One of life’s little pleasures when I was a kid was sitting in the laundry mat, the sleepy joint’s fan on full blast nearby, flipping through glossy Country Living magazines or Martha Stewart Living while my mom did laundry. I especially loved when they’d showcase budget, flea-market makeovers. And now I’ve gone ahead and done my own. Definitely budget, definitely country.
It usually takes me at least 6 months to settle into a home, and this most recent move has been no different. The side porch had been unused territory thus far, but I could see the potential for front-porch sitting on rainy days since it is covered and protected from rain due to surrounding architecture and it’s Eastward facing status. So with nothing more than a budget and sketch in hand, I set off for a one-day porch makeover.
After scouting out the local home improvement stores, I quickly gave up on new seating, especially since I needed something that could seat a whole family, or else this makeover would break the bank. Luckily my local antique shop had just what I needed – a vintage 4-seater with metal coils and polyester stuffed cushion for a flat $100. That in and of itself was a miracle. After searching high and low, I couldn’t find a tag anywhere on the piece so I asked the shop owner if she knew. She told me she thought it was $150 (my heart sunk) but she told me she wanted to call the owner just to be sure. Amazingly the consignment owner answered her cell (it was a work day) and said she’d take $100. After getting it home and dragging the couch across the lawn, I finally found the tag underneath: $160. I felt so blessed.
I used thick cotton knit (think sweatshirt material so it is very sturdy with lots of stretch) with a cool bird pattern on it to make an oversized pillowcase to recover the 70’s cushion. The knit works perfectly – stretches nicely so it covers without any wrinkles, and I just pinned the open end shut with diaper pins.
The end table came next. All I could find were $20 options until I stumbled upon these plastic milk crates. $3.64 each! and they stack great, and have cool color options to boot. So for $8 I had a good end table for drinks and snacks. The lantern and buoy I had on hand. For plants, I pulled some house plants from inside that would love to enjoy the summer weather. I’ll move them back in come fall. The string lights were $14.00; I chose a turquoise cord to kind of blend in with the tan siding. And last, I used some textiles I had on hand – an light blue unmatched curtain panel and a table cloth to add some country and some color to the space (as well as protect my sofa from the cat – seriously she thinks I put this all together just for her).
So, all total, $124 by thrifting and using what I had on hand. Seriously, being thrifty can be such a thrill. I love how serendipitous it can be, how God-directed. God really does care about every little piece of our lives. And He is ready to help us all the time. The whole experience made me realize how blessed we are – not just for stuff like health, or family, but the little things, the little discoveries, the little bits of wisdom He drops in our lives all the time. And now, when I’m sipping my morning coffee and looking out my kitchen window, this is my new view. And it makes me smile, because I remember all the little God-given ‘miracles’ behind it.
“Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.
When your time comes to die,
be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time
to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”