Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: It's Chic to Be Cheap {3}

I don't watch Oprah very often anymore. If I want political commentary, I can watch Fox News. I do, however, tune in whenever she does the home makeover shows. I love watching the designers transform a home to reflect the homeowners' personalities. It doesn't hurt that Nate Berkus. is. a. hottie. Seriously.

If I can make it through an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition without shedding a tear, I'm in good shape. That's another show that I like because the designers really seem to take the homeowners' tastes and style into consideration, unlike Hildi from Trading Spaces, which I haven't seen in years. Wasn't she the one who decorated a family room by gluing hay on the walls??!

I wish my house looked like this:

Or this:

But it doesn't. At all. (photos from I am too chicken to try things. (L, I haven't forgotten about our decorating playdate. When you get back from The Wonderful of Disney, I'll call you to see when you and La-La can come over for a consultation.) I did some soul-searching once when I wasn't watching TiVo'd episodes of Grey's Anatomy or The Office, and I decided that one of the decorating elements that's important to me is displaying family photos, both current shots and "heirloom" portraits.

This is where the thrifty part comes in. I promise I'll get there, ya'll.

T's grandparents came to visit over Christmas break, and they brought a packet of old photos for me to go through. My plan is to do an entire wall of old black and white family photos in the "new room." I used our crappy old HP printer/copier/fax/scanner to scan the photos onto my laptop. Much cheaper than taking them to the camera store or copy shop for a scan. I stuck the photos on my zip drive, and printed them out at Target's Kodak machine...again, much less costly than Ritz Camera!

But frames are expensive, and Natalie took all my Scotch tape to play some weird make-believe game after being inspired by an episode of The Berenstain Bears, so I couldn't just tape them on the wall, now could I?

What's a girl to do?

Well, because I am a good listener, I headed over to The Dollar Store in the nearest shopping center. My friend, Kelly, swears by The Dollar Store. She has all sorts of beautiful, crafty creations that she's made with materials purchased at TDS.

Much like WalMart, the idea of shopping at The Dollar Store used to make me break out in hives... until I actually went in and found some cute stuff! Not only did TDS have a bunch of 5x7 frames, but they also had many different sizes of mats, in a variety of colors! I purchased a stack of black 5x7 frames and white mats and hurried home to start on my project before Natalie came home from preschool and asked to "help."

Like anything that is dirt cheap, the mats weren't exactly the right size for the frames, so I did a bit of "editing." I found T's box cutter, and managed to not slice a major artery while trimming off a little bit on one side of each mat. Like so:

I ended up with some beautifully framed family photos! I knew I had some extra 5x7 frames stuffed in a craft bin somewhere. They were brown wood, but a can of $0.97 black spray paint from WalMart fixed those, and voila! Matching frames.

Here's the finished product!

Now if I can just get the gumption to hang them....

What ways have you found to save in the home decor department? Have you ever snatched up a fabulous find at The Dollar Store? Please leave me a comment, and I'll feature you in this Saturday's post!


  1. i LOVE this! i am always in search of black frames w/ white matting for my black and white gallery in the dining room. i will def. check TDS out---when i get my
    "all-al-ince" that is.

  2. I always wait for Bath and Body works to have the $5 sale on the Wallflowers plugins. They smell better and last longer than any air freshner I've ever used and are normally about around $12. Every few months there is a five dollar sale though and you can get the starter kits and refills for less than have the price!

  3. i love looking for lamps and frames at thrift stores. i also swear by krylon's nondrip satin finish spray paint in black. so....i take those lamps, frames and any furniture i find with good lines adn spraypaint them. voila!! "matching" items all very cheaply made.

  4. Way to save money and I am so glad you didn't cut your fingers off, cause I live to read your wonderful writings. Anxious to know what you call the new room and see it with it's decor.

  5. Way to save money and I am so glad you didn't cut your fingers off, cause I live to read your wonderful writings. Anxious to know what you call the new room and see it with it's decor.


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