Friday, September 27, 2013

Vintage Quilt Couch

My client loves yardsales, and picked up this couch about 3 yrs ago. She had always intended to slipcover it. It just took her awhile to find the perfect fabric. While shopping at an estate sale, she eyed a vintage quilt that some one else was looking at. She waited patiently to pounce on it as soon as they set it back down. 

It was what she had been looking for. MAGIC--when you know it's it and there's no second guessing.

Here was her inspiration photo. Almost identical shaped couch with dark legs and a darling pleat ruffle along the bottom edge.

 Couch---BEFORE---it had seen better days....worn and dirty, but AWESOME lines and comfortable.

Couch---AFTER--we just used the vintage quilt on the inside back and a cream canvas everywhere else. I was able to get 4 pillows out of the quilt as well. I had to work around bleach spots and make sure the pattern was centered. They turned out great though!

She had the most amazing house full of yardsale finds. She goes to yardsales every Saturday---jealous!

I did 2.75" pleat ruffle with 2" between pleats with 1.5" kickback. The canvas was pretty thick, so I couldn't self line the pleat ruffle. I did a .75" blind hem instead.

 Close up of quilt. The quilt gave it a great texture and character to a plain cream slipcover. She said, "It turned out better than what I was expecting!" YAY!!! Bringing things back to life and making them beautiful makes me so really HAPPY!

 The lighting wasn't the best today inside (cloudy and rainy), so I switched to my 50mm lens (close up lens that lets in more light) and was able to get some decent pics. Her house was too beautiful to not get good pics. I love her two new blue chairs with cane backs that she got for $10!

SIDE NOTE---opening the office project is well under way!

Here is the BEFORE....

 Here is the wall opened up! LOVE IT! My dad came and looked in the attic and looked at our blueprints and determined that wall wasn't load bearing---so we took it out!

SO much bigger and open and the kids can sit on the computer in the office instead of 10 kids standing around my bar.

 I paid my 13 yr old son to remove all the carpet from the stairs. Our plans are to do hard wood stairs with 6" craftsman newell posts. I ordered new stair treads and risers from

This is my inspiration pic from Remodelaholic blog
Here's my upcycled kitchen chandelier. I decided my cream one didn't go anymore. I found the silver one at ReStore in Park City. I removed the glass shades and had Heber grind off the swirly parts down the center stem. I then put in clear light bulbs---LOVE IT! More industrial.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Larsen Master Bedroom

One of my passions is decorating!!! Camille (one of my best friends and running partner) loves it just as much as me. When I say decorating-- I mean "Thrift Store" Decorating, scrappy, repurpose, use what you have, make it work, and make it beautiful on a budget!!

We talked our friend Brooke into letting us do her Master Bedroom. Camille started a pin board on pinterest and had Brooke pin the things she loved. After browsing her pinboard we chose the color scheme of NAVY and CORAL. 

This was her inpiration pic from Censational Girl blog.

BEFORE---her husbands (Mike) only request was to keep the waterbed! I took a look at it and figured we could make it work. I could make it look like a platform bed, and more modern. I figured we could turn the headboard around to update it and lose all the cubbies, mirror and sconces.

BEFORE---too short of curtains, and not so cute valances---sorry Brooke. I also wanted to eliminate the home gym in the corner---it was time for a "Big Girl" room.


I also slipcovered the lamp shades in a blue diamond fabric. The duvet is from size was $80--beats buying the fabric and sewing it myself! A king size Duvet requires a minimum of 6 yds per side....12 yds total.

 We bought Lenda Curtains and rods from IKEA--and Heber came and hung them for us. Those chairs were $16 for the pair and the upholstry was great. We didn't have to do any work on them. I like the eclectic look--"ladies chair" and "MAN chair". My sister gave me the rug, and I decided it would make Brooke's room more than it "made" my guest room---so I decided to donate it to the cause.

 My sister sold Brooke two of these dressers for $30 each.... Our art work is a vintage card table, we got for $2!

 $6 chair! $1 magazine basket! Free rug!

 Notice the light fixtures---Heber was a great sport and came and hung them for us! They were a little controversial and I may be the only person who was in LOVE with them. What do you think? I think the add some glam to the room!

 We love all our little trinkets that ranged in price from $.50- $3.99

 Look how well the spray painted file cabinet turned out! I don't like "bed in a bag", I like things to look collected and not decorated. Everything doesn't have to be matchy- matchy. It gives more visual interest if things aren't the same.

 See--Brass, silver, glass, and dark wood all on the same end table---

 We weren't sure how the sides of the headboard would look when it was all done---but I actually love it.

Coral fabric on pillow was from for about $7/yd

PROCESS---Hit the local Thrift Store without Brooke---Spent $65 on 2 chairs, 4 lamps, card table, magazine basket, and some trinket accessories... Camille and I were on a HIGH----All the while Brookes husband is texting us joking....saying we won't be reimbursed for junk! We told him it was all FABULOUS JUNK!!!

 We love mixing the rustic, with modern, and mixing brass with silver.

 We hit a second thrift store and spent another $4 on a grey IKAT dress (revamped into pillows), and some other accessories.

We gave Mike homework---he had to paint the room grey for us. Then we took over from there! We sanded down the bed and flipped the headboard around. Camille was great with that sander! We then stained the bed Espresso.

 Bonus--the back of the headboard was raw wood and took the stain BEAUTIFULLY! It made me happy!

 We needed a second end table--our first one was given to us by my sister when I helped her move. I saw one out in the rain at my clients house, and asked if she was getting rid of it. She graciously let me have it and I picked up a can of white spray paint on my way home!

Brooke's light fixtures were builder grade, and not very exciting. She trusted me and let me pick up a pair of these brass one's from the local Restore Habitat for Humanity for $10 each! She wasn't so sure about them---but they worked perfectly!

Total we spent $550 and that included down comforter, sheets, duvet, paint, light fixtures, two dressers, two end tables, curtains, curtain rods, spray paint, accessories, 2 chairs, 3 pillows, 4 lamps, and rug....One mans junk is another mans treasure!

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Nik's Bedding

Nikki is my youngest sister. There are 6 of us kids. Two older brothers and then came the four girls! We weren't always the best of friends---but now we are TIGHT! I talk with my sisters about every other day. After my parents divorced when I was 18, us girls became best friends. 

My mom moved to Utah from with my two younger sisters (age 13 and 15) and my dad stayed in California. At this point I was already attending BYU in Utah and my older sister ended up coming to Utah as well. I would sleep over at the house and we'd stay up and have giggle fits and all sleep in the same room. We would cut up magazines and decoupage suit cases, hike up the canyon, and Angie would dress us up and take pics of us.

Here's a pic of us in order from back in the day. I am the second from the left. (Charice, Shelley, Angie, Nikki)

Here's a current pic from a few years ago on one of our sister trips....Yes somehow we are in the same order as the above photo. I am second from the left. Our brothers are pretty awesome too~ 

Anyhow....a few weeks ago, Nik wanted to update her bedding. She found a pic on pinterest of a crazy beautiful headboard. She wanted to surprise her husband that was out of town. She called my dad, who is the best project helper out there and I found a link with some instructions on Addicted 2 Decorating blog for the same headboard. And this is what they put together out of fence slats....

It turned out AMAZING! For the pillows, I had found some vintage velvet at the thrift store and bought it on a whim ($10 for 6 yds)! We ended up using it for her two shams and utilized the selvage detail for the ruffle (looks like ribbon). 

Close up of Selvage detail.

Nik came down and stayed the night at my house with all her kids. We got the kids in bed, and then went to work till 1am.

We wanted to lighten up the bedding with some baby blue--I went through my stash and pieced some stuff together (she debated on navy blue and baby blue). The small print on the outside edge is from a sheet.

My dad---He is crazy productive and loves a project---hmmm I wonder where I get it from? This pic is when he helped us put larger windows in the cabin a few years ago. He just moved to Utah last year.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Travel for Cheap

I have always loved trips! When I was 6 months pregnant with my first child we went to a timeshare presentation for Trendwest (Now Worldmark) to get the "free trip" to Vegas (we had NO intention of buying). Needless to say we were sold on the idea of "making memories" with our new family and purchased. 13 yrs later we don't regret our decision...just how we did it. I have gotten more travel savvy over the past 13 yrs and have learned how to "work it". I don't take no for an answer (in a good way) and know if I think outside the box a bit, I can get what I want for less.

The most expensive part of trips are airfare, accommodations, rental car, food.

Airfare Tips

1. sign up for "price alert" on --get familiar with what is a "normal" price and what is a "crazy good deal"
Tip--search for flight price then after prices are displayed on upper left hand corner click "price alert"

--At one time I had a price alert set up for Maui, and from SLC--a good price is about $600. One morning I got my alert and it was priced at $430!!! HOLY CRAP! We decided to take the kids with us for our Christmas that year. We left 10 days after Christmas.

We love going to Maui in January...we go from 15 degree weather to 80 degrees! Nice to get a break from the cold!

2. Sign up for Credit Cards that give you bonus Skymiles to join. You usually need excellent credit to qualify...720 or higher. You also have to be super disciplined to keep track of them, and pay them off every month. I don't advocate debt!

--I got a Delta Gold Card that offered me 50,000 worth ($500 of travel) miles to sign up and spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Normal offers are 30,000 miles for spending $500 in first 3 months---I got my special offer in the mail.
*bonus--as cardholder you get free 1st checked bag for you and anyone traveling with you.
*bonus--if you don't have enough miles, you can pay part cash/ part miles
*bonus--$95 annual fee waived for 1st year

Tip--watch prices. A reward ticket to Maui requires 65,000 miles...if current price is $550--click "pay with miles" instead of book "reward ticket" and it'll only require 55,000 miles saving you 10,000 miles.
Tip--Domestic flights are 25,000 miles
Tip--Hawaii flights are $65,000 miles

--Heber signed up for a Chase Saffire Preferred Card that offered him 40,000 miles ($500 of travel because of their 20% off) for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
*bonus--you can use your miles with any airline
*bonus--book through their site and you get 20% off miles required
*bonus--$95 annual fee waived for 1st year

Tip--tickets with Chase are always based on price. Example $200 flight will require 20,000 miles less 20% if booked through Chase (16,000 miles)

Last year when Heber and I went to Maui, we used our bonus miles and got free flights ($1,200 value) I don't worry about the $95 annual fees, it's worth it.

--Southwest has a credit card--$99 annual fee NOT waived for 1st year. 25,000 bonus miles ($400 in flights) miles if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months. Sometimes they have specials for more miles. When I signed up I got 50,000 miles  ($800 in flights). The current deal isn't that great! Southwest calculates miles differently/ $ compared to all other airlines.

--Frontier has a credit card--you get 40,000 miles if you spend $500 in first 3 months. You can get an extra 10,000 miles if you do a balance transfer. Annual fee of $69 NOT waived for 1st year.

--United--also has a credit card--you get 30,000 miles if you spend $500 in 1st 3 moths.
Bonus--$95 annual fee waived for 1st year. 1st checked bag is free.

-In the past 18 months we have booked flights on skymiles for free...for the following trips-- Trip for 2 to Maui, Trip for 2 to Costa Rica, Trip for 2 to Seattle, Trip for 1 to Los Angeles. ($1,200 + $1100+ $480+ $150= $2930 in free flights!) Heber and I have both signed up for 2 different sky mile cards each.

3. Allegiant Air  is a new cheap airline...they only fly to a few places (From Provo, Ut-- they fly to Oakland, Pheonix, and Los Angeles) They only fly on certain days (usually over weekends) and are strict about carry on sizes and charge extra for carry ons and checked bags and drinks---I haven't flown with them, but I have found that flights are about 30-50% less than Delta. Check and see if they fly from your city.

This year we booked flights to Costa Rica with Skymiles ($1100 value). We used Heber's Chase miles that he had built back up over the past year for his ticket, and used Heber's Delta Gold Bonus Miles for my flight.

We use his Chase card for everyday purchases--groceries, gas, bills. We both sign up for cards to get Bonus Miles. If over time we aren't using a card and all the miles have been used, we plan on canceling that card. Currently we both have 2 credit cards for skymiles.

We will always keep the Chase card because of the flexibility and 20% off. I'll always keep my Delta Gold Card because of the free checked baggage, and based out of SLC--Delta usually has the best prices for where we are traveling....and I can get free checked baggage for anyone traveling in my party (so even if Heber uses his Chase card to book his flight, he can get free checked baggage if we are traveling together---you just have to checkin together and tell the person checking you in). This saves you $50 per person ($25 for 1st checked bag each way).

Accommodation Tips

1. Timeshares are great if you use them---many people buy and don't use and get upset about their quarterly "maintenance fee" on top of their monthly payment. Many people rent out their credits or weeks that they aren't using. Check VRBO or AIRBNB--- be leary of craigslist (almost always a scam-people steal pics from real listings and create fake listings at too good to be true prices).

IF you do find something on AIRBNB....chances are the same listing is listed on VRBO---try to find it and book with the instructions through VRBO (AIRBNB charges it's users a service fee). When we booked the Costa Rica house the fee was $90. We found the same house listed on VRBO and booked directly through the owner, a little more hassle to fax in rental agreement, etc. but it saved us almost $100.

We are so excited about the Costa Rica house--3 couples are going, and its a 3 bedroom house 2,000 sq ft. for $295/couple total for 7 night stay. I LOVE a good DEAL!

Story- Last Christmas we were trying to find a beach house to rent, and I found one on Craigslist...but I was a little leery...the price was REALLY good. I contacted the owner and got the address. I googled the address and it came up on another rental site for almost double the price. The pics he displayed in his add were mostly from the downstairs unit, but he had one thrown in of the upstairs unit. I contacted the "real rental agency" and asked if anyone else would be listing that property--they said no. The craigslist guy actually called and talked to me and and when I told him I was confused if it was the upstairs unit or the downstairs unit--he stumbled and said either was available and I could choose. When I talked with the "real rental agency" -they said the owners son lives in the upstairs unit during the winter and only the downstairs was available. RULE OF THUMB---DON'T USE CRAIGSLIST for vacation rentals.

This was the beach house we ended up staying at. It slept 10 and my sisters family came with us, and we split the cost. MAGIC...I tell you! Christmas at the beach--a few small gifts, hot tub, cinnamon roll making, paddle boarding, tide pools, dolphin watching, sea glass collecting, walks, bonfire, dream come true! Lots of memories and no plans. This trip was all about the location and the beach right out the back door. Loved falling asleep to the sound of the waves.

2. Worldmark is the timeshare we own---we almost never stay anywhere but at these locations. We originally bought 6,000 credits from the developer for $11,000. I then got wiser and found you can buy them on the second hand market for about 70-75% off retail. You can now buy a 6,000 credit account for about $2,400 on the second hand market (EBAYTimeshare Angelssurefirevacations).

Timeshares are only worth it if you plan to vacation at least 2 weeks a year or more and have flexibility to go midweek. Otherwise you are paying ridiculous maintenance fees ($600- $1100/yr) on top of the purchase price---you can rent a week from someone for the cost of the maintenance fee.

Luckily my husband has an awesome fireman schedule which allows us to utilize our timeshare. We go midweek often, because it literally uses 50% less credits to stay midweek than on a weekend.

Story--after owning Worldmark for 7 years we decided to upgrade to 12,000 credits instead of 6,000. We bought on the second hand market from Timeshare Angels for $4,500--I found an account that had banked credits, enough to rebook my families' family reunion with credits and cancel our other reservations which everyone had paid cash ($2,300) for---making our new timeshare only $2,100. Granted we didn't have any credits for a year....but that's thinking outside the box right?

Story--5 yrs after that we decided it was time to upgrade the time we had a 12,000 account and wanted to add 8,000 credits and have a 20,000 credit annual account. We bought from the local online classifieds from an individual for $3,000! Again we had another family reunion planned and booked some of the rooms with our new credits saving us $1,400 off the purchase price (we rented our credits to family, instead of renting from someone else). In the end getting 8,000 credits for $1,600! 8,000 credits from the developer would have cost around $16,000.  FYI our maintenance fee for our 20,000 credit account is $1100/yr.

3.With Worldmark, it requires about 10,000 credits ($700 if you rent credits) for a week in a 2 bedroom condo. We usually do couples trips and split the cost of the condo. Last year we got a 3 bedroom condo in Maui for 3 couples and split it ($280/ couple for 6 nights). Now, how is that not affordable??? Once I looked into the cost of a condo in Maui when Worldmark didn't have availability---sticker shock! They started at $1500 and went up from there.

I have an Awesome contact name Fred, that rents me extra Worldmark credits for family reunions and trips for friends. He is very fair, reliable, and trust worthy. If you want to use Worldmark with out being an owner, contact me for his info. He has been booking family reunions and other accomodations for me since 2007.

Rental Car tips

1. Check out ---do your search, find the best price you can and make your reservation (you only need an email address to don't need to pay or use your credit card until you show up). This gives you the flexibility to shop around and cancel your reservation if you find a better deal.

Tip--about a month out, log on to every few days and see what the current price is (this is when prices start dropping--if it's cheaper, make a new reservation and cancel the old one).

Prices start skyrocketing about 1 week out from trip date.

--I once got a full size car in Maui for 7 days for $109! Normal price at that time was $200-$250. Normal price is now about $300. I never use Hotwire or Priceline for cars, I usually can get the same price on and I am not locked in....I can always cancel if I find a better price.

2. Most Car rental agencies offer AAA members discounts.

3. I NEVER pay for the extra insurance! My car insurance covers me, and if I pay with my Delta Gold American Express card---I get even more coverage. Check with your car insurance company to see what you need before you pay DOUBLE for the extra insurance.


If you rent a condo, you save a ton of $ on food! Buy groceries and cook most of your own meals.

Tip- when going out to eat, my husband and I always share a meal. The portions are usually perfect for two--you save $ and your waistline! I always get water too...I am not a big soda drinker.

Tip- Pack a lunch and snacks for traveling. Airport prices are CRAZY! I always make a few sandwiches (PB&J holds up the best), and I bring some fruit and snacks. I also bring an empty water bottle that I fill up after going through security at the drinking fountain.

Tip- Pack breakfast food in your luggage...oatmeal packets, granola bars, etc--I know my husband makes fun of me too! This way you only have to worry about lunch and dinner.

Beach across the street from our condo in Kihei, Maui

Zipline Tour

Heber climbing a coconut tree

Airfare--free (used Delta and Chase Miles)
Condo--free (kind of...we pay $1100 in maintenance fees/year for our 20,000 credits) + $560 rental income from other two couples.
Costco groceries $100
Activities-$500 (kayak tour, whale watch, zipline, snorkel/rafting tour)--Got 2 for 1 on the zipline off (like groupon for Maui). We use Activity Savers site to book our Maui activites.
Rental Car/ gas- $150 (rental car split between 3 couples)
Incidentals/souvenirs/eating out $250.
=$440 out of pocket!

I know my scheming isn't everyones style or passion---but hopefully this gives you some ideas to think outside the box, and "work it".

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