Friday, April 11, 2008

Reading Lamps

D. was on the lookout for a good reading lamp and found this solid brass floor lamp at a used furniture store in downtown Rantoul, IL - Family Discount Resale Shop.

The lamp was of excellent quality and condition. Height is adjustable from three to six feet.

The triangular lamp shade swivels 180 degrees and the entire lamp swivels 360 degrees.

The on/off switch also has a dimmer to adjust lighting.

We found this same fixture in an old Ethan Allen catalogue, described as a pharmacy reading lamp.
With all the extra features, like new condition and high quality construction, we felt this lamp was a great buy at $25.00.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Heartland Fashionista

Not only do we like fabulous homes, we like to entertain, so we'll also be including some great tips and bargains for entertaining in the heartland. After all, to be truly "in style" one needs to exude good taste in all aspects of life.

A few months ago we were in the midst of the holiday season and wanted a new dress to bring in the new year. One night only, special occasion dresses are not usually where we want to spend big dollars, unless, of course, it's a wedding day. We may not want to break the bank, but we do want to make a statement when we walk into a room at a party.

After scouring area consignment resale shops, we just couldn't find what we wanted in the right size or color, so eBay was the next logical step. Whether you're looking for special occasion or vintage clothing, there are so many listings on eBay that you're bound to find something that will catch your fancy.

We found and were the successful bidder on this very well made couture dress by Alyce Designs. For some reason it looked vaguely familiar. A few weeks later we discovered that Judith Light of "Who's the Boss" wore it in one of the episodes in which she was attending a party. We had rightly assumed it was probably from the 1980's.

However, we did like the coppery glitzy fabric and the mermaid fit at tea-length to show off a curvy figure. All the Hollywood starlets are still wearing mermaid dresses of some design.

The velvet top adorned with coppery sequins was warm for our winter weather, yet the plunging back allowed some skin to be revealed. Abundant netting under the flounce skirt helped keep the shape of the lower part of the dress.

Since the dress says it all, we simply added a few gold bangles around the wrist and tri-gold dangling earrings.

This special occasion dress cost us $30.00 plus $8.50 shipping/handling. The original cost was around $1000-1200. Good classic vintage clothes can put you in great style at very affordable prices. Sometimes you may need to alter them to make them more contemporary, but usually minor changes will make a big difference.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Checking out some Real Esate

We didn't feel much like shopping this weekend, so we decided to spend Sunday afternoon roaming through several area real estate open houses. D. sold real estate for over 28 years and has renovated and resold many residential and commercial properties. C. is contemplating buying a new place in the near future, but he's hoping to wait until the market bottoms out to get a better deal.

One Realtor had baked chocolate chip cookies and the odor hit our noses before we got to the front door. Although many Realtors suggest doing this to make the property seem homey, D. is always suspicious that it is masking an odor that cannot be removed (i.e. pet urine, mildew). Have the cookies available for prospective buyers, but don't overdo the aroma thing. It can have the opposite effect of what you're trying to accomplish. The odor question distracted us from enjoying the otherwise comfortable, stylish home.

Another property was fairly new and most of the furnishings had been removed, but the lower level was strewn with children's toys. The owners or Realtor should have stored or organized the toys before the public entered the area. A jumbled mess of toys all over a room in an otherwise empty house says that perhaps the whole house looked like this when they lived here, and if so, how well has this house been maintained?

D. had been known to make beds, hide dirty laundry, put away toys and pick up dog poop before an open house. These Realtors perhaps just didn't have the experience yet to know how to get a property sold. The trick is not showing the public how you really live.

We really enjoyed walking through a beautiful two story brick 1920's Georgian home. The owners and Realtor did this open house the correct way. Everything was clean, put away, and odor-free. All the lights were on, the hardwood floors shined, and even the yard looked good despite the still somewhat unattractive time of year. D. had actually sold this house a couple times and it was interesting to her to see how the house had looked good once, fallen into disrepair, and now looked great again. We predicted that the Georgian house would sell fairly quickly compared to the other two properties. It was well maintained, decorated tastefully, but not bland, and showed well.