Monday, April 07, 2008

Decorating with White

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I am so into white lately! I can't get enough of it! That is a pillowcase hanging on the door of my hutch. I bought it on eBay for only $5. It was one of those times where I didn't read the description closely enough. After I bid on it, I read that it was yellowed and smelled (lightly) like mildew. I was so mad at myself for not paying closer attention and I was hoping someone else would put in a higher such luck. When it came in the mail, I opened it up and I almost threw it away. It was REALLY yellowed and gross but I couldn't smell mildew. I usually don't bleach old lace but it was either throw it away or try to bleach it. I soaked in a mild bleach bath and most of it came out. I ended up throwing it in the washing machine with more bleach and it looks pretty good now. I still don't want it on my bed but I think it's fine to display. The crocheted lace is gorgeous!
I bought this little statue above at the flea market last weekend. It looks old but I'm not sure if it is. They wanted $28 for it but I got it for $21. I haven't found the perfect place for him yet but I just plopped him up on this table for now.
I added shells to my most cherished, sentimental piece I have in my home. If you've been reading my blog for awhile you probably already know that my mom bought this at a shop in Disneyland when I was very young. It was always in our dining room while I was growing up. She recently passed it on to me and I've had so much fun changing the things I display in it.

I want to address this comment that someone left me yesterday "Love you furniture painting,,just wonder how you buy so many things being a single Mom and living in a state with such a hi cost of living."
Silicon Valley is an expensive place to live but it also has a lot of high paying jobs.  As an Administrative Assistant I wouldn't be able to make near the salary I make here in most other places.  I feel very fortunate to work for a very well-respected Fortune 100 company that has wonderful benefits and pays me well.  I have very little debt, no car payment and I don't have any credit cards.  Everything I buy is with cash.  My car , which I bought used, is a 1999 with 130K miles on it and it took me forever to pay it off but I did and now for the last few months or so I've had an extra $360 a month to buy the things that I've wanted for ages (the armoire and the hutch.)  I've had some times over the last 9 years where I've really struggled financially but now I'm finally in a place where things are a little easier for me.  I know there are many single moms out there who are having a hard time, especially now with the price of everything going up so drastically and my heart just aches for them. 


Rambles by Hay Hay said...

I enjoy your blog so much and have been reading for some time! I am patiently waiting for the day when I will have the extra money to buy all the things I desire! Lucky you!!

Sharon said...

I'm a 51 year old divorced woman. I live just like you do. I have to work 2 jobs. My income is just enough to live on and I still am able at times to buy the things I enjoy at thrift shops. I love the shops that have booths where people set up their own little "store".
I also have no car payment. Last year I bought a 2000 Subaru wagon with 102,000 miles, trading in a 1999 Mustang with 67,000 miles. I needed something that had room for carrying things and carrying grandkids and would get around in bad weather. I was able to pay cash for the difference from my savings. I do have a credit card and I use it with a tight limit and pay it off monthly. I have no long distance phone service but I use a company cell phone for that. And my cable TV package is with no extra channels, just $12 to not have to use an antenna.
BUT I go to second hand shops and buy things that I love all the time--little by little. I have even picked up a great piece of tin ceiling off of the street to paint and put behind my stove. It fell off of the truck that was going to the dump!
If you know how to budget your money you can do amazing things. I pay cash for my home repairs. I just have plan ahead for them. I put more in savings than most people that I work with because I know that I will need it later for home repairs.
You are doing a great job.
I truly enjoy your blog. Maybe that is partly because I know what it takes to get the things that you've picked up. And don't you appreciate what you have because of it!!

Sharon said...

Sorry, didn't mean to go on so long.
But you need to get one credit card and use it for something each monthly. It will be a plus when you buy a house.

Ketha said...

Even thought "white" is not for me, I love reading your blog and learning how you do so many beautiful things with thrift store finds and the tips you share. One tip you passed on and I love, is ironing with lavender water... Thanks, I now use that myself.

I've been a single parent and understand the struggles that we all have gone through. It doesn't really matter if you have a lot or nothing at's still a struggle. But, like you, one of my most "freeing" moments was when the car was paid off and the debts gone. I too, have no credit cards. I pay cash for the things I want. If it's something more costly, I save until I have the money. It's funny to watch the expressions on people's faces when they ask "would you like to open a ..... credit card today?" "No, thank you". I guess they think everyone wants as many as they can get. But one thing for sure, I don't lose sleep, worrying about how to pay that bill that's going to come in cause there aren't any.

Again, thanks for sharing part of your life with us bloggers. I love it....

Beverly said...

Cindy, you should take so much pride in all that you accomplish.

You are an inspiration to many. An eye for beautiful things must first have a beautiful heart. I believe that you have a beautiful heart for sharing joy with so many.

Janet said...


I am sure you know this, but if the lace is in good shape you could always remove it and sew it to a newer pillowcase or pillowslip as my Grandmother used to call them!


Chris@Cats On My Quilts said...

Although I don't have any furniture in my house painted white, (all "manwood" in my house but at least it's all from thrift stores) I always love what you do with yours. If people would just take a good look at the furniture they have and alter it like you do they'd be amazed. You do a great job and your home looks so inviting.

I was watching HGTV's Green Home Giveaway the other day and they went on and on about buying used furniture and painting it to keep it out of the landfill and be "green". You've been doing that for a while-you're a visionary!

Donna Kay said...

Cindy - I want to take a paint brush loaded with "white" and do my whole house - if I thought it would look like yours - I would in a minute!!
As a single mom - you are an inspiration to me - in many ways!!

Linda's Blue Gate said...

Well Cindy... I really think you don't have to answers questions that are too personal and really no ones business. You are so open and transparent.... but really...

Sometimes you have MORE money as a single parent cause you can spend it on what YOU want not HUBBY.... been there

Anonymous said...

Awww Cindy - that was quite a rude comment left for you. You don't have to explain yourself to us, I've always thought you were a very thrifty shopper!

LOVE that pillowcase - the lace is wonderful!


heartartz said...

Your home is lovely and you do wonderfully with your thrift/craigslist finds.
You owe no one any explanations for making a beautiful life for you and your daughter.
Keep on painting the town "white"!
You go girl!!!

Dolly said...

Cindy you are proof that you don't need to be rich to have a beautiful home!
Its a matter of shopping for bargains, soap, water and paint!
Most of my home items were purchased at yard sales, estate sales and resale shops! I would rather buy used then shop at the new furniture stores
that sell cardboard furniture!
Although I am married we live on a limited budget....
we don't have credit cards, cable tv or a cell phone those are not necessities!

As for the pillowcase..... you can cut the pretty trim off and use it to edge a shelf!

Have a fun day,

Anonymous said...

You are such an inspiration and I don't even know if you realize it. It is not easy being a single mom and you are really doing well with it. Women who are single need to look to you for encouragement.

LeAnn :)

Donna Lynn said...

Dearest Cindy, I have been a stay at home mom now for over 22 yrs. I have done side work, antiques booth, store display when it comes my way, design/color consults by word of mouth...but my biggest accomplishment is re-doing homes, selling and moving up the property ladder! It is the only way we have been able to afford our homes and lifestyle! I have contributed by making each home beautiful and the re-sale value high, I am proud to say that I buy old junk, castoffs, garage sale stuff and I am not too proud to stop and pick stuff up off the side of the road! (You can see one of those garbage tables in my photo shoot in Country Sampler this month, it is behind my dining table with the big vintage rose oil painting). Woman like us can make it all work, with talent, scrubbing, and tons of paint!!!!
You bless me each time I go on your blog, keep making your life beautiful your a queen at it!
Donna Lynn

Anonymous said...

Cindy, I'm in awe of your home and your decorating talent. I would say my home is traditional or Old World and I really love it and am so thankful for it. We were married 29 years before we were able to begin purchasing our own home. Little my little I've been able to decorate it. As much as I love Old World, there's another part of me that loves the "Cindy-style". My laundry room and my office have a garden theme so I've decided that my laundry room is going "Cindy". It is already mostly white with a couple of floral pictures and dried hydrangeas from my garden. Thanks for your inspiration and practical how-tos.

By the way, where do you get lavender water? How do you use it with your ironing?

Glenda said...

I too have been a single mom for years. I have struggled and cried about not having money. But for some reason things have always worked out.
Buying things at thrift stores has helped in so many ways. You can decorate with things that no one else wanted but you make look good. It's a hard life but if you do things right and give up things here and there it works out. The blessing of a good job with benefits is a rare thing. My parents lived for a very long time without credit cards. Such as visa or mc. They have one from Ward for big things such as appliances. The rest they paid cash for. They lived frugal. If people don't live your life they don't understand. But you aren't alone in the world of being single and frugal.
You'll know when your satisfied in your furniture searches etc.....
Take care

Laura said...

You are truly an inspiration for anyone, single or married! I LOVE,LOVE what you do with your finds and your lovely home. Even though we all visit your home each day, doesn't mean we should visit your personal matters. I think the person who left that comment is rude. You truly are an amazing woman and talented!!!
Thank you for inviting us into your beautiful home each day.


Anonymous said...

Love your blog and admire your creativeness(is that a word?) and talents in taking a thrift store purchase or yardsale find and turning it into a beautiful piece of furniture or accessory. It should not be someone else's concern as to how you pay for your purchases. Most of my adult life has been as a single parent & believe me, I know how to stretch a dollar til it squeals. I have had peoeple make comments such as "don't know how you make it", "how can you afford", etc. I learned to be a frugal shopper, don't eat at expensive restaurants very often (actually rarely), don't drive an expensive car, housing reasonable because I did not buy out of my income range, etc. You don't have to justify your spending to anyone here. Keep up the good work. I enjoy seeing your newest creation - I should be so talented! Glenda/MidSouth

daisy cottage said...

Hi Cindy!
I love stopping by here to get my "dreamy fix" - always so soothing and pretty. Love your armoire redo too. You are an inspiration!


BrownEyedGirl-- said...

Congratulations, that is awesome that you've come so far! Hard work pays off. And I absolutely LOVE it that you love white, I ramble on and on about the wonderful gloriousness of white constantly at my blog! :)

Anonymous said...

I love the white too; my dear husband can only take it in small doses. If it was up to me, EVERYTHING would be white.

Your hutch looks awesome, you are so talented!

Really Cindy, you don't need to explain yourself to any of us. I find you to be very thrifty, and what you make, and spend, is nobody's business. ;)

joan said...


You never have to explain to anyone what you do with your hard earned money. It seems to me that you have helped a lot of people to decorate without spending tons of money.

Jen@The Cottage Nest said...

Cindy, I especially love that statue. I don't think I could have resisted it. I'm loving white lately too. So sorry you felt you had to justify yourself because of a comment. It's none of our business how you spend your money. I am always inspired though, by how you can stretch a dollar! Jen

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Cindy!
I absolutely LOVE your new pieces!! You are so talented and creative girl! Like I told you, you are my blog inspiration. I was a single mom once too, but had a great apt using the creativity God gave me. I still do and always will, being retired is sometimes like being a single mom financially! Thanks for your inspiration Cindy!!
Hugs, Sherry

Debbie from NJ said...


I agree, you shouldn't have to explain to anyone how you spend your money. It's no one elses business.

Great idea to put the pillowcase over the door of the cabinet. I use Oxyclean for cleaning the old linens. Gentle but does a great job of getting out the yellow.

Keep these wonderful posts coming!

A big hug to you!

Beti Copetti said...

Your home is very beautiful!I am delighted with everything around here!

Cottage Way of Life said...

I think that pillowcase looks lovely on the cupboard. Just looking at it , I wouldn't even know it was a pillowcase. Glad you were able to bleach it, and make it look better. I would have done the same thing!!

Wow it amazes me how judgmental people are. Who's business is it any way to ask how you afford stuff.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week! :)


Debbie Kay My Vintage Daydreams said...


Sweet lady, I think your blog is amazing and it really is my #1 favorite. Thanks for the idea with the pillow case. I would not have been able to appreciate it had I not seen it on your blog.....

Love ya,

Debbie Kay

Arleen ~ The Tea Room said...

I love all the white. And that centerpiece is absolutely beautiful! I've always loved serving pieces (and linens, too) that have cutwork or a scroll motif as part of the design. I'm sure your Disneyland treasure is "one of a kind." But if you have any idea where I might find another, please let me know!

Rosemary said...

You are so great at decorating Cindy. Love all of your tips!

Anonymous said...

Cindy, I love your blog. I've learned so much from you about how to enhance my thrift store purchases. I, too, love the thrill of finding a diamond in the rough! I hope I can share a useful tip with you, here. At an upscale Christmas market, I met a wonderful Christian lady selling antique linens. She had a beautiful display, but unfortunately, many were out of my price range. I struck up a conversation about our mutual love of lace and preserving fine handiwork, and she shared that she cleans her linens with BIZ powdered laundry bleach. I promplty went home and tried it! I actually boiled a large stock pot of water, added the powder and stirred to disolve. Then, I slowly simmered my aged, stained linens for 30 minutes to an hour. Watch the pot carefully, and don't let it boil over. Don't crowd the pot with too many items, either. Use tongs to remove items, and rinse well in cool water. You'll be amazed at the results! Voila! Sparkly, white linens, just as they were originally meant to be. Hope it works for you! --- Bronwyn

The Decorated House said...

It was so much fun catching up on your site tonight. All your latest painted pieces look fabulous.
The last post was really so caring.
Your really are amazing!

Tracie said...

Hi Cindy,
I always love to come here for inspiration. I have always been an all white person. I especially love the piece from Disneyland that your Mom gave you - how special. I recently purchased something like it from France and it is neat how close it is in details. It's nice you change it around and can do so many things with it.
I do agree with your not needing to explain your finances. But, I did think it was quite thoughtful you mentioned that it's tough for single moms and that a person in your position wouldn't make the same amount living somewhere outside Silicon Valley though for the commenter. Anway, it's yours and you should do whatever you want with it - and what you share with us is beautiful. A lot of people that have much to spend, don't have the same precious style you do, Cindy.

Scooterblu's Whimsy said...

Cindy, Love your little statue! He is precious!

I got the inspiration for vintage pillowcases from your blog! I ordered two sets of vintage pillowcases for under $10 for each set, on Ebay and I love them! The lady had a lot of vintage linens listed, and when they arrived, were freshly laundered AND ironed! Thanks for the ideas! Your home is beautiful! I saw your hutch and armoire on RMS tonight! You did an outstanding job transforming them! ~Rhonda :)

VAMommy said...

Your blog has converted me from a "dark wood" person to a "painted white" person! I'm always inspired by your projects. This might be a silly question, but did you paint the hardware on the china cabinet white? Or did you replace it? Maybe it's just me, but the hardware looks different from the "before" pics.
I'm so glad I found your blog. Beautiful work!

Victoria Lynn said...

Dear Cindy,
I want to thank you for always inspiring me and helping me through a difficult time. I am recently divorced, after being married to a controlling and abusive man for 28-1/2 years. I have to say there is much greater satisfaction in purchasing a thrift store find with my own money than anything I bought with "his money" (in his own words) the whole time we were married! I think you are just precious, as I know every other woman reading your blog would agree! You go girl! Love, Victoria Lynn

Lisa said...

You are such an inspiration for me and I love to visit each day to see what treats you have to share. I love seeing all the white in your home, as I'm afraid it just won't ever be possible in my home. The way you can do all this on a tight budget, and make things that may not be right turn into things that are perfect truly inspire me. It is such a treat to see all your projects from start to finish, knowing they all come from your heart.

A Romantic Porch said...

Cindy! go! Love,Rachel

the feathered nest said...

I tried to comment yesterday and then my DSL went down! You are very nice to answer that question with so much grace and tact. Much nicer than I would have been! You are very classy lady.


Carla said...

It was discovering your blog when it was featured in Romantic Country Homes that got me interested in blogging. You are inspiring. I have had good luck getting the yellow out of old textiles with a powder that comes in a little tub called Oxi-Clean(now I actually buy a cheaper brand called Sun). I soak the pieces in a plastic bucket, starting with very warm water, for a day or two and sometimes repeat the process a couple of times. I think this product is not as harsh on the fibers as bleach. I've also found that putting a wet piece on a clean patch of green grass to dry in the sun can brighten it up. I heard somewhere that some kind of chemical reaction takes place. Sounds silly but it worked for me. I just had to keep a close eye on the piece because of birds, etc. I got some good tips from a book called Rescuing Vintage Textiles by Mary Beth Temple.

C.J. said...

hi cindy, i just purchased your button wreath and it will look wonderful in my newly painted furniture living room!!!
also wanted to comment on the person that asked how you buy all that you do being a single mom. You were very gracious in your answer, I would have told them to pack sand. How you live and what you buy is only your business! Anyway I am going to love my little wreath, thank you.

Queen of Tides said...

Love all the white. It is my favorite color and I cannot resist old white/off white anything, especially crazed dishes and small figurines. I think the pillowcase cleaned up beautifully and I love it hanging on the hutch door.

Jan said...

Cindy, while I don't believe it's really anyone's business how you afford your treasures, it's inspiring to hear about how you have accomplished so much in spite of financial difficulties. We are all struggling to make our homes beautiful while staying within our budgets, and your suggestions and guidance shows that everyone can have their dream home if they are creative and resourceful, like you. My home is filled with both new and thrift shop treasures, and I love it. I enjoy bringing new life to old or previously loved items. Keep up your good work!

Rob said...

Hi Cindy, I love what you have done with the old furniture and other items. I am currently doing up my house and normally buy new but now I will look for old interesting pieces and hopefully turn them into something like yours. I am a guy from Scotland so I apologize for commenting if your site is for ladies only. Keep up your good work, Rob

Penny said...

Hi Cindy, I just love what you have done with your painted furniture! You are an amazing woman! I too love refinishing furniture and linens. Life has always been a struggle to me with two children and a couple of divorces to boot. I am remarried now and happier than I have been in my entire life and truely understand the financial struggles of being single or married. Refinishing items is always something I turn to for extra cash though and believe me extra cash is always needed in our home! Although I am a teacher and my hubby works at a good job as well and have one grown 25 year old daughter with new grandbaby on July 10th and one teenage son at home, I just can't remember not using my refinishing skills to bring in the extra money! We all pitch in on the finds and the work and I love it. I just wanted to commend you on all your HARD work and the beauty you create with it! You are fabulous and so inspiring to me! Also, one more thing I wanted to mention, you talked about a pillowcase with stains you had bought. I have been married to my new husband now for 4 years (I'm 49) and his family has been sharing and passing antiques to us for our new home lately,(Thank GOD), and we purchased a chest of drawers full of antique linens form one of his relatives whose parents had passed on years ago and the linens had never been moved from the chest in that part of the house for at least 20 years. Well when I looked at them they were so delicate with lace, embroidery and crocheted edges that I thought I had to have them at such a cheap price (to family only of course), I just knew I could get the stains out too as they were covered in some kind of yellow stains from goodness knows what! To my amazement I put them all (colored embroidery on white cases and baby clothes)in the washing machine with a cup of bleach. My husbands family had bought us a new Samsung front loader washer and dryer. And I put it on the "sanitize" feature which uses really hot water and a silver strip (a natural antimicrobial)to clean. Everything came out spotless!!! We use the linens everyday and love the cold fabric of the older pillowcases to sleep with. We have since shared some of the pieces with our family since they are so precious to have staying in the family. We also share our washer with the sanitize feature with them too to restore linens and clothing to its original state. Just thought I would share this cleaning news with you. Maybe you have the same washer or can share the feature with someone like our family does. Keep up the great job your doing and thanks for all the advice!! Penny