Monday, June 30, 2008

Playing Dress-Up!

One of my favorite hobbies is paper crafting, and so you will probably see a lot of that on my blog. I love paper crafting because paper is relatively inexpensive, it's easy to work with, and it's very versatile and beautiful. I do scrapbooking, cardmaking, and decorating with paper. Today I noticed this candle in my bathroom- I bought it because I got a good deal on it and it smells great. Unfortunately, it doesn't look all that beautiful in my bathroom where the primary decor colors are cream, taupe, dark brown, and rubbed brass. So I took the candle up to my little craft room and pulled out some patterned paper scraps from a previous project. Then I unearthed a little ribbon, some brass brads, and a fabric flower and voila! New candle for me! 

I left the "wrapping" loose from the candle- I didn't glue it or tape it to the jar, so it slides right off like a sleeve. That way, when this candle is used up, I can simply remove the sleeve, toss the candle, and slide in a new candle, if I want to.

This is a fast, easy way to dress up a boring candle and have it make a statement that's more than just a nice scent! If you aren't a paper crafter, but you would still like to try this, try just using leftover wrapping paper, plain white paper, or even paper from a brown paper bag. For a more urban look, you could even use newspaper! Just be cautious- make sure that the top part of the paper is well below where the flame will be- a fire is NOT a beautiful addition to your home!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Little Inspiration

My beautiful bargain clock- found this little gem at Goodwill for $5 with no hands on the clock face. I picked up a set of hands at a craft store for $2 (usually $3, but I used a coupon!) and now my clock is a lovely addition to my living room decor. Out of curiosity, I checked online to see if I could find another one like it, and I did. Someone was selling one on Craigslist for $15. :-)

A little inspiration can go a long way, and I am a very visual person, so I love to "window shop" for my inspiration. Some people don't even bother to look at high-end catalogs or go into upscale shops because they know they can't afford any of it, and it makes them depressed. I choose a different attitude: I think, This stuff is nice, and some of it may be worth the expense, but most of it so overpriced! I don't have to pay an arm and a leg for that- I can probably make something similar or find a knock-off at a much lower price. That will always get my creative juices flowing, and I get excited to start planning my strategy, which usually involves being on the lookout at places like Goodwill, yard sales, and discount stores like Wal-Mart and Target. That is so much more fun for me- I personally get much more satisfaction recreating something for pennies on the dollar than I would buying a pricey item outright. 

It is important to consult some sources of your inspiration before bargain hunting in places like Goodwill and other thrift shops or yard sales, because it gets me primed by putting the pictures in my head of what I like and what might work. When you have a $60 lamp in your mind before going out, you might be surprised when you see something for $5 at a yard sale that, with a little spray paint and a new shade, could easily take its place.

  So I get my home decorating inspiration from stores and catalogs, then I bring it into my home by using my creativity. Always be on the lookout for what you find beautiful, regardless of the price, and cut out photos and put them in an idea/inspiration scrapbook if you like. One of my favorite free sources for inspiration is the Pottery Barn catalog- I don't know that I will ever buy anything in it, but all of their items are beautifully showcased by professional designers in room vignettes, and I can always find something that piques my interest. You can order free catalogs here. 

Another great option for pictorial inspiration is your local library- check out home decorating books and magazines, and get inspired! Look for more on some of my trash-to-treasure finds in future posts...

Where do you find your inspiration?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Little Introduction

This is my very first post on my Beautiful Thrifty Life blog. I created this blog because I love to write, and I love to share my discoveries with people. I try to find beauty in the everyday things, because I believe that finding beauty is essential to being grateful, and a grateful heart is truly a blessing. I also believe that if I am not happy about something in my life, positive change is up to me, and that it takes being a proactive optimist to effect the change you want to see in your own life. If you want tomorrow to be a better day than today, then don't just wait to see if it will be. Make a plan to make it better.

I chose to also focus this blog on the "thrifty" side for two reasons: first, I am not rich, at least not monetarily speaking, nor have I ever been rich, so I happen to have some experience with being thrifty. Really, it's all I've ever known, and I have seen others in my position who, rather than focus on what they do have, complain about what they don't have, and either mope around because they fail to see the beauty around them or they go into unnecessary debt thinking that they have to buy beauty rather than realizing that they can create it on their own. Those kinds of attitudes sadden me, and I just want to shout out to the world: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE RICH TO BE HAPPY! 

Your first assignment, O ye readers out there in cyberspace, is to find something beautiful in your world. Take note of what you see, anything beautiful, and stop for a moment to take in the moment. Then write it down, take a picture, send me a note- show your appreciation for the beauty and bring it into your life.

Here's one to get you started- I visiting my mom recently, and she has a big white soaking tub in the western corner of her bathroom, and the sun was just beginning to set as I was giving my children their evening bath in the tub. The sunlight came through the windows in such a way that it reflected off the white in the tub and the white bubbles, and the light was just perfect. I recognized the rare beauty of the moment and I grabbed a camera. The cost of this beauty? A moment of my time, a moment of grateful awareness. Meet my beautiful children... :-)
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