Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thrifty Thelma and the Three Dollar Lamps

Do you have one of those friends who loves to get all her clothes at the thrift store so she can tell you all about it?

 You know the kind I mean, the Thrifty Thelma who can't receive a compliment on her  blouse without  assigning it a dollar amount followed by an outfit yakabout that sounds like a clip from The Price Is Right.

This blouse? It's Ann Taylor, and the tags were still on it.  It was only $5.00.
These Michael Kors shoes were $5.00 too.
 And this Kate Spade purse? Two bucks.

Wow. Just wow. 

I've never purchased an article of clothing in a thrift store in my life. I have enough trouble finding clothes to fit me in Retail Land where they have not yet begun to shrink. I'm sure enough not going to buy preshrunk clothes in a a place with neither a dressing room nor a return policy. That would be a trip to the crazy patch for me.

No, I'm not a Thelma in the fashion department. I totally get her, though. I get her because I'm a Thelma in just about every other department, especially in the home decorating department. I don't know what it is, folks, but I get a serious thrill (I mean a serious thrill...) out of finding stuff for my house on the cheap and then yakking it abroad to anyone who will listen.

But then, you knew that, didn't you?

 Very soon, I'm going to be finished with the Great Living Room Adventure that I've been working on for months, and I'll give you a tour. When I do, you can be certain that it's going to sound like an episode of The Price Is Right. 

Coffee table...$20.00.
Some sconces... $5.00 for the pair

Table lamps...

Three bucks.

About the cost of a pumpkin latte.
(Thrifty Thelma always throws in the comparison cost. It makes it even thriftier. )

I paid a latte apiece for the matching lamps in my living room,
and today, I'm going to yak about them.

I didn't buy them because they were pretty.  I bought them because they resembled the lamps living  in my head. Of course, the lamps in my head didn't have rusted lamp parts and a body coming apart in several places.

 And they didn't have a harp almost as tall as the lamp itself. 

What in the world is up with that harp?

But they were tall and skinny. I was looking for tall and skinny. And they weren't metal. I wasn't looking for metal.  I was looking for a modified baluster style.

And they worked.

That part's kind of important too.

So they got cleaned up, and the brass parts got polished and Rub n Buffed.  Gorilla wood glue fixed all the loose parts, and I bought new harps. (Which technically adds five bucks to each lamp, if you're keeping track.)

 I painted them with poor man's Annie Sloan in a shade  that I call taupelicious.  It's a combination of 423 different taupe rejects from my very large stash of taupe reject testers.

Because it's nearly impossible to find the perfect taupe for a project, that's why.

It's hard I tell you.

It's so hard that I have nearly broken up with taupe three times this year. When I finally created a shade that worked, I made a paint chip and took it to the paint store.  

It looks really pretty white washed with some soft white.

At least it looks pretty to me.

Kind of a latte color, don't you think?

 I could very easily sand it down in parts to distress it if I have a mind to. 

I don't really have a mind to.

The shade was actually the biggest pain.  Every lamp shade that I tried came up a bit short. Literally.  They were all ten inches in length, and they tended to make the lamp look like a gawky preteen.


Longer shades were all too chiffony or pleated for the lamp in my head. 

I finally found these simple barrel shades at Target of all places for $22.00.  Lucky me, I happened to have a fifty dollar gift card to Target in my stash of unused gift cards.

So in Debbie Land, that means these shades were free.

They're a soft white, which is what I wanted, 
and they stay white even with the light on, which was important to me, too. 

I like them. 

Yes, I know it's plain. Plain happens to be exactly what I was going for here. I like to call it simple instead. Soft, restful, and simple. Those are the watchwords for the new living room.

And taupe. Don't forget taupe.

So in the end, the lamps ended up costing me about eight bucks each. Even if you add in the cost of a shade, which I didn't,  that's still only thirty dollars for the lamp and shade. Not  too shabby for a lamp that is so very much like the one living in my head, is it?

No, I don't think so either.

And that's all I have for today. I think it has stopped raining enough for Mr. Backhoe Man to begin the terrible, horrible, very bad, no good lawn destruction, and I need to go upstairs and put on the big girl pants...

... which I can assure you would never come from a thrift store. 

What about you? 
What will you buy from the thrift store?
What won't you buy?

And yes, dear Farm Sister. You do not need to answer this question. I know the answer fully well. Shhh.



elizabeth said...

Great lamp makeover on your Thrifty Thelma find! I'm not into finding clothes at the thrifts but yes to all manner of house/decor items!

Debbie said...

Good morning! First off, I LOVE the lamp makeover! It's perfect...and so it that shade of taupe! And just so you know, it my book those shades were "free" too...just how I think..why am I not surprised? lol I have never thrift store shopped for clothes. Not sure why, it has just never happened. Then I got to thinking, I guess I am just not a thrift store shopper period. And now I am afraid I've missed something huge. I do look for bargains, sales, clip coupons, and TALK a lot about fabric, sewing, and quilting bargains...does that count? Enjoy your day Debbie. I am looking forward to the big reveal!

Catherine said...

Dear Thelma, I think these lamps look great!! I would never guess $8.00. They are beautiful. Blessings, Catherine

Sharon said...

OK, Dollar Debbie, this is a wonderful (and thrifty) makeover! I really love how those lamps turned out. Perfect addition for the Year of Taupe. That chair and little side table perfectly complement the *new* lamps - and it looks like just the perfect corner to have some coffee! I'll be right over...

What do I buy at thrift stores? It's been a while since I've visited one, but I usually looked for home decorative stuff. What won't I buy? Shoes, definitely will NOT buy shoes.

Denise said...

Not quite sure what answer you are expecting from the farm sister but my answer is that I enjoy thrift looking. I cannot hardly pass the clothes fast enough. Creeps me completely out. I mostly buy glassware. I look at home décor but rarely buy it. I LOVE what you find but just don't see with 'your' eyes. What you produce with your thrift finds ALWAYS amazes me. ALWAYS. I think the lamp is just perfect. The color, style, lampshade are just lovely. Not for just you. I would use them in my home too!!

I'm more of a sale, discount retail kind of gal. :)

Mrs.Rabe said...

The lamps are awesome! I can't wait to see your whole living room.

I will never buy big girl panties or any kind of panties from a thrift store! I do however buy some clothes, shoes/boots, dishes, books etc. I love to save money.


ps - I think some people talk about how much they paid because they feel like people may judge them, or they just want us to know their awesome thrifting superpowers!

Dayle Allen Shockley @ A Collection of Days said...

Classic, simple ... I love that style, both in decor and fashion. I've never been a frilly girl on either front.

The shade is perfect and you did an awesome job on the lamp base. The color looks delicious.

As for thrift store shopping, I'm kinda picky about which ones I patronize but I do enjoy finding things on the cheap--at least some things.

Ann said...

I'm afraid of thrift/second hand stores. I'm afraid that I'm going to buy something with the intent of re-habbing it, only to have said item end up in my ever growing "to donate" pile. Insert sound of money being flushed...

I DO, however, LOVE what you do with your finds! Lamps are a hard one for me, too. Just got one not long ago at BB&B. You probably could have made it for a lot less than I paid. :)

What I really need is a decorator! I can look at individual pics of things I like...but have trouble putting an entire room together.


Sooner Laura said...

I don't buy clothes at thrift stores. They do have some nice, even new stuff, I just can't get into it. I do buy decor stuff like the lamps, I can deal with that. I used to be a big retail clearance sale clothing shopper and I could tell you where every item came from, the original price, the amount I paid and percentage of discount. Now I wear and shirt and can't even remember what store it came from, if I've cut the tag out - which is almost always - partly because they are scratchy, partly because I don't want to see the size.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Oh no...I'm Thelma...Yes I am, I buy some of my clothes at the thrift and then brag to anyone that will listen! Now the lamp, I think you nailed it, discretely gives you light!


Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

PERFECT shade of taupe!! You go, girl!! BTW, the "colorful" lamp you commented on earlier is from a garage sale... still has the ORIGINAL shade, which is not to say it even resembles white anymore... but, I love that it is the same one that came with it. LOL! Don't you love the thrill we get from our "finds"? I have to say, I am LOVING the taupe and look forward to seeing more of this room.

I do have a "vintage" wool coat I wrangled for $10 at a flea market that I LOVE and proudly wear among furs and what-have-yous when the occasion merits. That's it for thrift clothes for me... or does Walmart count?? LOL!

blessings and hugs ~ tanna

kitty said...

I was out of town visiting my sick Mom in Ohio and came to check out your lamps. Ooh, I love them, Debbie!!!! The color is the perfect taupe and the shades a re wonderful. Gotta love Target! My mom is a thrift store shopper, even for clothes. My sister and I can't do the clothes thing, but it love to look at dishes and things for the home. Yes, my dear mom loves to tell the price, just like Thrifty Thelma!!

kitty said...

I know I'm not supposed to comment, but I LOVED your post on the sisterhood of the traveling light. I'd love to have a pumpkin latte with you, even in cyberspace!!!

Lynn@Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Your lamp turned out great, glad you found what you were looking for! I'm not a fashionista, if I could live in (thrifted) jeans and my Eagles sweatshirt I'd be a happy girl:@)

Red Couch Recipes said...

Lovely lamps. You really have a way with remaking thrifty finds and with words. Joni

Debbiedoos said...

Don't hate me...but I'm that Thelma lol!! Not all the time, but some of my favorite clothes came from thrifting, and yes, I do say, goodwill, 3 bucks lol! You scored a cool lamp!

Debbiedoos said...

And the makeover is fantastic!

Barbara F. said...

No clothes, for sure, or shoes. I really don't like buying anything fabric, I worry about bugs, bed bugs, scabies, yucky disgusting things. I know, my brain just functions differently than most! Aye!

Beth, ...".E." Lizard Breath Speaks said...

oh my goodness - i would never recognize it ... looks so good. i love the new coloring. i have never shopped vintage. but my hubby has & i know many that have done it as well. i usually find pants that are great for some one just not me. i am too long ... to tall. ha. ha!! or how about i find furniture that is great for someone but just not our home. there was this green chair ... it was gorgeous - i high back, wing backed chair ... just perfect ... i will remember it for years & years. ( :

Creations By Cindy said...

I totally love the makeover! WOW! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Ruth Kelly said...

Your lamp blends right in =- well done!

Janette's Sage/Simply Your Decor said...

Bravo, bravo, bravo...and I too won't buy clothes at a Thrift store, mainly because I hate buying clothes, when I could decorate and I hate my size!

Great post...you gift of writing I envy...LOL!!!

Denise at Forest Manor said...

Hi Debbie!

I love your new lamps; you did a great job fixing them up, and I love the color you painted them! I think drum shades are quite handsome; I only have one in my house right now (in our den), but I think it looks really nice.

As usual, I got some good chuckles reading your post. :-D So you've almost broken up with taupe three times this year, huh? I agree with you -- it can be a very difficult color to work with. So far you're doing a great job with it, though.

I never buy clothes at the thrift shop or the Goodwill for the very same reasons you just listed. I have a hard enough time finding things to fit shopping in the regular stores. I do, however, buy lots and lots of things for our home (and our son's house) from thrift stores. It's a wonderful way to re-cycle and decorate our homes affordably.

I can't wait to get the tour of your finished living room, Debbie; I know it must look wonderful. :) Have a great day!



Scribbler said...

From what I can see it all looks quite elegant.

The lamp makeover looks fantastic. I would get lamps from a thrift -- in fact I have a time or two. I never take the shades.

A new shade for a lamp is like getting a great new dress that really fits!

I bought a chair once from the Salvation Army, and didn't notice it had a bent leg. I painted it red, and it looked so cute, then it turned over with me in it, and I got two broken ribs. Guess it wasn't much of a deal!

I might buy a bookcase or something like that. I would never buy soft goods or upholstery because you can very easily take him bedbugs or fleas. Nuff said.

bj said...

OOO, I love thrift store clothing...we have some really nice thrift clothing stores and some of my favorite things came from several of them...
and of course, my whole entire house is done in THRIFT....well, not ALL of it...but mostly all of it.
Love your lamps...I just bought black shades with...GULP.....
rhinestones on them.....I am such a glitzy, foolish foolish girl.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

That lamp project turned out great! I've been looking at lamps at Goodwill since I need a few more for the new house but haven't seen anything I really think I can work with.

My husband buys clothes all the time at Goodwill. Which is amazing since he's in the fashion industry and usual a high style kind of guy. But he likes the GW for casual clothes. I rarely buy clothes there because I hate clothes shopping as it is and rummaging around all those racks just is not fun.

We were at Goodwill on Sunday and there was a lady who had her cart full of clothes and tons of shoes. She'd been clothes shopping for 3 hours!!!

Sue said...

Love what you can do with the thrifty finds Debbie.
I am not really a bargain shopper, I just don't have it in me to hunt through racks for bargains. {even when we were young and POOR - just wore the same old things forever} Anywho, no one is more surprised than ME that I love to go to thrift stores now. I still bypass any fabric, but head straight to breakable things, books and the like. I have found some fun things, but most of all I just like to see if I CAN find something.

Barbara Neubeck said...

..hello Debbie..
I love your lamp makeover.. such a soft and restful colour.
I'm a bit of a thrift shop clothing person. .. my 2 sisters and I all worked in the sorting warehouse of Lifeline here in Australia.. it's one of our biggest outlets for donated clothing and home wares.....one of my sisters still volunteers at a St Vincent de Paul charity shop. ... but we don't go on about the price ...
I love the discount shopping in our K-Mart and Target stores.. that's a real buzz for me...then I do go on about the 'savings' I made... hehehe...
Hugs and Blessings... Barb xx

Sharlotte said...

Oh Debbie,
I love this lamp...and I love simple too. I truly believe less is more. Too busy makes my head spin and I feel overwhelmed.
Your lamp is perfect, just perfect. I can't wait to see your room.
Hm...what do I buy at thrift stores? Mainly things I can repurpose: furniture, home goods. However, I have begun purchasing a few clothes items - mainly jeans and tops. It seems I have a bad habit of painting with whatever I might be wearing because "I'm just going to paint a little." Well, that doesn't always work out, I end up painting for a longer time and invariably, paint ends up on my clothes. (such a bad habit)So, to combat that, I look for "working clothes", BUT the store has to be clean. The clothes are washed as soon as I bring them home...I still have "cootie" issues - you never know.
I also like to look for sewing notions - buttons are a favorite.
It's kinda a game to find things, isn't it?

Laurie Ritchey said...

I can definitely relate to this. The thrill of finding something inexpensive, but perfect, just gives me goose bumps! You did great with the lamps. the color and the shade are perfect on it. I can't wait to see the entire room. laurie

Deborah Montgomery said...

Love how you write, it just makes me smile! Great job with the lamp. I have only bought a few thrift store clothes, but I agree with others, it's not in my comfort zone. China and linens and teacups are always worth thrifting, I think..
And I just loved your latest post.

Shanee said...

Oh my, a few lines in and I realized you had seen me at Goodwill! Yes, I admit I am Thelma, I love to tell everybody how much what I am wearing costs. Mini and Spare Daughter dread coming home because they will have to tour my closet to see my deals! Your lamps are awesome. Love the taupe you worked with. I am glad I am not the only person that uses the "new thrifty math" when totaling projects!

xinex said...

What a beautiful makeover, Debbie. I love it!...Christine

corners of my life said...

I too am watching one Hallmark movie at a time but finding them a bit corny this year. They aren't what they used to be . . .


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