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This weekend Brendan and I made a quick trip to Fredricksburg, Texas. It’s a day trip from Austin and truly a great little town. It is packed full of local shops and wineries. They are also known for their antique stores and markets. I, of course, didn’t hit up any of that except for some breakfast tacos from Mahaley’s and some fantastic sandwiches from Opa’s for lunch.

I set out in search of the garage and estate sales and the thrift stores. Naturally.

1958 Scrabble for Juniors

At the first estate sale I stopped at, I could have gotten myself in some serious trouble. Loads of beautiful and barely worn vintage. Everything there was so well taken care of including this adorable 1958 Scrabble for Juniors set. Look at those illustrations!

Scrabble for Juniors

I snagged this with all of its pieces for $3!

Vintage Scrabble

Then I spotted this perfect granny square afghan with raised flowers. It’s in fantastic condition and perfect for my neice! $2.50!

Vinage Rose Afghan

I love vintage, handmade linens. Such skill! I wish these skills had been passed down to me. My grandmother was fantastic knitter and crocheter and my great grandmother was a master seamstress. What I wouldn’t give to be taught the same craft. Is that true for you too? This makes me want to take some knitting and crochet lessons…

Raised Flower Afghan

Then, I scored these Cole Haan tassel loafers for $3! The only reason I buy second hand shoes is if they are solid quality. These are and range in price on Etsy and Ebay for between $30-$60. Brand new, they cost over $100.

Vintage wool coat tassle loafers

When I got back to Austin, I still had the thrifting bug so I stopped in an estate sale for 50% off Sunday! The best. I got this vintage wool full length coat for $1.50. I mean that’s crazy. $1.50! I couldn’t pass it up at that price and it’s in perfect condition. Looks like it was never worn, which could possibly be true because we live in Austin.

 

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I know Mary lives in Austin so we get a healthy dose of Austin odds and ends, but exploring it as an outsider is pretty fun, too. Plus, I went with Kyle and he definitely explores a city differently than Mary.

Here are some of our highlights!

We stopped at In-N-Out Burger when we spent the night in Fort Worth. A very good decision! The three of us in the picture (my brother Devon, his girlfriend Abby, and I) had never eaten at In-N-Out before.

The last time I visited Austin, I didn’t get a chance to go to the bat bridge so I was really excited to get to see them this time!

We also did some classical tourism. This was part of an installation at Women & Their Work. These CDs were recycled into a playable theremin. You could make music by waving your hand near an antenna at the opposite end of this tunnel.

The Blanton Museum of Art on UT’s campus has this beautiful atrium right off the lobby. I love the glassy blue stripes and the tall white walls!

I kind of felt like on the whole trip we mostly just ate tacos. I think at least 50% of my meals while in Austin involved a taco — evidence that I was doing it right!

We stopped in Take Heart a shop that Mary thought we’d really like. She was right! It was made even better by little Willa who interrupted her nap to greet all the new shoppers as they came through the door.

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Vintage Leather Couch Nailhead Trim

Last Thursday, Brendan and I both had the day off. I spent the morning catching up on all my favorite blogs and I read Emily Henderson’s How to Find the Perfect  Leather Sofa. Her guide is great and it totally made me want a vintage leather couch. Side note: the first photos in that post are hilarious!

I never thought I would actually want a leather sofa because they are so hard to find in just the right style and not to mention expensive. So here stood my conditions: vintage or perfectly worn, not overstuffed, straight lines, fits my budget, and had some interest (i.e. nailhead trim). Hence why I’ve never bought a sofa, those conditions are super unlikely.

Welp, until Thursday that is. I talked B into taking a trip to Goodwill and one vintage shop (those were the conditions since vintage furniture hunting isn’t exactly his thang). We stopped in one of my favorites, Get Back Vintage. The shop owner, Jenny, is the only one that works there and she’s got super reasonable prices for Austin. I walked around the back and took a peek in her back room.

There it was. Covered in a drop cloth and that perfect nailhead trim poking out.

Vintage Leather Couch

I asked Jenny if it was still available and if I could take a look at it. When she said yes, I’m pretty sure you could see my heart pounding. But I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be able to afford it.

Vintage Leather Couch

Then, she told me the price was $550 and she would cover the tax. Whoa, I wasn’t expecting that! I grabbed Brendan and had him come check it out. He was sold. Perfect.

That night I got on Pinterest and typed in leather sofa just to see if I could find the source of this couch. Turns out it’s $3000 (!!!) from Robert Redford’s Sundance Catalog. So it’s not vintage leather, but it’s worn and perfect.

Don’t get me wrong $550 is a huge amount of money for us right now. But, this was an investment. It’ll be around forever and will most likely always have a place in our home.

Now, what do you think?!

 

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Indoor Citrus Trees

Little Green Notebook: Calamondin (Indoor) Orange Trees.

After seeing a post from Jenny over at Little Green Notebook on citrus trees, I was so inspired to try this in my own home. Unfortunately though, I don’t really have a window that allows enough light in for the trees. Especially, since I live in a home built in the 1950s (that hasn’t been updated much), the isolation just isn’t energy efficient enough for me to leave the blinds up and curtains tied back all day. Also, I live in Austin, Texas where it’s like 159 degrees everyday. I’m on a mission now to find a way to do this. Maybe a small lime tree in the kitchen?

Another bonus to having these plants inside, is that plants in your home help to filter out harmful toxins. Not to mention, they produce yummy fruit. By the way, did you know that ivy in your kitchen filters out harmful gas from your stove. Making the air better quality.

I’m inspired in more way then one.

Do you have a indoor citrus tree? I’d like to know any tips or ideas you might have about owning one.

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On a recent trip home from work, I decided to stop in at my local Goodwill. It’s literally right down the street and within walking distance. I stop in there often to just see what they have. I usually walk out empty handed or with thoughts running through my head about furniture I just saw (i.e. I wonder what that would look like blue or how could I make that piece work).

Well my last trip started to seem like it would be no different. I walked the aisles of furniture and decided I would take another quick look back through.

Here’s how the conversation I had with myself went on my second trip back down the aisles:

“Wait, what’s that? No way, is that…is that a Cedar Chest? Hmm..

(pulls out said chest) Okay, the outside’s not too bad. Hmm, what about the inside?

“Oh my god! Oh my god! It’s a Lane! Okay, calm down. I’m sure it’s too expensive.

What?! $60?! Oh, I’m taking this.”

For the next ten minutes, I pulled it out, opened it up, turned it over, and just stood there trying to calm myself down to having rational thoughts. After quickly deciding it was for sure coming home with me, I didn’t move from that spot. I just waited for a Goodwill employee to walk by, and he did. He had to go get a cart for me to tote it out. At the register the cashier asked what it was so that she could type it into the computer. The guy helping me said “Um, a box” I thought, “if you only knew buddy.”

Okay, I’ll admit. My freakout over this cedar chest was a little nuts. But living in Austin and seeing what they go for, is what informed my decision to grab it up. I knew it wasn’t going to last long once it was displayed better.

Once I got it home, and the fella and I examined it a little bit closer. I realized, sadly, that the bottom had to come off. We just took out the screws and the ones that were too deep we had to break off the wood to get to them. As you can see, the damage was pretty bad on the base. It was broken, some worm holes, and quite a bit of water damage. Not to mention a lot of the veneer had started to come off. If I could have saved the base, I would have. Because removing it significantly decreases the value of the piece. That’s okay with me though. I’m not planning on re-selling it anytime soon.

After a quick clean up with diluted white vinegar, liquid detergent, and then a polish with beeswax, it looks so lovely in its new home. I’m on the hunt now for new legs.

After doing some research, I discovered that my chest was manufactured on May 16, 1950. That meant that the day after I bought it, it turned 61 years old. Such an awesome discovery.

Also, I left the original marketing stapled to the inside. How awesome is that typography?

Do you have any treasures that made you freak out upon discovery? Please tell me that you do, because I’d really like to not be the only crazy out there! Also, if you know where to buy some cool legs for this chest send them my way. I’m considering these after I saw them on Retro Renovation.

I linked up over at Her Library Adventures: Flea Market Finds and Apron Thrift Girl: Thrift Share Mondays

 

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Renting often equals living with white walls or super ugly wall colors that your property manager/landlord is unwilling to let you paint over. OR, if you can paint sometimes it’s just not worth it depending on room size, amount of time you’ll live there, etc. Although, as they say, the easiest way to spruce up a room is some fresh paint on the walls. Hands down.

When we moved in, our bathroom was baby yellow with black and white checkered floors. The previous tenant left a brand new black and white shower curtain. The yellow just wasn’t cuttin’ it and it made the bathroom look constantly dingy. I wanted something crisp so we set to it.  I’m one of the lucky ones whose landlord will allow them to paint.

We used Martha Stewart Living Cumulus Cloud paint. I took the paint sample home and sat with it for a couple of days. I decided to just go ahead and do it. At first, while I was painting it seemed like the color was too purple. Weird, right? I didn’t think it looked purple at all in the store. Then, I started regretting it. My fella talked me into sitting with it for a bit longer and honestly I didn’t really have the money to waste on paint, so I stuck with it. I’m so glad I did.

We also decided to paint the trim in the bathroom pure white because the previous painted did a seriously shit-tay job when they painted the yellow. Yuck. Also, I decided to paint the chair rail the gray at first. I didn’t like it and decided that the bathroom needed the detail, so I went back and painted it white also. Again, I’m glad I did.

I decided the room needed a sink skirt for pattern and a new rug. Okay, on Monday I shared my grievances about IKEA furniture, but as I said, we love each other (IKEA and I). I love their housewares and all things awesome. So, after I searched at my local vintage shops for fabric and I wasn’t able to find any I went to IKEA. I purchased the white/light grey/orange Majken fabric and my bathroom rug in a dark grey (which I cannot find on the site now).

I made the sink skirt by measuring the base of the sink and the height from the floor. Then I cut the material accordingly and added a pleat. I didn’t want it ruffled, just straight. I think I accomplished that. Then, I just added Velcro and attached to the underside of the sink.

At the last moment we decided to spray paint the towel hooks with some leftover bright orange spray paint. It matched perfectly.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the space. Sure, I’d like to paint the ceiling the back of the door and change out some accessories but that’ll all have to wait. Decorating is a process and I’m okay with that.

 

  • Paint: $30
  • Supplies: $30 (Since we just moved I had to restock)
  • Fabric: $8
  • Rug: $3ish (I think)
  • Total: $71

What quick fixes have you done recently?

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If you come to visit me in Austin, I must take you to one place. Room Service Vintage.

I love this place. It houses furniture, housewares, clothing, jewelry, records, and more. It’s been featured on Apartment Therapy and Design*Sponge.

The prices are reasonable, but you have to keep in mind that there is a market for vintage goodies in Austin. Sure, some of these things you could find significantly cheaper elsewhere in the U.S., but you can also find them so much more expensive. It’s all relative. For us locals here in Austin, Room Service Vintage is such a gem.

So if you find yourself in Austin, you must stop in here!

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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