Thursday, December 12, 2013

Snowflake Tree on a Budget

LET IT SNOW, said the snowflake tree!!!

Clear acrylic snowflake and icicle ornaments light up and twinkle amid the glow of miniature string lights.

You never know when the mood is going to strike you to go in a different design direction with your holiday tree.  I don't know how many sets of ornaments I have for specific color and theme trees but it's a lot.  The fun thing is creatively mixing and matching and pulling from those not used for years to create a whole new look.

The cost of all new decor can add up quickly, especially if you like throwing in those special, more elaborate pieces.  Seeing as I wasn't up to spending much money on even more decorations, I began pulling out pieces from years past.  Some haven't been used in over 10 years and it was neat to see a theme (so to speak) start taking place.

Little frosted baubles and specialty lighting wrapped in spheres of silver wire, both from Target . . . icicle ornaments used on various trees . . . homemade wire and gem ornaments I made two years ago.  Yes, I was starting to see a design direction develop in color and them.  I knew what I wanted with my icicles . . . SNOWFLAKES!

In frosty iridescence, these snowflake ornaments were a bargain purchase at Dollar Tree!

Yes, snowflakes.  It's been done a million times before but it's always special when you do something "new" to you.  I remembered seeing a few large plastic snowflake ornaments at Dollar Tree so decided to check out their larger store closer to the city.  Wow, they had a whole little section of snowflake ornaments and related items.  For under 10 bucks I hauled home a boatload of snowflake stuff.  Big and small, clear and shimmering, dangling and setting within branches.  Everything came together nicely (and thanks to my mom for some of her former jeweled and crystal drop elements that she was no longer using - they added to the icy aura of the tree.

So, don't spend a ton on tree decor.  Check out the items at Dollar Tree or other dollar stores and use them as fillers or even pieces to showcase.  A mix of new and old can create a whole new look year after year!

A grand ornament that was given as a gift last year seems a fitting topper for my snowflake tree
with it's snowflake-like design, silver-metallic color and inset crystal-like elements.

See more of my Snowflake Tree at Frugal Interior Design!

I had fun using something unconventional as the tree base: A giant SPRING!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Simple Autumn Decorating Ideas Around the Home

"Hello Falling Leaves" . . . 

It's no secret . . . Autumn is my favorite season and time of year . . . crisp cool mornings, the smell of leaves, earthy colors abound in nature. But back to leaves. It's so easy to draw inspiration from them and use them in your simple Autumn decorating - and of course, free decor is good!

I went a bit low-key this year, but here are a few of my Autumn-inspired ideas . . . SIMPLE!

Vintage bottles with a few leaves.  This is nice to display when having guests over.
However, the look doesn't last since the leaves dry out, so replenish with new leaves daily

Vintage pottery in earthy hues are nice to sit around the kitchen.
Pick up leaves of various shapes and colors that contrast well with your bowl and display them within!

A giant reed diffuser?  I guess it could be.  An old glass gallon jug displays something
I've never thought to use before - dried stalks from the ubiquitous orange tiger lily.

I never tire of the repurposed chimney pot turned planter.
The Summer blooms of impatiens and begonias have been replaced
with some vibrant yellow mums to usher in the season as well as visitors!

A second-hand wreath.  A friend recently moved and asked if I could use this.  "But of course!"
Autumn colors boldly display against a steel blue front door.

The chimney pots flank the entry with twin mums. Don't have chimney pots?
Get some low-cost galvanized pails at a hardware store for a clean, neat  look.

The peachy-orange blooms of the begonias from the chimney pots were still thriving, so they have been transplanted into the old barrel - coordinating nicely with the pumpkins.  

Au Naturale
My aunt sent me this pic of a wreath she put together.  I love that the entire thing is made
of natural, organic elements: baby Indian corn, small gourds, fallen leaves and a grapevine structure.

I hope you have all been enjoying the changing season 
and have been finding inspiration in the LEAVES!

See ideas from years past at 
frugal-interior-design - autumn decorating

More ideas coming soon!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Curbside Vintage Shutters To Upcycle

A Vintage Shutter Kind of Day!
Some "roadside relics" finds their way into my life.
A pair of vintage shutters pose for the camera (a potential idea for their use at the front entry)

Wow, did I really just see what I thought I saw?  I had to do a double-take; not only because they were "twins," but because I was in disbelief that they were sitting out for trash!  A pair of vintage wooden solid panel shutters!  Yes, solid panel!  Louvered ones are fine, but solid are much better in my book as they allow for more uses!

Vintage Goodness
Interesting Color

I have longed for a set of these old shutters (or similar) for quite some time.  I typically see them at local antique shops for $45 a piece at the very minimum.  I figured one day I'd dish out the $90+ for a set, but now I'm glad I waited!  I was having a rather so-so day, but things turned suddenly brighter when I placed these babies in the bed of my truck!

What a Find!
Great Hardware

They have quite the weathered and worn patina with a teal type green on one side and brighter (yet dirty) turquoise in a chalk-type paint on the other.  The old hinge and clasp hardware is intact in all its rusty glory!

So, what to do with them?
(So many ideas came to mind!)  Should I . . . 
- Use them as doors for an open shelf unit?
- Create horizontal floating shelves on the wall?
- Build a shelf unit with them?
- Use them as pieces in a future vintage cabinet build?
- Hang them as swinging doors between rooms?
-Hang them as artwork?

GOSH, this list could go on and on!

For Now, These Vintage Shutters are:
One of them has found temporary use as an accent to my recent barn wood bench.
"Number 2" has also found temporary use . . . as a decorative top to my chippy paint rustic shelf.
The faded green hues of the shelf coordinate with the colors in the family room.

The weather and worn finish ties-in with other rustic elements in the space, like the old
roadside-found vintage wooden door (seen in the background) and the steamer trunk coffeetable!

What would you do if you happened upon a pair of vintage shutters such as these?  
How would you upcycle or repurpose them?

Thanks to Suzanne at Pieced Pastimes for featuring my Shutters!
You can read about it here:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Industrial Spring Book Rack

While visiting an auto scrap yard last weekend, I stumbled upon (quite literally) a large coil spring. The spring was from the front suspension of a full-size truck. While walking around, I began seeing many more. Could I have found the treasure trove of industrial elements to repurpose? I think so! Flywheels and other neat cogs and gears were also littered around the yard, waiting to be reclaimed. So many ideas came to mind...welded sculptures, wall art, table leg ideas, etc.

After handing over $5.00, I left with my cool industrial element full of character and rusty patina. I enjoy using such items simply as decorative elements much in the manner of Restoration Hardware. I'm often impressed with the creative minds behind their room staging. Many, "why didn't I think of that" thoughts cross my mind in awe when I flip through their sourcebooks. Nonetheless, I'm often impressed when I come up with some clever ideas of my own (who isn't?)

Industrial Spring Book Rack
Junkyard Auto Suspension Spring Repurposed

In its simplest form, this big spring could be displayed on its own as a decorative focal feature. After a day of that, I decided to stand it upright and place it carefully over a cleaned out yankee candle jar with a lit tealight within.

Used as a candle display?

That look was O.K., but I ultimately decided to give it more of a an industrial book rack.

Simple Style

Free books wrapped in brown craft paper and lightly roughed-up with sandpaper unify the look.

One end of the spring tapers and winds smaller as a decorative scroll-like element.

I often see unique items used as industrial and/or rustic bookends, 

Old Pulley Bookends
Courtesy of Home Decorators Collection


Vise Bookends (available at Amazon
Courtesy of Home Decorators Collection

so why not expand on that idea of propping up books but in a more unique manner?

Although not able to stack or hold a volume of books, my big industrial spring creates a clever tabletop feature similar to the use of a vintage wooden vice for displaying books (below).  

Wooden vise from local antique shop
repurposed as a book holder.

Other ideas for the spring?  Well, I could see it spiraled around 
the exterior of my wine bottle pendant light! (click the link to see how I made the light below)
While you are visiting the main website, be sure to "FB Like" Frugal Interior Design!  

Can you envision it?  I think that would look neat.  

I guess I need to take another trip to the junkyard soon!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Easy Poster Frame Art Ideas

The offices where I work have different colored accent walls.  A bright limey green, a dull medium blue, and a peachy-orange.  I ended up with peachy-orange.  I've been staring at this orange wall for almost a year now. In fact, the wall they painted as the accent was the wrong wall in my opinion.  You do not see it when you walk into the room.  Instead, you see the other surrounding plain off-white walls, devoid of art and interest.

I've neglected to repaint it (yes, we can choose one of the other colors and paint it ourselves if we want to). Everybody tells me I need to put something up!  So, I finally decided to resolve this "problem" with some artwork. Seeing as I mildly dislike painting even the walls of my own home, I really did not feel the need to undertake that task at work.

A few months ago, one of my co-workers received a gift that had lots of bright orange tissue paper inside. She was in the process of disposing of the wrappings and paper and I said "Oh wait, I can reuse that!"  I took the orange tissue paper home, knowing I would use it somehow to create complimentary artwork for my orange-accented office.

And here it is!
Simple artwork #1
I have numerous old poster frames from when I was in high school.  Yes, they are VERY OLD! They were probably only around $5.00 back then.  Now, you can get similar poster frames with much nicer slide on edges and borders of thicker and chunkier dimensions, making them look a bit more expensive and grand. However, I'm quite pleased with the end result of this project and saved some bucks by not "spluring" on the newer frame types. 

Some $0.69 poster board creates the white background for these piece.  A leftover piece of black poster board from a previous project creates the next insert which I simply have taped into place, and finally, some prints (copies) I had made on gloss paper of pen/ink art I had done last year. Lest we forget the reuse of the orange accent tissue paper . . . I crinkled it into a ball and then carefully smoothed it back out, folding it into a long narrow band which I wrapped around the backer-board of the poster frame (a 20" x 28") and taped to the backside.  

Here is the other one!
Simple artwork #2
I actually put this one together first (despite my caption naming and presentation order).  This poster frame is actually larger than the other (24" x 36"), so it took (2) pieces of black poster board to create the background color.  Once I had those two pieces cut to size and meeting in the center, I taped them in place. Next, I crinkled up the tissue paper, smoothed it out, and folded it into wide bands.  I figured out my spacing, wrapped them over the backer-board of the poster frame and taped them in place.  More artwork I had done last year was printed out on heavy-stock paper, positioned, and taped into place.  I really like the graphic boldness of this piece.  I may actually hang this one horizontally.  That's the nice thing about this artwork - it can hang in any orientation.  

I can't wait to hang this art at work tomorrow morning.  It will be nice to finally pull that orange accent color to the other side of the room through the use of this artwork.  I really think it will give the room a whole new feel and the unity it currently lacks.  

Here are some of the "before" stages of this art:  

The poster frame (wooden backer-board, plexiglass front
and press-on black plastic frame pieces)

Black and white poster board ($0.69 at Dollar Tree) and
leftover/salvaged orange tissue paper (use any color you like!)

Crinkled and foiled tissue paper spacing being determined (a nice accenting element
which provides a color pop and some texture/interest to the final art piece.

Each of these completed pieces cost less than $10.00!  Not bad for some custom art!  You can create art like this easily.  You don't even have to make your own graphic images.  You can purchase paper (by the piece) with graphic designs at Michael's to create a similarly styled look and effect. 

 Now, have some fun and keep it under $10!   :-)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bottles & Burlap & Baskets (oh my) - My Thrifty Finds

A few weekends ago, I visited Tollbooth Antique Market.  I saw LOTS of items I wanted but left with one reasonably priced amber bottle.  My collection of amber bottles is growing and I'm probably done for a while.  I must say, the size of this one grabbed my attention and of course, I could not leave it behind.  It stands near 14.5 inches tall.  I had never seen one with such height before.  For 10 bucks, it was coming home with me.

The smaller one, which my mother found and gave me, is a pretty nice size too.
It looks dwarfed beside my "new" super-tall find!

I'm not sure if I shared these finds before, but I was at an antique tractor show late last fall and scored the below two items.  The amber bottle is very unique and looks handmade.  It has unique flaws (such as a slightly bent neck) and plenty of etching and bubbles in the glass.  It even has a totally flat bottom which I thought was interesting.  It stands tall too (at 13 inches). For a mere $3.00, I grabbed it!  The old block n pulley (I've been wanting one of these for ages) was a reasonable $8.00 if I recall.  Not bad for some cool vintage finds!

Old wood, metal and glass; my favorite elements!

After leaving the TollgateAntique Market, I visited another small-town thrift shop in Red Lion, PA called Treasure Trove.  It's definitely more "thrift" than "antique" but every now and then you can find some great items, such as this old metal (zinc) basket.  The lady who owns the place told me it was an egg basket. I wasn't sure if it truly was, but we'll go with that.  I loved its industrial look and knew it could have many uses. With a $2.00 price tag, I claimed my price!

My industrial bin/basket.

Now, it didn't have that handle, but I thought it needed one.  Seeing as I was told it was an egg basket, I figured "why not?"  Seems more "basketly" with a handle.  I have this older plastic trash pail that I use outdoors to collect leaves and debris as I go around the property.  It's been falling apart after many years of hard use and this metal handle recently popped off.  I figured I could find a new use for it - - - AND I DID!

My first use for the basket?  Towel storage & display!

And here is one more item I got months ago but never shared: a burlap sack.  I have two now and use them in similar ways.  I always look for ones with unique lettering and text.  I like how it breaks up all the black of my big sofa by being thrown over the center cushion.  It helps the sofa tie in with the vintage wooden elements dotted throughout the space.

Burlap sack as simple throw.
Lots of vintage elements for an industrial look.

Oh, this sack was $5.00 at Hometown Antiques (aka Angie's Country Corner) in Red Lion, PA.  This place has great items, but a bit more pricy and typical of true antique vendors.  Now, my second burlap sack (below) was a mere $1.50 at one of our Restore York stores (part of Habitat for Humanity).  I actually prefer it to the more "expensive" one because I love the large block lettering and numbers across the center.

Old burlap sack laying over a couch cushion.

Here you see how the black font on the burlap ties in nicely with the
black accent wall and black crate coffeetable in my office space. 
Anyway, that's it for now.  I'm running out of room for my vintage finds!  
Until next time, happy treasure hunting!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Day at Tollbooth Antique Market

I finally decided to venture over to Columbia, PA to check out the Tollbooth Antique Market.  Numerous folks have told me how great it was and that has gotten better organized.  I was told it had two levels and was inside an old warehouse - (enticing combination) - I envisioned "miles" of vintage finds before my eyes . . . I wasn't disappointed.

 What Did I See?

These could definitely fit among the "objects" of  the Restoration Hardware catalog. 
I'd prop them both in a corner similarly to how they were placed here.
I forget exactly what these were called on the ticket - perhaps factory pulleys of some sort.
I think I need both of them!

Lots of old shutters (solid, paneled, louvered) - what I could do with some of these items!

Stained glass windows . . . I favored this arched one.
The chippy green chair would be great somewhere on my property too!

I love plain ole paneled windows like these.  I've seen them repurposed in so many clever ways.
I'd hang this one with eye-hooks and chain in front of a large picture window.
See these Repurposed Old Window Ideas 

I loved this old door.  It was some odd creamy/light green color with the old plate hardware (minus  knob).
Perfect as a table, hung as art, or hinged to other similar doors to create an indoor or outdoor divider.
(I know folks who would grab that little desk too!)

I LOVE these old pallet carts.  They are quite popular as industrial coffeetables.
I think I'd still consider one as such after seeing this one up close!

Imagine using these to define a dining area within your home.  Or, even using them outside in so many ways - topped with spilling/trailing plants or placed in four corners of a patio as the base for a pergola.

This old bench/pew was super high off the ground.  I loved its "grand stature."  I'd replace my formal living room sofa (since nobody sits on it) with this.  Just add a few cotton and burlap pillows for a relaxed, casual, shabby look!

I could easily spend a thousand bucks in this place!!!  
(the prices were not bad at all - some were crazy reasonable!)
I was somewhat salivating at all that lay before my eyes!

A neat cubby-shelf.  I know many of you like these things.
Not sure how I'd use it in my current home but thought it was very cool!

I LOVE ME SOME VINTAGE BOTTLES! These big ole glass carboys were reasonably priced.
I purchased a smaller amber bottle which I'll post about later.

Lots and lots of old soda crates.  I know many of you enjoy repurposing these as well!

I went back to this trunk at least 4 times but left without it cuz I'm simply running out of room.  So sad!
This old military wooden trunk was in a flat, faded gray color and had block-stamped identification of  its previous owner.  I envisioned it on tall legs to create a bar height kitchen table or even on short legs to use as a coffeetable.  It had a nice, low-profile height . . . oh, and old leather strap handles!!!  Hmmm, if it's there next time . . . 

Another great ole low-profile trunk and lots of vintage graniteware strewn throughout the place.

Great color and character!

Columbia, PA right off the old Rt. 462 bridge from Wrightsville.
I had a great time and browsed for a good 2 hours or more (I could spend a day in there).  They have a little cafe area with homemade baked good and beverages too.  The people were very friendly and I'd definitely recommend the place.  There were lots of smaller vintage items too but if you know me, you know I'm drawn to certain industrial/rustic elements (glass bottles, rusty hardware and tools, old doors and windows, etc) and I found lots of them here . . .more than I've ever found at any single place in this area.  

I've seen other blogger friends discussing antique markets in their areas and I've always been envious.  Now, I finally have a local place of "my own." Check it out if you're in the area!  

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