see more details about my bedroom makeover here....I'm excited to show you the curtains.
I'm linking this post to:

Goodwill Strikes Again!!!

Friends, you are not going to believe what I just stumbled upon at Goodwill, today.

I repeat, you will not believe it.  I don't believe it, and I just lived it.

Good stuff, ladies, good stuff.  So good that I am now completely redecorating my Master Bedroom.   

A total re-do for less than $100!!!

Bedding, lamp, knick-knacks, draperies....the whole she-bang.  

I'm so excited, but I don't have time to download pictures or even take pictures, yet, because I have to do the redecorating before the Bionic Man gets home.  It's one of those, "Honey, I know I didn't talk to you about this beforehand, but doesn't it look fabulous?" type of projects.  He'll totally go for it once he sees the finished product.

Don't worry, I'll wash everything before I put it in my bedroom.  But let me just say this: IT'S ALL NEW!"  We're talking damaged packaging from Target and....wait for it...POTTERY BARN just sitting there in my local Goodwill.  

Anyone who lives within a two hour drive of Indianapolis should jump in their cars now and speed their way to the Goodwill just south of the Greenwood Park Mall.  I left some good stuff behind. 
P.S.  This color is a hint.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Easy-Peasy New Curtains

Here's my entry to this week's CSI Project: Pottery Barn Challenge.
I have to admit, I have a thing for the Pottery Barn.  I love the way those catalog rooms look, but I'm too cheap to actually order from the catalog.  So, whenever I can find or make a good Pottery Barn knock-off, I'm a happy girl!

Recently, I recreated the look of PB's canvas curtains in my dining room.  As you can see, my version saved me quite a bit of money (85%), and I didn't have to do any sewing!

I found my fabric at Home Depot.  Yes, I did say Home Depot.  In the paint section.
Canvas drop cloths are cheap (this size was about $10), machine washable, and already hemmed.  When you take them out of the plastic packaging, they look like this:

Canvas drop cloths have a very nubby, natural texture.  They have a neutral tan base color, with tiny. occaisional runs of thread in faint colors.  They are heavy enough to block bright sunlight and offer moderate privacy, but light enough to allow some light to stream through.  They come in a variety of sizes.  Perfect for my dining room!

It took only two simple steps to turn the dropcloths I found into canvas curtains a la Pottery Barn.
When I purchased my canvas dropcloths, I opted to get a little more fabric than was necessary.  I wanted to have a faux valance for a little added detail.  I folded the extra fabric over, making sure that the fold was fairly even, and clipped the panels onto my rod.  (I found the drapery hooks for 50% off at Joann's.)  I didn't even bother to iron the panels--by the time they had hung for 24 hours, most of the wrinkles were gone.

 As you can see, my curtains accent a door to our backyard deck and playscape--very high traffic!
While I love the way the curtains look hanging from either side of the rod, during the day I move them into the center, so that they won't interfere with the back door opening and closing.
I simply tie them together with a length of burlap ribbon--love the way burlap and canvas go together!
I'm so pleased with the way these turned out, that I plan to use a similar window treatment in the adjoining family room.  Thanks for the inspiration, Pottery Barn! And thanks, Home Depot, for the easy, no-sew materials!

I'm linking up here:

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden

The Girl Creative

Keeping It Simple

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heart Stories

Every Heart Has a Story

A fellow CHD mom I really admire, Stefenie, is hosting a special link-in party today, at her blog, When Life Hands You a Broken Heart....Create Hope.  She's inviting other heart moms and families to share their stories with each other.  

I've already written quite a bit about our experiences with congenital heart defects, trips to doctors' offices and hospitals, and the like.  Today, I want to share with you what it was like to receive our initial diagnoses:

We were expecting our third baby, a girl, when I had a life-altering experience.  I remember distinctly, how I stood in the kitchen, loading the dishwasher as the late summer sun streamed in through the window.  I could see my two children playing in the grass outside, and I thought about them as I gathered another stack of plates to rinse.  Remembering the chubby, good-natured babies they had been, I anticipated with pleasure what it would be like to take care of their soon-to-be born sibling.  It was at that exact moment that I received a message, unspoken by any voice, but distinct enough for me to know it wasn't my own thought or imagination.

"This baby will be different."

Startled, I let the plates drop into the sink, and leaned against the kitchen wall.  I could see my children tossing sand out of the sandbox they played in, hear a bird chirping through the open window, and feel my unborn baby kicking....but time seemed to have stopped.  I knew, right then, that "different" didn't mean my baby wouldn't be chubby or good-natured.  Different meant that something was wrong with my baby.  So I asked, "What is wrong with my baby?"

And the answer came.  "That doesn't matter right now."

I sank then, awkwardly, to my knees, and prayed, "Tell me what to do, please show me the way."  And I was given just a few tasks that should be done before my baby was born. 

I spent the next few weeks mourning the loss of "normal" and trying to come to terms with "different."  I cooked and cleaned and organized, just in case I would have to spend more time at the hospital with our new baby.  I shared my experience with my husband, and instead of reassuring me or blaming my fears on hormones, he quietly said, "I know," and we held each other and cried.

She came into the world along with the first snowfall of an early winter, more than four weeks ahead of her due date, and two weeks shy of a scheduled c-section.  As the labor pains started and increased in frequency, I told myself, "It's just that she's going to be early.  That's it, she might be a little smaller than the others, maybe harder to feed."  Despite the reality of my early warnings, I hoped for a less dramatic outcome than the ones I wondered about late at night.

When the doctor pulled out our new baby, my husband and I braced ourselves.  But the sweet baby who was placed in my arms--though a little smaller than her older siblings had been--was perfect.  The prettiest newborn we'd had yet, she curled up into my arms and nursed with little difficulty the first time.  Keeping her in the room with us that first night, my husband and I kept looking at her, marveling at her miniature fingers and sweet rosebud mouth. 

Days and weeks and months passed.  On the surface, there was nothing extraordinarily different about the newest member of the family.  There were small differences in behavior and feeding that I attributed to her being her own little person: she was a little harder to nurse, she took shorter but more frequent naps, she stayed petite and didn't get the rolls and dimples of her older siblings.  But still, I was nagged by the knowledge that something just wasn't right.  At each well-child visit, I would question the doctor about her weight gain, her feeding habits, the funny way she arched her back sometimes....only to be reassured that she was fine. 

Until her nine-month well child visit.  This time, the doctor shook his head as he looked at her chart.  Superkid hadn't gained any weight since her six month check up.  This time, the doctor listened very carefully to Superkid's heart with his stethoscope.  For long minutes, we sat quietly, as he listened.  "I'm not sure if I'm hearing it right, but I think I hear a little murmer, there," the doctor told me at last.  "It's probably nothing, but I like to be cautious with things like this.  Let's have a cardiologist look at her."

Strangely, instead of being alarmed, I felt relieved.  I knew the long wait to find out what was wrong with our baby was almost over.  When we sat down to get the results of the echocardiogram from the pediatric cardiologist, it was like having the curtains opened to bring sunlight into a darkened room.  Did we like the room we saw?  Not particularly, but finally knowing what we were dealing with and being able to get up and move around was better than sitting in the dark.  Mitral valve stenosis, a congenital heart defect, was what made Superkid different.

Things happened very quickly from that point.  We went from having no diagnosis to experiencing symptoms of severe heart failure in less than one month.  Superkid was desperately ill and in need of heart surgery within three months.  We spent most of those three months in the hospital.  The answer to all of the questions you might ask sympathetically--was it awful?  were you terrified?  wasn't that exhausting? --is yes.  It was all those things, and then some.  But it was not surprising, and it was not something we weren't prepared for.

I believe that God recognized that I would need some time to digest and accept the idea that this baby would be different in a way that would challenge our whole family--not just once, but many times and many ways.  I am incredibly grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who gave me, His daughter, a gift of time and preparation.  "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee..." (Jeremiah 1:5). 

Is my experience unique?  Perhaps.  Many of the heart parents I know were caught off guard by their child's diagnosis.  I am convinced, however, that the parents of children with special needs are prepared in some way to take care of their children.  They have something that only they can give, a contribution that only they can give, and that is why God entrusted them with the care of a "different" child. 

To those who are just beginning their own journey into a new world of diagnoses and doctors and hospitals and long nights willing the heart monitor to just keep beeping.....then I offer you these words of encouragement:  Trust yourself, that you have it in you to develop the skills you need to parent this child.  Trust in a loving Heavenly Father, that He has already shaped and prepared your for what is ahead, and that he will answer all your prayers--even the ones you don't know how to say, yet.

If you would like to read about the diagnosis of our second heart baby/fourth child, or find out more about our experiences with Superkid and ongoing medical issues, click on any of the following links.