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Thrifty Cent

I’m a Gemini.  I’m not so sure I completely believe in all the astrological brew-ha-ha, but I do think there’s something to be said for a belief system that resides in the international social subconscious.  Be it the moon’s pull or a self-fulfilling prophecy, my Gemini-ness is most evident in my split personalities.  I’m not crazypants, but I do have two equal and opposite forces fighting tooth and nail with in me at all times:  I have expensive taste but I am cheap frugal.

Luckily, I have cultivated other characteristics to assist in marginalizing the internal struggle:  I’m a superstar at haggling and I’m not so bad at fixing things up.  Here are 3 projects I’ve worked on in the last couple of weeks that have satisfied each twin that lives inside this little gemini:

I found this lucite gem at the City Wide Garage Sale last weekend.  Normally I go when the best deals are to be had:  just before close on Sunday.  This time, I tried something different:  I went when the doors opened on Saturday and the, ahem, planets aligned and the gods presented me with this vintage lucite barrel chair.

The price was $130, which is approximately 13 times more than I like to spend on a chair, but my frugal side also knows a good deal when it sees one (similar chairs are going for $800 – $900 online).  I talked them down (of course) to $100 and hauled ass out of the convention center.

Now, don’t be fooled by the quasi-good lighting.  That fabric is one thousand percent polyester and had enough dirt to fill a shallow grave.   I ripped it off post-haste.

After taking off the offending upholstery, I realized why the seat was so uncomfortable:  most of the rubber supports were rotten and torn to shreds.  I cut new ones and Matt stapled them on for me.  Look, I’m crafty, I can make things, but few people on this earth are strong enough to work the devil’s hand-tool that is Matt’s staple gun.  One half-clutch of the handle is enough to give you a life-long battle with carpal tunnel syndrome

Once the internal repairs were complete it was time to spiff up the seat.  I chose to cover the seat with fabric cut from a vintage silk scarf that I had purchased at a City Wide Garage Sale several months ago for two whole dollars.

I then covered the scarf with clear vinyl.  I chose to use the vinyl for several reasons: 1.  Putting plastic on furniture is hilarious.  2.  I wanted to protect the scarf and 3.  I wanted to give the seat the same wow-pizzazz as it’s lucite shell.  In person, it looks lovely together.

Because I didn’t have enough fabric from scarf #1 to line the outer edge of the seat, I used fabric from a second scarf also purchased from the garage sale several months ago for $.99.  See, Erin, I do have a use for all the fabric I hoard.

Moving on to project #2

I bought this sad little excuse for a chair at a yard sale for $2 a year or so ago.  When I brought it home I could see Matt’s little mind adding up the plausibility of filing for divorce.  I promised him glory and grandeur then the chair sat for months.   Now that my office is almost done (pictures coming soon, promise) I finally had a need for it at my sewing station.

I painted it with high-gloss black spray paint, then recovered the seat with this awesome black and white Native American graphic print fabric I purchased when I lived in Albuquerque a gazillion years ago.  I’m almost positive that I got it off the $1/yard table.  I bought every last inch and have used it for several projects over the years, this is the first time it’s appeared on an item for my home, though.

And finally, project #3

I bought this lame lion head print from the thrift store for $7.99.  It felt a bit steep for all that mucky beige art, but I had a plan and figured that, even if I failed, at least the frame was worth 3 times the price.

I used a straightedge to draw laser-light-show lines across the background, then taped off each area separately and painted as needed.  It should be noted that I originally planned to cut out the lion head and put him on a new background, but the print is mounted on thick cardboard and I wasn’t sure I could cut it out cleanly.  The result?

This little lion was relocated from depressingville to crazytown.  I think he likes it better there.  Oh, I painted the frame black, too.

All of these projects are living in my office now.  Here are all the before and afters together.  Are you starting to get a sense of the color scheme?

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