4.18.2014

Bedroom Progress

Finally!  I took some photos of the progress we have made with decorating our bedroom!  We realized recently that we have a pattern of ignoring our bedroom after we throw our furniture in there, so it ends up being a rather sad and boring room while we focus our attention on making the main rooms beautiful and fun.  When we did this work in the bedroom a little over a month ago, we had already been in our apartment for over six months!  There's still more to do, too, but at least it's looking much better... of course I managed to not take any before photos, but just imagine the same space without all the pretty stuff in it.  I have to say, it's surprising how much happier I am with a bedroom that actually feels like a happy space!


Oh hey, bed!  Ok, this is the one area we actually didn't change much.  When we moved in, we basically set up the same bed situation we had in our Groton apartment (you can see it was very similar to this back in September in this post) with our lovely Marimekko duvet, white pillows with cases I sewed out of an IKEA Ofelia blanket, navy Euro shams, and my felt ball garlands.  All we did change in this area was cleaning up our bedside tables, and I switched out my light for my favorite awesome old lamp that used to be my mom's (which I just updated with a new lampshade from--where else?--IKEA).  Ooh I also tacked up my fox face, which I bought on our cross-country road trip back in 2009 in South Dakota for $5... don't judge me.  While I was doing this shoot, I realized that I actually prefer the front jungle pillow that's in this picture (which is for sale on Etsy right now... maybe I should take that down) to the other ones that used to be there, as it ties in nicely with the warmer tones in other parts of the room, plus it adds a fun vintagey touch.  I can't decide if we should put a little piece of art or something over the bed or not... what do you think?


This is the view into the bedroom from the door, and here's where you can see all the new stuff!  Let's go left to right... Our bedroom used to have a door that attached the room to the rest of the house (where our landlord lives, although that door just goes to his back storage room), and the door is covered with a thin painted panel that matches the walls (which are a soft grey), but still stands out rather awkwardly and just looked kinda dumb until we figured out what to do with it: lean a mirror on it!  We went all out and bought the huge Hovet mirror from IKEA, because it fits perfectly in that spot with even amounts of door on each side, making that area look much more purposeful.  It makes the room feel much bigger and brighter, and now I finally have a mirror big enough to see my whole self and then some... yay!

In the middle of this photo is our dresser station, with my blue dresser (which was a rather ugly $20 yard sale purchase that I spray painted blue and replaced the hardware, all about four years ago) and Chris's mid century dresser.  Those had obviously been there, holding our clothes and such, but the tops of them were totally cluttered with stuff, and there was no art on the wall, so they looked pretty sad.  We threw up two vintage thrift store art finds: a crewel of the seasons on the left and a paint by numbers landscape on the right.  We'll get to the stuff on the dressers in a moment...

Before then, I have to mention the closet!  This was a big improvement to the space, because before there was just an open closet there, packed to the brim with all of Chris's stuff (the closet in the living room is mine, so this one is all Chris's).  The closet doesn't have doors and it's rather narrow, so adding doors would have meant taking out Chris's big trunk of photo stuff on the floor, which I would rather keep there, so we figured out another solution: curtains!  Namely a pair of grey velvet Sanela curtains from IKEA.  We hung them all the way up by the ceiling and then I used a handful of strategically placed binder clips behind the scenes to make them stay eternally perfectly draped.  Then I arranged Chris's shirts by color, and it looks a million times better.  There's still a bit of a messy area under the shirts, so we need to find some nice bins or baskets to clean that stuff up.  At first the curtains were feeling a little intense to me, but then I took some extra pom pom trim I had lying around (like you do) and attached it to the edge (with paperclips, I kid you not), and it totally did the trick to make the curtains work with the rest of the room, while still adding a nice sense of luxury.


The stuff on the tops of our dressers is still a little random, and could probably use some more paring down and better styling, but whatevs, it works for now.  I have a nice new modern jewelry box that Chris's family got me for my birthday, and some other personal favorites, including my Buddha night light (from SOWA Vintage Market in Boston), the wood burl box that Chris bought for my engagement ring when he proposed, and an origami map flower from our wedding.


Over on Chris's dresser, he has an odd assortment of industrial metal containers, weird vintage things, and other oddities.  My favorite part is the vintage brass polaroid frame (which I got for him a year or two ago) with a polaroid of Odo as a little puppy.

It was tough to get a decent shot of this area, but basically this is looking back from the mirror towards the closet and door, where we have a Target hamper (which is starting to get rather slumped, but a new hamper is just not very high on our shopping priority list right now), a mid century Lane cedar chest we found on craigslist back in Massachusetts, and the Peruvian wool wall hanging I picked up at the Salvation Army last November.  We were originally planning to sell that thing, but we would have had to take it off the wood frame to ship it, and so it got shoved into the back room to be dealt with later, until I found this lovely spot for it in our bedroom.  That pillow is now living on the bed, since I decided it looked better there mid photo-shoot.


From the closet/hamper corner, you can see my little vanity chair tucked in by my dresser for no good reason other than the fact that it has nowhere else to go.  Check out how perfectly the mirror fits in that spot.  Oh, and you have a great view of our terrible ceiling light fixture!  That's one thing that could definitely use replacing in here... it looks like it used to be a boob light like the ones we have in the kitchen and living room, but it's glass and the center column that once held up the glass are missing, so it's basically just two bulbs on a gold circle now.  So attractive.

The last big thing we want to do to complete the bedroom is to hang some art on the big empty space to the left of the mirror, but we keep waffling about what we want to put there.  Maybe a gallery wall?  A couple of Chris's photos?  Something big that we don't have yet?  Decisions, decisions...

What do you think of our bedroom so far?  Do you have any rooms in your home you tend to ignore when it comes to decorating?  Any ideas for dealing with that one remaining empty wall?

4.06.2014

The Nifty Thrifty: An Odd Egg

Hey everyone!

Another slow couple weeks of thrifting out here, but I picked up a few interesting finds this week to share.  Part of the reason I've been too busy to thrift is I've been working more, since I got a part-time job at Fig, the awesome store that carries my antlers and ornaments!  I kindof dream of owning a store like that, so I'm having a blast being a part of it, and I'm oddly excited to help the owner with the marketing side of things, like designing print ads and creating their website.  I've definitely been getting behind on blogging with everything else going on around here, but if you're ever wondering what we're up to (wow, self-important much? haha) I finally joined the 21st century and got an iPhone (my first smartphone, yay!), and I've been using my new little device to start posting on our long ignored Instagram every so often, so check that out here and follow us for some mini-blogging, or something like that.  Anyway, y'all are here for the thrifting and I'm just rambling about everything else, so let's get down to the good stuff:

Honestly, I have no idea what this thing is and if it has an actual purpose, but there's just something about it that makes me happy, so I had to pick it up from one of the thrift stores in Ventura.  It's a speckled egg-shaped container with a funny little brass knob on top and a fantastic painted gold interior.   With Easter coming up soon I feel like this will be a good seasonal addition to our Etsy shop, though I do kindof love it for some reason, so this guy might end up staying with us... we shall see.

We have found that estate sales are the best for picking up beautiful mature plants at good prices, and the pre-sale I attended in Ventura on Thursday was no exception.  This beautiful flowering succulent came in a nice white pot with a lovely metal plant stand, and you know how much we love a good plant stand!  I paid $15 for the whole thing, and I'm pretty happy about it; not sure if you can really get the size of the thing from this photo, but it's rather large.  I also picked up a huge hanging spider plant, which looks awesome on our patio, which I will hopefully photograph soon and share some nice changes we've been making.  


At the same sale I stumbled upon another brass footed planter to add to the two others we bought on Etsy recently!  The new one is on top of the stack, an it's exactly the same as the larger one we already had.  They had some glass marbles and a large candle in it (which is actually still in there, as you can see...), which I think is a rather good idea, so it'll stay like that until we find some new plants to put in there.  I love the feet on these things, they are so oddly realistic.  I was photographing some new antlers at the same time as these photos, so I threw one in there to add a little color.  I'm loving the new bright colors of wool roving I got for my birthday!

I don't know about you, but whenever I go to estate sales run by a company that has a mailing list I always add my email, and even though that means I have to sort through lots of emails for estate sales I'm not particularly interested in, sometimes something good pops up, like an invitation to a pre-sale on Thursday before the sale is open to the public on Friday!  Sold.

So what do you think of my purchases this week?  Do you buy plants at estate sales?  Do you sign up for estate sale company mailing lists?  Any good finds on your end this week?

These blogs also host great link-ups that we join, so make sure you check them out, too: Me and my ShadowSir Thrift-A-Lot, and new ones at We Call it Junkin and Thrifter Maker Fixer Farm!

Without further ado, a few easy rules for the Nifty Thrifty Link Up:
1. We would love it if you would follow our blog on Google Friend Connect (check the right sidebar), like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and leave a friendly comment :)
2. Only link up recent blog posts that showcase your thrifty finds from the week, including items from yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores, consignment stores, flea markets, and even the side of the road! Thrifty finds that you have restored or updated are fine, but please no unrelated DIY or craft projects (we like those, too, but lets keep this link-up focused on thrifty vintage!).
3. Remember to LINK BACK to this blog - alivingspace - so everyone can join in! 
4. Link straight to your individual post, not your whole blog.
5. No links to Etsy shops or other non-blog sites.

Thanks for joining in!



3.23.2014

The Nifty Thrifty: Spring Break

Hi everyone!

We have been on spring break around here and thoroughly enjoying every moment of it!  Breaks are definitely the best perk of a teaching career, and since my schedule is super flexible, I was able to take some time to relax with Chris, too.  We celebrated both our birthdays, which happen to be five days apart, and had an awesome week-long visit from Chris's family. On the home front, we put some work into our bedroom and outdoor space, but those will have to wait for another day, as today is (of course) all about the thrifting we have done!  Which, granted, isn't much... but we have a few gems to share:


Chris found this gold mid century magazine rack at one of the thrift stores down in Ventura last week while I was working at the art gallery, though he was on his scooter (did we mention he now drives an Aprilia Scarabeo 200?), so he couldn't take it with him at the time.  Luckily the store let him buy it and come back to pick it up once I got off work with the car.  We love these types of wire mini-furniture, and they have sold very well for us, so this guy will be listed in our Etsy shop soon.  I like that it has two flat shelves, so you can use it for a lot more than just magazines.


I picked up this ceiling light at one of our local Ojai thrift stores, and lucky for me it was on sale for half off the already low price!  We thought about using it ourselves since we would like to replace our ugly light fixtures, but this guy only takes one bulb, and we need as much light as we can get in here, so going from two bulbs in a fixture to one just seems silly to me.  But that means we get to list it on Etsy!  I love the milk glass sides and the gorgeous clear pressed glass design on the bottom.

That's it for this week!  What do you think of our purchases?  Did you thrift anything interesting these past two weeks?  Do you get a spring break?

These blogs also host great link-ups that we join, so make sure you check them out, too: Me and my ShadowSir Thrift-A-Lot, a mid century one at Remnant, and new ones at We Call it Junkin and Thrifter Maker Fixer Farm!

Without further ado, a few easy rules for the Nifty Thrifty Link Up:
1. We would love it if you would follow our blog on Google Friend Connect (check the right sidebar), like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and leave a friendly comment :)
2. Only link up recent blog posts that showcase your thrifty finds from the week, including items from yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores, consignment stores, flea markets, and even the side of the road! Thrifty finds that you have restored or updated are fine, but please no unrelated DIY or craft projects (we like those, too, but lets keep this link-up focused on thrifty vintage!).
3. Remember to LINK BACK to this blog - alivingspace - so everyone can join in! 
4. Link straight to your individual post, not your whole blog.
5. No links to Etsy shops or other non-blog sites.

Thanks for joining in!

3.09.2014

The Nifty Thrifty: Feeling Bohemian

Hey everyone!

I had one of those thrifting weeks where you go everywhere, but find all your purchases at only one store... and your finds have a theme.  This week I guess the boho gods were looking down on me, because that's what I found!


I was rather excited to find both the rug and the wood plant stand (small stool/ottoman?) at one of the many thrift stores on Main St. in Ventura.  They were both surprisingly well-priced, so I snatched them up not knowing whether I wanted them to keep or sell... and for now we're both a little smitten with them.  At the moment, the rug has found a home making the back room feel a little more polished, and we're still looking for the perfect spot for the plant stand, but we're still pretty sure we're going to keep it.

Ok, I may have dressed up this scene a little to be even more themed, as I bought all those planters before this week... but hey, at least they are all in fact thrifted!  We actually bought the brass footed stand from another Etsy shop (along with a bigger one, which we still need to find plants for) a couple months ago; the simple white pot showed up in our houseplants post a couple months ago and is actually planted with clippings from a planter of awesome succulents we bought at a Santa Barbara estate sale (seen in this post); the weird tiny guy was found at an Ojai garage sale soon after moving here last summer... I think it's probably supposed to be a single egg holder, but it just looks so cute with a little plant in there.


It's a bit hard to see the rug in that first photo, so here's a closer look.  It has some color-bleeding and isn't perfect, but I just love a nice flat woven rug with an exciting pattern!  I think my personal style may actually be a little bit bohemian... Chris and I have been decorating together for so long now, I tend to think in terms of our joint style, but we definitely have our differences, and I'm now noticing that I like a more boho look than him, which to me means lots of layers, plants, patterns, and textures, with a little more variety than just the mid century stuff.  Luckily, Chris likes a certain amount of that, but I just have to keep it from getting too crazy.

What do you think of our purchases this week?  Have you had any themed finds lately?  Any rug cleaning tips?  Make sure you link up your thrifty posts below!

These blogs also host great link-ups that we join, so make sure you check them out, too: Me and my ShadowSir Thrift-A-Lot, a mid century one at Remnant, and new ones at We Call it Junkin and Thrifter Maker Fixer Farm!

Without further ado, a few easy rules for the Nifty Thrifty Link Up:
1. We would love it if you would follow our blog on Google Friend Connect (check the right sidebar), like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and leave a friendly comment :)
2. Only link up recent blog posts that showcase your thrifty finds from the week, including items from yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores, consignment stores, flea markets, and even the side of the road! Thrifty finds that you have restored or updated are fine, but please no unrelated DIY or craft projects (we like those, too, but lets keep this link-up focused on thrifty vintage!).
3. Remember to LINK BACK to this blog - alivingspace - so everyone can join in! 
4. Link straight to your individual post, not your whole blog.
5. No links to Etsy shops or other non-blog sites.

Thanks for joining in!



3.07.2014

Around Town: Fig Curated Living

Long time no talk!  Don't you worry (I know you were super worried, right?), we're still here doing our thing... just blogging less so we can keep up with all the things, if that makes any sense.  Anyway, my current goal is to blog only when I actually have something to say, which seems pretty reasonable to me.  Less weird stressing about doing something, anything, so I have something to blog about, and more living our life and blogging when I have something to say!  Speaking of which, make sure you come back Sunday for a new Nifty Thrifty post :)

Anyway, getting off topic there.  Today I'm actually here to share something a little different: a peek into one of my favorite little stores in Ojai to shop for gifts (and to just ogle everything and wish I could buy it for myself).  We adore our new hometown, and we're excited to start an occasional series sharing our favorite parts, so if any of you are ever passing through our area of California you'll know where to go!  Today I'm starting with Fig Curated Living, partly because it's awesome, and partly because I may have a little personal investment... the owner, Victoria, contacted me a few weeks ago about my handmade offerings, and now my antlers and ornaments are in their first retail store!  Needless to say, I'm super excited about this progress, and I genuinely love the store, so it's a perfect combo.


Fig opened last August, though I didn't discover it until December, probably because it's a little hard to find, even given its central location.  Situated on E Ojai Ave next door to Ojai Pizza, the entrance to Fig is a sweet bright blue archway, which leads down the most amazing decorated alley.  It barely ever rains in Ojai, so the open ceiling actually works beautifully here, and there's plenty of use for all the fun outdoor decor things to be found.


After meandering through the rather magical alley (love that painted hopscotch), you end up inside the most beautiful little light-filled space, filled with all sorts of awesome home decor, jewelry, and other fun gift-y things.  So many gorgeous handmade items to be had, and many are local, but there are also lots of other American-made or fair trade things.  This type of shop is my absolute favorite, and Fig does an amazing job of it, so I'm super happy it's located so close to me so I can go all the time!





I was very happy to hear that my antlers are selling well, and I already had to bring in more!  If you look closely at these photos you'll see an antler here and there; there's one on the big table in the middle of the room, and one is tucked next to the rustic wood frame in this photo, and...





There's one in the middle of that awesome wood shelf, and a few small ones hanging on the wall!





Fig also carries some of my California ornaments, and at Victoria's request, I actually made a different version of my triangle mountain ornaments to have a bit of a tepee vibe.  I also modified my hanging strap design since I realized my original version is just too time-intensive to justify selling the ornaments at wholesale prices, and I like the simplicity of the solution I came up with.


Love that ladder shelf situation loaded with beautiful stuff!  There's a little something for everyone in there, and it's just such a fun space... definitely not to be missed if you're visiting Ojai!

Now that I'm getting caught up with the antlers (new ones listed in our Etsy shop today by the way!), I'm hoping to look for more local shops that might be interested in selling them.  Maybe I'll check out Santa Barbara next?  Of course I make more money selling them myself on Etsy, but I made sure my wholesale prices still give me enough profit to make sense, so it seems like a good way to sell even more than I could on my own!

What do you think of Fig?  Don't you just want to come to Ojai so you can check it out?  If you make things, have you ever sold them wholesale to a store before?  Thinking of getting into that market?  Feel free to comment with any questions you might have about the process!

2.23.2014

The Nifty Thrifty: It's Electric!

Hi everyone!

Life has been busy busy busy lately, and sadly the blog is taking a bit of a back seat, as you may have noticed by my lack of posting recently... oops.  The Nifty Thrifty may actually be turning into more of an every other week thing as we thrift less and I spend more time working and making things (like my antlers, which are doing awesome and are even for sale in a local retail store now!  More on that another day, though).  I did manage to check out the Ventura swap meet last week (along with a few unsuccessful stops at the thrift stores) where I picked up a couple vintage electronics for our Etsy shop:



The last floral phone I bought at the swap meet was hugely popular and sold quickly, so I couldn't resist this crazy floral French princess style phone, which was made in 1973 by the American Telecommunications Corporation and is labeled "The Empress Telephone" in pretty script on the base.  You can't really fully appreciate all the floral in this photo, but trust me, there are plenty of pink, peach, and green flowers to keep this phone's future owner very happy.


My other purchase at the swap meet was this lovely little mid century desk lamp.  I love the clean lines and the combination of glossy white surfaces, gold gooseneck, and a little touch of faux bois on the top of the base (which you can't see in this photo... but it's there).

Amazingly, that's all we bought for the past two weeks!  Last weekend we were actually chaperoning a school ski trip, so that cut into our normal thrifting time, though in a very welcome way.  Yay free skiing!  Not the most romantic first Valentine's Day as a married couple, but... free skiing.  Anyway, what do you think of our two electronic purchases?  Do you pick up vintage electronics?  Did you thrift anything exciting in the past two weeks?

These blogs also host great link-ups that we join, so make sure you check them out, too: Me and my ShadowSir Thrift-A-Lot, a mid century one at Remnant, and new ones at We Call it Junkin and Thrifter Maker Fixer Farm!

Without further ado, a few easy rules for the Nifty Thrifty Link Up:
1. We would love it if you would follow our blog on Google Friend Connect (check the right sidebar), like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and leave a friendly comment :)
2. Only link up recent blog posts that showcase your thrifty finds from the week, including items from yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores, consignment stores, flea markets, and even the side of the road! Thrifty finds that you have restored or updated are fine, but please no unrelated DIY or craft projects (we like those, too, but lets keep this link-up focused on thrifty vintage!).
3. Remember to LINK BACK to this blog - alivingspace - so everyone can join in! 
4. Link straight to your individual post, not your whole blog.
5. No links to Etsy shops or other non-blog sites.

Thanks for joining in!



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