A Real Page Turner

Hi!!!  Just a quick stop in…….has anyone else picked up the premier issue of the new HGTV Magazine?  While waiting in the checkout line of Lowes recently, I saw there was an HGTV magazine (missed all of the news that there would even be one apparently!)


I decided to pick it up and am SUPER glad I did.   I have tried some other home decor/DIY magazines and some of them were either too wild for my decorating tastes…..not really into black, zebra print, or gold furniture…..or too craft-centered….I don’t really use doilies or knit.  HGTV magazine had tons to offer, all of which kept me interested!

Some of my favorites were the peeks inside of some HGTV stars’ homes including Vern Yip and Sarah Richardson, solutions to real life couples’ decorating squabbles from the “experts” of HGTV (including the use of too many decorative pillows – that one could have been submitted from casa Bentz), and a real-life house overhaul/update by a Nashville couple who did an awesome job on their definite fixer-upper!

One of my favorite parts of this issue was the decor ideas from bungalow houses.  I absolutely love bungalows.  They are so cute and full of character…..


How ADORABLE is that house…….(SIGH) someday!

Oh, and after reading the “Mission Makeover” segment, lets just say, our mouthwash will DEFINITELY not be staying in its ugly bottle anymore (hidden out of sight under the sink!))  Why can’t I ever come up with this simple but GENIUS stuff??

I will definitely be placing my order for a subscription, only $15….not bad right?  You can head on over to the HGTV magazine site and sign up for your free trial offer of the magazine!  Wish I knew about the free offer before, but the $3.99 +tax spent was definitely worth it!


Tale of the Topiary….

As lame as that title is, I promised yesterday this tale…..and I never go back on my promises! So without further ado…..the topiary!

I mentioned yesterday that I have been scouting the various pumpkin topiaries that have been floating around the blog world & Pinterest…..especially this two toned one from Centsational Girl….

I knew this would be one definite DIY for the house!  One thing I have loved is that all of the topiaries I have seen are housed in awesome urn pots (like those above).   I had been scouting for the perfect pot, but the cheap-o in me didn’t want to pay more than $10……..more than impossible!

I decided to check out the WalMart garden center for any clearance pots that would work.  Not finding anything that was structural enough or had enough detail, I decided it was time to make my own…..for cheap!

I saw these two plastic pots on clearance at Wal Mart. They were structurally detailed like I wanted, and I knew they would work perfectly together.

$5 for the big one and $3 for the smaller one…..WOO HOO!  I had big plans for these, and the fact that they didn’t match didn’t matter………..I gave them both a quick coat of primer and a few light coats of black gloss spray paint and they were good to go.

I turned the small one upside down and bolted the large one to the bottom (I didn’t paint the inside, figuring that the pumpkins would cover the hole…..so just pretend like you don’t see the orange, and know the outside is black!)

I put a total of 5 bolts through the top pot into the bottom pot to hold them seamlessly together.  The bolts were $2……total for the pot…..$10!!! Now that’s how its done!!!!

Once I was sure the bolts made the pots sturdy enough, I got to layering……

I started with a $7 fairytale pumpkin (look at those curves!), followed by a $4 flat-ish, large-ish pumpkin.  I didn’t like how harsh orange he was, so I decided to give him the same paint treatment as my plastic funkin in my indoor display…….a coat of white spray paint followed by a dry brushing of copper and gold metallic paint, mixed with clear glaze….

On top of that pumpkin I used a $3 round pumpkin.  He got a whitewash treatment (white paint mixed with water) to tone down his SUPER orange glow….I didn’t need an attention hog among the other pumpkins. It would be too much!

 And last but not least, this $1 UUBER cute white and orange gourd!  How cute is he?? The perfect topper to the topiary.   3 pumpkins wouldn’t have been enough, this little guy helps round out the bunch!

Because I was having nightmares during my waking hours about the pumpkins toppling over, I used some liquid nails between each pumpkin to give them some support.

I LOVE IT!!! (mini-happy dance ensued when I took a good look at her standing out there on the stoop, proudly in the sunlight!)

For a total of $25 I have this awesomely festive topiary greeting guests and eventual trick-or-treaters!!!

All Sorts of Festive In the Out-of-Doors!

If you came to visit the Bentzs today, you would be welcomed by this festive fall scene!!

As I mentioned before, I have always been a little light on Fall decor inside the house!  However, since we moved into our humble little abode 2+ years ago, I always have decorated the outside for Fall.  Take a step closer and come on in!!!

In no way do I consider myself a “country” girl. Despite my borderline obsession LOVE for George Strait (King of Country) I am far from a country/nature girl.  HOWEVER, every Fall, my must have outdoor item is a hay bale!  Hayrides, hay mazes, Fall decor….the perfect fall accessory!

Mums are another must have (despite the fact that I will probably kill them within two weeks, the hubs graciously lets me spend money to get some every year!!)  I loved the warm Fall tones of these maroon and gold beauties! Hopefully they last! They got dressed up with two pots I had lying around the garage.

Pumpkins are also a MUST HAVE……this is earth shattering decor advice I am bringing you here, people! You can thank me later!  Most of my outside stuff came from a local orchard near where we live.  Visiting the orchard is definitely one of my favorite parts of Fall!  We will be going back apple picking soon!

I HAD to have this green Apple Gourd…..apples……another Fall must have!  I may or may have not run over and JOYOUSLY picked this guy up and hugged him when I saw him…..exclaiming that he HAD to come home with us!  And the big orange guy on the left, well, he’s totally mis-shapen in the back, and I felt sorry for him, but I knew his stud-ly, crooked self would work out just fine on the hay bale!

Our “stoop” is uncovered….oh how I wish we could alter the front of our town house to add an overhang…

1……. So I could leave more stuff outside to decorate (the Jack-O-Lantern lantern and the wagon in the picture before this will have to come in at the first sight of rain).

and 2…….. So I don’t get soaking wet in the rain while fumbling for my keys!! Umbrellas are too much for this hot mess to handle sometimes!

ANYWAY!!! On the door is a festive Halloween wreath that I had from last year (this is about as Halloween as our house gets! – No ghosts or goblins here!)

I had a berry wreath up for the 4th of July/summer, and typically, they hold up to the elements well (remember….no overhang for protection?)  However, that wreath met its demise when Hurricane Irene moved through and soaked the front of our house for hours and days on end.  Those berries sort of blew up all over the door. We looked like we had been shot with paint balls!

BUT, by far, my favorite outside festive item is this beauty………

I have been IN LOVE with pumpkin topiaries that I have seen on Pinterest……

Inspiring Pretty

and over at Centsational Girl….

I knew I had to make one of these!!!  Mine came in at under $20!!! Stay tuned tomorrow when I’ll be sharing the Tale of the Topiary!!!! You are on the edge of your seat aren’t you???? I can just FEEL your excitement!!!

Overall, I’m loving our welcoming, festive, Fall stoop…….

These fall link parties have been an awesome kick in the behind to get things done and get the house feeling all sorts of festive!  I’m linking up at the “It’s Fall Y’All” Outdoor Ideas Party over at Thrifty Decor Chick.  There are close to 200 awesome outdoor Fall ideas over there! I might have to start finding ideas for next year!!  Be sure to check some of them out!!!

Saturday money making….tips for a successful yard sale!

Happy weekend everyone!!!  So, my mom is selling her house….or trying to at this point.  The house she has lived in for over 30 years…..the house I lived in my entire life, until college.  This impending move means there is 30+ years of stuff that this sentimental woman has held on to.  The realization has dawned on us (including her) that if we don’t get rid of stuff, it all needs to get packed up, moved, and fit somehow into a smaller place when she downsizes……not happening!!!  We figured we had to get rid of most of it, but before donating it, we decided to have a yard sale and see what would happen!

In the 50 degree weather today (= no flip flops [sad face]), we had a neighborhood yard sale!!  Overall, a success!! I typically HATE yard sales for several reasons:

  1. You have to get up early – the Bentzs are NOT morning people!!!
  2. You have to schlup all of your junk out for people to manhandle pick through, tell you you’re overpriced, and then walk away anyway
  3. Then when it’s over you have to schlup all of your junk BACK into the house, or find some other method of disposal that won’t break someone’s heart (i.e. in the trash!)

BUT, I kept an open mind…..the goal = make as much money as possible and end up with the least amount of junk!!

After a successful day, I have come up with my tips for the most successful yard sale possible.  I’m sure some of the more professional yard sale-ers out there have better tips than this, but its amateur hour at the Bentz house tonight – humor me! (Disclaimer – sorry for the lack of pictures – I was a lean, mean, selling machine today….not much time for pictures!)

1.  If possible, make it a family/friend/neighbor affair……the more junk treasures you have, the more people will come!  We had the yard sale in my mom’s neighborhood, with about 5 of her neighbors, as well as some family members. There was a plethora of treasures to choose from!  The shoppers were excited at all of the possibilities!

2.  Location, location, location!!! As with selling real estate, opening a business…..pretty much anything…..selling your stuff works best in a good location. You aren’t going to get much business without much traffic or possibility of being seen….by people other than the occasional passing cow or postal service worker.  My mom lives on a busy thoroughfare through town, so there was lots of traffic, both from pre-advertising, as well as general passer-by! Which brings me to my next tip……

3.  Get the word out!!!  Advertising ahead of time will help drum up early business (those that plan ahead) to help keep the throngs of random passer-by shoppers coming out.  The more people they see, the more they will think they are missing out on an awesome find!  Advertising on Craigslist helps get the word out (for free – SWEET!).  Also, when having multiple families, sharing the cost of a newspaper ad is also economical.

4.  Signage.  In addition to advertising through various media outlets, signage is important….especially when its pretty and attention grabbing!!!

The pink was definitely the way to go!!  Pertinent details including the date, time, address (blocked out to protect the innocent – my mother) and other key facts (multi-family) is obvious.  Shaun was in charge of hanging these at key places in town, including busy corners with stop lights where potential customers would be sitting waiting for stop lights.  Him hanging the signs drew questions from people passing by, and he just sent them on down to the sale!  He’s lucky this is all he had to do….I could have made him stand out on the street in a chicken costume, waving at drivers with a yard sale sign on…..but I’m nice.

5.  Organization is key!  The best way to get items sold is to organize your junk treasures into “departments.”  This was where I became the boss key player of the show…..we had housewares/decor, holiday fare, kitchen items, electronics, office supplies, purses and “man stuff” (tools, snow blowers, row boats – seriously, the row boat is still for sale…..any takers?!?!?!).  This worked well and kept customers focused on their options and kept items moving out the “door”!

6.  No one likes to give their money to a grump!!   #1 above in my list of reasons I hate hated yard sales – getting up early.  Getting up early makes me sad…..(“eating fiber makes me……sad” name that commercial……..) HOWEVER, I gave each and every person that strolled into our sale as much of a bright and perky “Good morning – how are you today?!?” as I could muster on a Saturday morning.  In return, I got lots of smiles and money flowing as treasures were being carted away to new homes!

7.  Prevent as few questions as possible.  You are going to be asked eleven-dy BILLION times if this Elvis shaped waffle maker still works (just kidding…….none of these were present at our sale!), so why have a million and one questions about price???  Taking the time (no matter how torturous the night before) to price everything ahead of time will keep the day moving along and keep the transactions flowing!

8.  The price is right!!!  Probably the hardest part of selling 30+ years worth of fun at a yard sale is deciding at what prices to part with things.  I  (who made the most money – ah thank you!) found that the lower you price things, the less people will try to talk you down, the more willing they are to buy additional items, and the easier it is to get that stuff out the door!  HOWEVER, in addition to having these lower priced items, having a few key pieces – priced higher (video game systems, keyboard – sold to our most interesting and enthusiastic customer of the day – serenading us with a song even, and a futon) helped round out the total earnings from the sale.

9.  Goodbye junk!  We were selling stuff, obviously, because we no longer wanted it…..so why bring it back into the house?  Everything that was left when we were finished was donated to a local ministry thrift store, grown-up books to our church book store, and all of my BabySitter’s Club books (TONS) were donated to a reading program at one of the local schools.  Not only did we clear out my mom’s house, we made some money in the process, and were able to help others….warms your heart!   You can search for local organizations (Salvation Army, veteran’s homes, etc) that will come pick up donated items after yard sales, saving additional treks to various drop off locations.

Overall it was a successful day! Most of the key items sold, with a decent amount being donated to local charities.  I am PUMPED at the money I earned…….I have already been deciding which upcoming home project it will be “allocated” to – SUPER EXCITED.

However, the saddest moment of my day was when my mom sold my baby stroller……..although I have laughed endlessly at her for still having it around after 26 years.  Seeing it stroll off to another home left me a bit nostalgic (and worried because I wasn’t sure if it was even up to modern day baby codes!)  I even asked the woman to wait a second so I could take a picture (I was laughed at quite a bit for this!)

Pictures take up much less space then keeping crazy items around for sentimental reasons….so they can laugh at me all the want……I’m the smart one…..and the one who made the most money!!!

So there it is……the Bentz method to yard sale-ing.  It was a money maker, but this is NOT going to be a regular occurrence.  Waking up before the sun on a Saturday morning is not our idea of a good time, but earning money for new projects (and having donuts – Shaun’s incentive) will definitely garner our consideration……maybe!