Monday, March 26, 2012

A Tale of Two Chairs

I love vintage furniture. I have always had a fascination with mid century modern stuff, which is enjoying a resurgence right now. Of course this makes it look like I'm just one of the herd, when truth is I liked it well before it became fashionable (oh yes, hipster statement, and no I'm not a hipster LOL).

Due to the fashionability of it, mid-mod is PRICY. My family was never inclined towards mid-mod, but they bought good solid furniture that lasted forever and they never threw anything away.

Ergo, slowly I am rescuing pieces of not-really-mid-mod-but free and bringing them in to the 20th century. I decided I was tired of Ikea and what a treat it is to move to actual WOOD.

A while back, I needed a chair or two for our guest/craft/sitting room. All that Grandpa's house yielded was a couple of gold-and-venge tufted and caned um.."beauties". But the springs were good, the wood was solid, and most of the caning was in good shape.

I took one apart and made an enormous mess of my living room. I replaced the upholstery on the seat and on the back. I painted the chair and the caning with aqua blue. It hardly looks like the same chair anymore.

While I was working on that one, my daughter and my cat developed a fondness for the OTHER one, you know, the one that was still gold and venge and tufted and...euch. Miao lays in the little depression in the seat just like Grandma's little dog used to. I have not yet been able to refurbish it. And frankly, when I want to sit in one of them, I end up in that one too.

So right now they sit next to each other; a living "before and after". I'm not sure if I'm going to refurbish the second one or what I'll do to it. I'm considering painting it black and putting a black printed upholstery on it. Right now, I'm not doing anything.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

This Place is so....Expensive?

It's been about six months and I have been getting the majority of my clothes and Maggie's from secondhand sources; thrift stores, swaps, etc. Every morning I play a little game with myself thinking of how I acquired the things I am wearing. It's usually like this: Pants-thrift shop, blouse-swap, jacket-thrift shop, shoes-on sale with a coupon. I rarely have an outfit anymore that I purchased wholly off-the-rack at full price.

Lest you think I was just a crazy spender back in the day, I was always a bargain hunter. I usually bought things on sale---but it was a sale at, say, Target. I loved to troll the discount shelves every Friday to see what was marked down. In my mind, Target=cheap, therefore sale Target=about as cheap as possible.

Last night I needed a swimsuit, and that's one thing that's tough to buy secondhand. So I went to Target to see what I could find. Usually when I'm at Target alone, I walk all around the store for a little exercise, and enjoy looking at the things. Without realizing it, I started to cruise for "bargains". And with each thing I found, no matter how deeply discounted, I felt myself involuntarily wincing at the price.

I saw a rack of pants that were 70% off. The prices were still up near $10 though, and the pants I've been wearing have been between $0 and $6. The pants I was wearing that day were free from the thrift shop since they had a broken zipper and a missing button. I replaced the zipper, which cost $3, so I guess they ultimately cost $3, but that's way less than $10!

I had to laugh at myself though; $10 is too pricey! Now, if I actually NEEDED pants, and had not had any luck at secondhand sources, I would absolutely put $10 pants into consideration. If those didn't work out, I would move to the full price rack. But no more can I just walk into Target and grab a pair of $25 pants straight off the rack and feel like I'm not getting fleeced.

I wandered over to the toy section. Maggie has been loving doing puzzles. I thought I'd see if any were marked down. They did have some for relatively inexpensive--$5. But the last time I was at the Salvation Army thrift shop, I got her 6 puzzles for less than that (2 @ 35 cents, 2 @ 25 cents, 2 @50 cents). Those puzzles are every bit as nice as the ones at the Target---and she enjoys the heck out of them. She has much more variety than with only 1 $5 puzzle.

I ended up finding a swimsuit and did purchase a bag of cat food. The swimsuit was discounted some, but still came out to $45. But it fit well and I knew I hadn't been able to find any at the second hand store (and second hand suits are usually not all that great). And I knew I needed a suit because none of the ones I had fit comfortably. And so I didn't really feel much distress over that $45 suit because I knew it was a good buy.

But I still have to laugh at thinking "All this stuff is so EXPENSIVE" when a few months ago I would have been crowing to myself about how many bargains I got.