Double NCP

Three months ago, in a moment of weakness and confusion, we made a decision. We didn’t really think much about it, didn’t do any research or ask questions, we just sort of jumped in. Sometimes I regret it, other times I’m glad I did it. The conversation went a little something like this:

“Hey- wanna make a pact not to buy new clothes for a year?”
“Uh… sure. Do you?”
“Yeah, sounds good.”

And that was that. And it looked dangerously similar to our conversation that started the whole surprise wedding. And look where that got us.

“Hey- you wanna have a surprise wedding?”
“Yeah… sounds cool.”

And that was also that.

We had three goals at the beginning of the No New Clothes Pact (NNCP):
1. Save money
2. Become more creative with the clothes we have
3. Become more creative with other people’s clothes they no longer want

Some things we’ve learned so far:
1. People give away some really ugly shooties.
2. People give away some really great shooties, you just have to dig for it
3. Even if you really hate something you buy or screw it up with the sewing machine, it only cost you $3. Sew on.

I go through seasons (as I would suspect we all do) of truly believing I have nothing to wear, even though I have a closet full of clothes. This season is no exception. Part of me wants to wipe my entire closet out and just start over. Except that it creates diagnosable schizophrenia because I suddenly find it hard to part with the sweater I’ve worn once in 3 years. The sweater suddenly carries emotional ties and some sort of obligatory “keep me” stare. Brutal.

Yet to clear it all out, I have to have something to replace it with. And how am I supposed to do that? One very cheap piece at a time.

I was watching a documentary this week titled Grey Gardens. If you haven’t seen it, don’t waste your time unless you’re really into Jackie O, hippies, bizarre-o behavior, song and dance, and recluse tendencies. If you’re like me, you’ll love it. It was filmed in 1975 and as I was watching, I started to realize that every single style is just something that’s being cycled back through the world of fashion. Some of the things they wore were quite strange, but some of the things I could see myself wearing this week. It was an encouragement to use those vintage patterns I have and to keep buying almost new clothes. Even if they are from 1985. My wardrobe will eventually become new to me.

Tomorrow we’ll show you a little of what we’ve bought, upcycled, and totally screwed up. Entertainment for all.

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Improving Home Improvement (is that already taken?)

Because our home decor budget isn’t too hefty, I’ve really tried to prioritize our purchases so I’m not overspending or doing it aimlessly. One of the biggest issues I have is that I get to Lowe’s, forget which projects really need finished, and just buy what looks pretty. So I’ve done a very quick run through of our apartment, taken pictures of things that need the most attention, and saved it all in a file on our computer. The result is a quick project guide for tackling the uglies to make this feel like home.

Buy frame & chalkboard sticker for door

Need side table

Buy another hook to hang measuring cup
Bring back chairs from Oklahoma
Buy something to use as nightstand
Spray paint this shelf for bathroom
Buy art to hang on this wall
Buy tape to finish stripes in bathroom

List
Lowe’s:
Paint for living room & kitchen walls
Spray paint for frame and shelf
1 hook for measuring cup
Painters tape

Paper store in mall:
Chalkboard sticker

Thrift:
Frame
1 table next to couch
1 table for nightstand
Art for dining area

Other:
Get 2 chairs from Oklahoma

Anybody have any ideas for what we should add to these spaces?

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Wedding Decor: The Tables

The Tables: Where we some people ate

It’s almost comical, and anyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows this, that you can spend every waking hour researching and coordinating your wedding, and yet it looks like it all came together in one flash of magic. Poof. Part of me was ecstatic at the thought, part of me wanted to stand on my pretty little table and yell, “You have NO idea how much work this took!!” But in the end I refrained, partly out of dignity, partly because I was wearing a short dress.

First things first: 5 years ago, the average cost for a wedding in America was close to $30,000. We’re bringing that average way down.  Here’s a little bit about how we did it:

I knew the flowers would be a big part of the décor, but I also knew how much flowers cost and how quickly they die. My self-efficacy is dangerously high, so I set out to play God and create the Garden of Eden in a little red barn. I found several websites with instructions on how to make crepe paper flowers, but it turns out Martha’s never really tried her own instructions (shocker). So I made my own version and commissioned my mom and sisters to create hundreds of them. (email me if you want instructions) In the end, it was exactly like I pictured. See below.

Our wedding tables with faux flowers

The rest of the table was pieced together over a few months. I wanted the tables to have the feel of an old quilt, so I went to the local quilt store and found colorful fat quarters for $1.25 each. The tulips (the only real flowers, picked up at Sam’s 2 days prior) are in 12 old wine bottles I found at Goodwill for $5. I found the large black vases at Big Lots for $10 each- see the before and after below- and the burlap table runner was $4 from Michaels and added the shabby to my chic.

My mom found the glass plates and hurricanes at her Salvation Army store, and paid around $5 for an entire box.  Oh, and the tablecloths? Flat sheets (yes, bedding) I encountered at WalMart and talked the customer service lady into giving me for $2 each.

So the table you’re looking at sat 36 people and cost about $95. Spread out over 6 months, it turns out to be about $8 per pay check. Yes, please.

Tomorrow: my love affair with flea markets and why they love me too.  Wedding décor, part duex.