Dirt Cheap Do It Yourself Decor (again!)  

Posted by Heidi in

Dark chocolate chips stirred into white flour, sugar and butter batter.
Vanilla ice cream swimming in a sea of chocolate syrup.
Glowing pink, crisp green or deep blue against pure white.
I have always been a lover of contrasts so it's not surprising that this light and bright Shabby Chic fan equally adores the dark and heavy look of the late Victorian era. Yes, indeed, I do! For years and years and years and years, I have been craving a library that looks something like this. (Specifically, photo number five so you'll need to scroll down.) I have been racking my brain attempting to figure out where I could set up a library in my teensy weensy house without it requiring that one of my children sleep on the sofa (which wouldn't work out so well since one of them already does). Most of my books, nearly 1,000 of them, are taking up space in the garage except for my collection of antique volumes which have been in a cabinet in my bedroom, living on dark, deep shelves behind glass doors that make them almost impossible to see. Then, one day, I had a bright idea. I switched out the little crystal and silver pretties placed amongst old family photos on the what-not shelf in the hallway with my antique book collection and, voila!--instant library.
Yes, indeed, it is small and only holds a fraction of my total volumes but together with the books in my new(ish) fireplace mantle, it does create a smidgen, a soupcon, if you will, of the look I crave. There's nothing like moving your possessions to a new home to allow you to "see" them again. It's like buying something new for NO DINERO.

I also crave an "old" and authentic look to my house. I want to walk in and feel like it's been here for a very long time, (lived in by generations of people who took excellent care of it, naturally). (I said old, not falling down.) I particularly want an authentic looking Victorian kitchen and have been racking my brain (yet again--it doesn't work if I don't torture it) to think of an affordable solution for a backsplash behind the stove. In spite of the floral print, this plain painted wall does not scream "Authentically old, Victorian, well-maintained, not falling down kitchen".

Then, the other day, I re-discovered where I had hidden a Christmas gift (read: moola). (BTW, I highly recommend it. The finding, not the hiding, which is good but much more problematical than the finding.) So, I took my Christmas gift to the local hardware store and was delighted to find very affordable faux (read: authentically old Victorian but not as expensive as the real stuff) pressed tin tiles. It was easy-peasy to install. I also switched out the print for a tole tray which I have had forever and stopped "seeing" and now I have a lovely backsplash that even the Middle Child (read: jaded teenager) finds beautiful. Total cost: $39 (but actually free to me--see above)

A few months back, I ran into some photos of these gorgeous Easter rabbits that had been formed from antique chocolate molds like these large examples that had been embellished with bits of ribbon and lace and were selling for oodles of money. Rather than buy one, I decided I would try and make my own.

As you can see, I went a little wild as I don't have room for four. And since this was my most expensive decor venture of late, I will have to sell at least two or three of them to cover my costs. I'm pretty sure I won't be pulling in the kind of money like those whose work I have seen (read: ripped off) but if I can make even a fraction, my costs will be covered. Cost: ZERO (hopefully--time and eBay will tell.) And, oh!--look! I included pics of their sweet little faces.

This white bunny turned out best. I wish I had bought more of the those.

It's hard to tell in the photo, but the ribbon has chocolate brown trim, not black. Very appropriate, eh?

This bunny is holding a bead bouquet, two of which are antiques.

This bunny's collar is made from vintage ballet slipper ribbon. Lucious. (The white stuff is German glass glitter. It turns out that it doesn't look so great on dark colors. I have a feeling this is the bunny that will be staying put.)
As cheap as all of these examples are, they do still take some time and effort. The really cheap decor is the stuff that doesn't suck up any resources at all, such as getting out some of your beautiful things that you keep put away and setting them out where you can see them.

(FYI, I have read two whole books this year and have started on another and am loving every minute of it. It seems my book-hatred has vanished! I'm thrilled! Thanks for the prayers!)

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at Wednesday, March 10, 2010 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

19 wise, witty and wonderful comments

How do you do it?! It looks beautiful! I totally need book shelves like that. =)

March 10, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Very classy looking library.

March 10, 2010 at 8:48 PM

Heids, I'd die to have you decorate my home. You make it all so gorgeous. It's like literally stepping back in time.

March 10, 2010 at 11:04 PM

I am in awe - truly!

March 11, 2010 at 2:55 AM

I am jealous of your definite direction in home decor. You know what you like and how to achieve it. I have a hard time even figuring out what I like.

March 11, 2010 at 4:27 AM

I love the bunnies!! And I also love the tin backsplash!!! You are so crafty!

March 11, 2010 at 6:31 AM

I love how creative you are...If only I had a fraction of your talent.

March 11, 2010 at 7:50 AM

You have talent! I love what you did with the library and stove. There's a special feeling about antiques that I really love.

March 11, 2010 at 8:19 AM

I love all of it--absolutely beautiful!! I thought each bunny was cute, really loved them all! And I love how you say your brain doesn't work unless you torture it--haha! Me too Heidi, me too!

March 11, 2010 at 9:11 AM

You had me at chocolate---and there was really nowhere else to go after that:)

March 11, 2010 at 10:23 AM

As a fellow fan of the late Victorian, I have to say that I am very impressed and more than a tiny bit jealous. My dream library would be a little more Pall Mall Club---but you really nailed it.

March 11, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Everything looks great Heidi. :) I love it all.

March 11, 2010 at 2:46 PM

I want to come and take a tour of your house. Because I really need some new ideas for mine. I love your library idea. It is my dream to someday have a library. For now, all of my books are on the walls of our den, which I guess is better than in the garage.

March 11, 2010 at 7:38 PM

My books are split half and half. Every time I clean up the book shelves I add another box to the mayhem that is my book pile. (I do switch out my books so my kids don't get bored though.)

You do amazing things while decorating. I'm inspired to try and get some new decorating ideas in my house of the free variety.

March 12, 2010 at 7:26 AM

Hi Heidi, I visit your blog and even leave a comment now and then. My oldboatguy mind can't wrap it' self around DECOR stuff.

My book shelves are full, and no one to read or reread them but me.

Do you have a new book in the works? I hope so. Arlon

March 13, 2010 at 5:55 AM

I am wishing that my decorating bug would return. I need to finish my house. I'm loving what you are doing with your place! So cozy!

March 13, 2010 at 11:42 AM

OH MY GOSH, we have so much the same tastes. My husband installed those very same faux tin back spashes in our kitchen over Christmas. They look so good !!!!!

I love old books and book shelves, and piles of books.

I love those dishes.


March 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM

OH MY GOSH, we have so much the same tastes. My husband installed those very same faux tin back spashes in our kitchen over Christmas. They look so good !!!!!

I love old books and book shelves, and piles of books.

I love those dishes.


March 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Oh my goodness! You are so awesome. And you know how to make the most of space. And put yourself all over it.


March 13, 2010 at 10:09 PM

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