Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Frugal beauty

Hmmm... it seems recently instead of my usual "all over the place" blogging, I have tended to get into ruts which last for awhile.  I spent a season in a bookish mood and most recently frugal living (with a deepening the pantry post still waiting to put pen mouse to paper laptop).

My soul wants to take part in some deep theological ponderings but the brain and the flesh are not in the mood... yet.  Perhaps as Easter approaches, my inner spiritual Due North will turn toward the things of the Cross.  In the meantime, I'm in a frugal rut... not necessarily a bad place to be.

So... this combination of frugal thinking and still feeling the fatigue of a long period of illness sent me looking through my home... camera locked and loaded... to locate frugal beauty (much easier than trying to write when one's mind was still rather fuzzy).

I showed this springtime venue on the buffet at the top of the last Sunday Afternoon Tea post.  The silk flowers (shown in that picture) were from Goodwill and a garage sale.  The cruets in the back are Goodwill, originally purchased to take to Stephanie for tea times but I forgot them when visiting last fall.  Too bad... they look so nice here they may remain.  (The silver tea strainer was one of the gifts Steph brought me from England.)

The above pictures shows a close up of my three favorite teapots.  The one in the middle was a gift from Stephanie when she worked in a coffee (and tea) shop while attending college.  The pretty teapot on the left was $5.00 at a garage sale and the teapot on the right was $2.99 at Goodwill.

This beauty was a Goodwill find a few weeks ago (a whopping $3.99 but worth it).  I just love the French Country look it adds to my living room.

The picture doesn't do justice to this sweet footstool.  It was purchased two or three years ago at Goodwill for just a few dollars.  The tapestry lid is worn but beautiful and the books (library sales) cover it, anyway.  The candleholder is a thrift shop find... I think I paid full price for the candle.  :)

Stephanie called from a tag sale in New England to ask if I wanted this folk art tree.  It was exactly like one on display at the cabin we stayed in when visiting Lancaster County.  The set of boxes were from a garage sale.  I paid full price for the little vintage signs but they were only $1.00 each.  :)

I really should have dusted before taking these pictures.  Anyhoo, I've probably had more comments from visitors to our home about this sewing machine than anything else.  It belonged to my mother-in-law and it could not be fixed to actually use.  So... I cut it out of the cabinet and have used it as a piece of beautiful vintage sculpture ever since... love it!  The wooden bird actually goes with the tree but I like it better out in the open... poor birdy.

I love to decorate with old books.  These two books were $3.00 each, purchased at the used book room in my library.  I adored the titles, which were part of a series when written.  As with all the photos, you can click on the picture to enlarge and actually read the cute titles.  The books are also fascinating to actually read.

I thought this breakfront picture shows a variety of objects... most found while thrifting, the wooden "dish" was full price but one of my souvenirs of Lancaster County, the brown crock was free (found with a few more crocks in my in-law's shed while preparing their house to sell), the two Easter mugs were full price but really cheap at Cracker Barrel.  I had a little credit left on a gift card and thought they would add a touch of spring to the breakfront (the picture doesn't show how gorgeous they are, either).

This is what I usually display on the buffet.  I wanted to show the silver tea service (sugar bowl and creamer are in a cabinet to make room for cruets).  I love the look of beautiful silver but obviously cannot afford it brand new (or even at most antique stores).  This set was purchased about five years ago, only $25.00 at an antique mall.  I took a chance as it was sadly tarnished but I could tell it was not pitted... as it turned out, it shined up beautifully.

These are just a few items for a "show and tell" of bringing beauty into our home on a very tight budget.  Edith Schaeffer wrote a book called A Way of Seeing and I think of that title often when decorating frugally.  It truly does become a way of seeing... that combination of expectation and experience when one comes to love the hunt.

Whether we purchase for pennies on the dollar, create our own beauty by  knitting or quilting or painting or growing flowers or sewing or weaving rugs... you get the idea; or think of new ways to use what we already own... it is truly possible to live surrounded by beauty.

Kim, over at Daisy Cottage wrote a great post about how she finds lovely items for her house.  It's pretty much the same thing I do.  You can find that post... here.  Kim's blog, along with my friend Manuela's (which can be found... here), are two of my favorites for finding ideas on how to decorate beautifully on a budget.  Both show lots of pictures (and I am a very visual learner).  :)


Vee said...

I loved both of the posts you linked to today. These women really do have incredible insights to share. Just like you! I feel as if I've had a cup of tea and a cookie with you today. Thanks for the break!

scrappy quilter said...

Brenda I loved taking a walk through your home and seeing the beauty that surrounds you for just pennies an item. What a blessing thrift store finds are. Hugs

Carol said...


Is the off-the-grid book you are looking for possibly:

Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and with (Almost) No Money, by Dolly Freed, published in 1979 but still available today?

Carol (MD)

Brenda Leyland said...

What a treat to wander through your home and see those places of beauty, frugal or otherwise.......

Blessings of strength to every fibre of your being in these coming days of recovery.

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

I love the pretty little touches in your home! Thanks for the new-to-me Edith Schaeffer title you mentioned, too. I always benefit from reading her books.