In those hazy days before children, when my time was occupied by being newly married, a full time student, and a part time employee, I developed a passion for yard sales.
I mean this from the bottom of my heart. It isn’t necessarily even the thrill of the hunt — awesome items tend to find me rather than me finding them. It can feel like kismet; the stars are aligning.
Like the time I came across an incredibly shabby, beat up barn board bench at a yard sale. It sat silently whimpering for a watered down coat of grey paint and some wiped on black and white stripes, so it could spend the rest of its days living a dignified life at my front door. I relish that moment as the best $3 I have ever spent.
Be warned, though, should you ever grace me with your presence at my home and comment on an item you can expect the full story of what led me to this piece, what I did to make it my own, and how little it cost.
Since it may be some time before I get to meet you in person, I’m sure you would like to hear a story now. My dining room chandelier? Okay!
Our good sized dining room was sporting a tiny, inconsequential but beautiful crystal chandelier when we bought our home. I did my due diligence in looking for a big highly impactful replacement and went around to all the lighting shops in town. I was discouraged. While I saw many suitable options, the price tags were utterly staggering. So, it was onto Craigslist for me. It took a few weeks, but then I found it. It. It. It is a large, twelve armed brass chandelier with a shiny globe of brass on the bottom. If you ever watched the West Wing you will have seen a reasonable facsimile of this beauty in the White House. Yes, that White House.
The seller kindly delivered the item to my office where it was the object of my coworkers walking by, glimpsing it, and saying with horror, “What is that?!” I assured the Negative Nellies surrounding me that all would be well once I (read: beleaguered hubby) painted the dining room chocolate brown. You know what? That chandelier is a thing of beauty and brings bliss to my heart. Oh, to answer the question I know is on the tip of your tongue...it was 80 bucks.
Now bargain shopping is great, but I’d be remiss to not mention at least one fabulous find that was free. It was a beautiful June day and I was driving home from work. Music playing, sunglasses on, wind rustling my hair, and driving just a bit too fast as I needed to get home to sign onto a teleconference. Then something caught my eye. I zipped by pretty fast, but was sure I glimpsed a maple double headboard. I slammed on the brakes, threw the car into reverse and backed up to the freebie. It was a maple double headboard — something I’d been looking for to put with my youngest son’s bed. I was in work attire — heels, hosiery, pencil skirt, and delicate blouse. But one cannot be faint of heart at these times: I picked that headboard up and made it fit in my Honda Accord. And no, I wasn’t late for my teleconference.
Painting this piece proved challenging because I’m inherently lazy and like to find the easiest way to tackle a task. I started with a brush and a can of a creamy paint. It was looking okay but very slow going and my son said it was “too girly”. So I aborted that in favour of my beloved spray paint. Unfortunately, I made another color misstep in choosing a slate grey as his denim blue wall just swallowed the piece up.
I lugged the headboard back outside (from the third floor of our house, just to be clear) a few weeks later and this time with a can of red spray paint. My favorite brand is Rustoleum. You will hear people wax on about the wonders of Krylon, but it has failed to wow me. My go-to color of red for my boys’ rooms is ‘Regal Red’ — of course Home Depot was out so I stepped out of my comfort zone and went with ‘Apple Red’. It took two cans and was finally done. Except when I had the headboard sit on the floor it was too low and was hidden by the Prince’s my son’s collection of pillows. So, back to Home Depot for clips and I hung that sucker on the wall about 6 inches off the floor and pushed the bed up against it. The red looks brilliant against the blue wall and isn’t in close proximity to any of the Regal Red accents around his room.
Now I would love to tell you more, but wouldn’t it just be better if you came and visited and saw these pieces in person?