what I want vs. what I can have

Oh you guys, I know this has been a slow start, but there is a lot going on behind the scenes over here!  I have about a dozen artists working on guest blog posts, some you’ve heard of, others maybe not.  They’re all different, but I ask them all the same questions in our “miniviews” (mini-interviews).  They’re in the works, and I can’t wait to get them on here!

Another thing I want to do is sort of a show-and-tell.  I want people to show how they got that look of a fabulous French find, from a thrift store of flea market.  So, I thought I would share one of my recent scores.

I love those amazing French upholstered, wood-trimmed arm chairs.  Like this one, from Layla Grayce.  The Eloquence chair runs about $1450.00.

I realize that’s not a horrible price for such a wonderful chair, but, honestly, it’s about $1350.00 more than I can devote to a chair that my children would not be allowed to touch.  I may spring for one when they’re much older.  Like retired.  So, my dreams of a fabulous French chair seemed to be on the back burner for now.

Then, I ran into this monstrosity at the local thrift store:

Now, I know it looks bad.  The upholstery is hideous and filthy, the caned side panels have a hole in them.  It was smelly and dusty.  But it was $4.95.  Yes.  FOUR dollars and NINETY-FIVE cents.  I had been getting my upholstery-mojo courage up from reading all the makeovers over at Miss Mustard Seed, so I thought, what the heck, for less than $5, I can take a chance on it.

Then, it sat in my garage for about a year.  I was terrified.

Finally, I forced myself to just dive in.  It was overwhelming, to say the least.  But I did it, one step at a time.  Here is the “after”:


It’s not exactly the same look, I know, but it’s close enough for my life for now!  I still won’t let the children touch it.  Isn’t that pillow pretty?  That was a lucky TJ Maxx find.  Here is another view of the chair:

If you want to see more photos and explanation of the steps I did to get from lemons to lemonade on this piece, click on over to my other blog, HollyAbston.com to read all about the process.  I love thrift store furniture!  Do you have a blog with a great thrifty furniture makeover?  Link to it in the comments so we can all come check it out!

come along with me…

Hello.  My name is Holly Abston.  I’m a mom, artist, nerd, and a million other things (just like you) and I’ve been up to something!

Badly in need of a brow waxing.

Latey, I’ve been thinking…  I LOVE reading beautiful art and home blogs and magazines.  And I dream of attending the beautiful art events that I see advertised on an almost daily basis.  I drool over the fabulous European antiques that some blogs have in abundance. Those blogs and magazines are depicting a life that I hope to some day achieve, but right now I don’t have the means to have!  I don’t often go to art events because, well, because we need groceries.  I don’t pick up $10,000 chandeliers while antiquing in Paris (but one can dream!).  I don’t have a huge and fabulous art studio.  But I do have a wonderful life.  I play with my limited art supplies with my girlfriends  (or teach the occasional class), I pick up $60 chandeliers at the home improvement store and embellish them, I go antiquing at flea markets (that live up to the name FLEA market),  I do my art at my kitchen table with my toddler climbing on my lap.

I love the magazines and blogs, I love to hear about the beautiful art events and antiquing excursions (and wish I could attend them!) but sometimes reading about all that stuff can almost be discouraging!  I love to see people who have remodeled their kitchen using only their $2,000 tax refund, artists and photographers who may not be published, but still have a beautiful perspective and something fresh to say.  I want to read how people corral their art supplies and hide them in the kitchen hutch because they don’t have a dedicated room for a studio.  It would be refreshing to see artists sharing ideas, inspiration, tutorials, etc.  I know others feel the same because I often read the comments and see people say things like “Well, maybe someday.” or “When the kids are bigger” or “In my next house”.  I say NO!  Don’t wait until your life is somehow better, or your paycheck is bigger, or your kids have flown the nest.  There is no reason why we can’t find beauty, joy, and FUN in the life we have right now.

I was lamenting the lack of these kind of stories on blogs and in magazines to some friends on facebook recently. Well, that little post on facebook got a pretty big response.  So I thought, well heck… if no one else is going to do it, WHY DON’T I DO IT?  So that’s what I’m doing! Let’s celebrate all of us who  juggle our real life responsibilities, but want to enjoy our homes, families, children, and art NOW, not when we are somehow richer, or better, or more of whatever we think we should be!

Squeeze The Lemons is a place for coupon clippers, carpool captains, and every day ordinary folks who may not be able to afford the best of everything, but we make the best of what we have! I’ll be featuring  fantastic artists, beautiful homes from regular folks who tell you how they get the look of luxury on a thrift-store budget, and funny anecdotes and observations from this middle-class(y) mom (plus a few other fun things!). Come along with me!  Let’s squeeze those lemons and make our own lemonade!

Oh, and a big, huge THANK YOU and shout out to my awesome husband who built this site for me!