Saturday, July 30, 2011


An important part of a thrifty, frugal, and simple lifestyle is seeing the potential of things. You need to be able to look beyond chipped paint and dirt smudges. Our house is a case in point.

Other couples might have passed up the chance to purchase a house covered in unattractive asbestos shingles painted baby blue. Coupled with bright pink trim, the house hurt my eyes. Ugh! But the view, the yard, and oh, just the potential of it all! And now, thanks to lots of work (my husband can do pretty much anything, I'm convinced!) that blue and pink monstrosity now  looks like this!

And our yard looks like this!

 And our view (oh, that view) looks like this!

It's all about the potential!

So when I spied a raggedy looking wooden bookcase at my local thrift shop, I did a double take. First of all, I'm always on the lookout for wooden bookcases. They are so handy, and so hard to find. This one looked a little rough, but the size was perfect.  When I gave it the "lift and wobble" test to see how sturdy it was, I was pleasantly surprised by the heft of it. It appeared extremely sturdy and quite heavy. After consulting with my two girlfriends, we decided that it was indeed worth the ten dollar asking price. Not as good a deal as my two dollar chair, but a reasonable asking price, nonetheless.

Now, along with the ability to see the potential in something, you must be willing to follow through with a little elbow grease as well. So, when I got the bookcase home I immediately set to work (which is highly unusual for me, but I had an afternoon's worth of free time). I enlisted Heron's help to screw the beadboard-like backing more securely into place. Then I sanded and scraped down the areas of flaking paint (being careful to catch it all on a tarp in case any of the paint was lead-based). On to priming.

I had some yellow tinted primer left over from another household project.
I decided that this bookcase would live in our bedroom, at least for the time being. So I painted it the same color as all the other furniture in the room, a deep purple.

Transformed! In the span of an afternoon I had a very cool bookcase!
Keeping my eyes open for things that I want or need has become sort of a game for me. It almost never fails that when I 'm looking for that specific item, it will appear to me at one of my thrift store haunts, or a friend or neighbor is looking to rid themselves of that item. I never feel that I settle for items of inferior quality or things that I don't really care for. On the contrary. I just have to do a little more legwork, use a little more elbow grease, and be a little more patient. 

The life of a frugal, thrifty, and crafty housewife. Such an adventure!


  1. so jealous of your bookcase! looks great!

  2. WOW! Can you come over and help me? LOLOL! Hubby has an eye for things like this but not me. GORGEOUS bookcase. I love this post! xoxox --Kim

  3. thanks for stopping by. the house looks GREAT and so does the bookcase!

  4. I LOVE seeing your home before, how magnificently far you've come!!!!!!