Monday, November 26, 2012


I've already touched on the shoestring budget Dan and I are tackling this project with. That's for several reasons: obviously, the main one is financial -we don't want a big mortgage hanging over our heads.

The others relate more to the environment and the satisfaction that comes with being resourceful and knowing you've done things for a fraction of what you'd have paid if you just rang a tradie to come and fix it, or bought everything brand new. Actually, I buy very little new anymore. I have morphed into a dedicated op shopper and scavenger over the years. It becomes an obsession after a while, to dig through piles of trash in search of your treasure.

There are various ways we're looking at sourcing materials for this project cheaply. I use Freecycle daily. For those not initiated, it's basically an online service for listing things you don't want anymore that other people might be able to use. Anyone out there who wants what you're offering sends you an email. You pick from the emails who you want it to go to.

I've already mentioned my love of op shops, but more recently I've discovered a few little antique shops worth visiting regularly too. Then there's Gumtree, and Ebay of course. Gumtree more-so, Ebay less-so. Gumtree favours the early and the lucky, Ebay favours anyone willing to pay the most money. I prefer to be the former.

Dan's also been asking around to source supplies and has found us a  kitchen, complete with granite benchtops, for the princely sum of nothing. It'll be going into the little house.

Here's a few of my favourite finds for the last year or so (minus the cowboy boots, even though they were definitely the best find).

1. Enamel canister set from an antique shop. Not super cheap, actually, but in great condition and I've wanted a set for the longest time.
2. Old ammo box Dan found at the tip and cleaned up.
3. Lucinda's gorgeous doll house was a Lifeline find. It needs a bit of work still, but is handmade and cost $40.
4. Marburg antique shop has some amazing treasures.
5. Wardrobe! This one is silky oak and actually came to us through Gumtree for $60.
6. I bought the chair base at an op shop for $11 then sewed some new covers and sold it for $48 on Ebay. The cover took ages to make, so I wouldn't be making a business of it, but it was nice to do one.
7. Planter stand from Lifeline. $20 from memory. Baby was not included.
8. Little tin rose necklace, again from Lifeline. $4.
9. Overlocker - freecycle! Such a great find, and came after I put out a wanted notice looking for one. It's old but was a dressmaker's standard machine and works like a charm.
10. An unused second-hand shop in Lowood. I liked the building.
11. An old drinks trolley I found at Lifeline. I'm pretty sure there's a nice hardwood table under the colour, but I don't mid the genuinely distressed look the paint has picked up over the years.

Care to share your favourite bargain buy or place to source cheap thingies?


  1. Great finds Edwina. You will never regret buying that table as you can never have too many so grab them whenever you can. And if you see a Gypsy table (legs made of twigs) grab that too!
    Once again, I love your photographs, so evocative. Keep it up. xx

    1. I had to Google image search 'gypsy table' but I'm with you now. I will keep an eye out!

  2. For me you just can't beat a good curbside find with council cleanup. The 5o's stand wih built in fish tank is my best ever find from the side of the road, followed closely by an arched cane shelf and a wooden kids desk. The tip shop might be worth a look too- it's down at archerfield and I think only open on weekends. Looks like you have found some great things already, half the fun is in the ferreting though isn't it? mel x

  3. I love the idea of discovering unanted goodies to make into something great. We have done that a lot too, basically because we have no money to spend on fancy furniture and the like. Not having an Ikea nearby is added incentive for us too.
    I only doscovered Gumtree when we were wardrobe shopping - it's fantastic! I agree, much better than ebay.
    You have found some great things here. The cowboy boots are cool too. Handy in the bush :)

  4. Hi Edwina, the Lockyer tip has a shop that sometimes gets good finds, Knoffs in Laidley good for doors windows ets but not necessarily cheap, couple of op shops and second hand shop in Laidley and Gatton, I'm sure you have had a good scrounge around in these areas already, not sure if you know or not but there are a couple of Visitor Information Centres one at Plainland in the travel centre and one at Gatton in the Cultural Centre, they have a brochure called the Antiques trail, at least they had when I worked there last year, it is quite interesting and heaps of other brochures on our lovely valley, hot here today at Regency Downs 34.

    1. Lynne - this information is GOLD! Thank you. I do so love a tip shop and the antique trail sounds fantastic. Can't wait to explore more.

  5. Hi Edwina, need to make a correction its the Lockrose tip (not Lockyer sorry) the info centre also has booklets out on all services available in Laidley and Gatton schools hospitals clubs etc

  6. Edwina, I have just found your blog via your marvellous comment on mine (takes me a while, but I get back eventually!). I just love your vintage/freebie finds. It's what makes a house a home. Your project looks fantastic, hard work, but so exciting. We just finished a twelve year reno down in Tassie. Has taken us forever, as we did most of it ourselves, and it looked similar to yours when we started, but so worth it. We created our own perfect house, with memories in every sanded back window frame and crooked skirting board. Look forward to seeing your dream home emerge..

  7. I am a vintage junkie. Everything in Jarvis's room was either secondhand or made by myself, (including most of his clothes). I also love curbside junk day, driving up and down the streets hunting for the good stuff. I call it hunting as you have to beat the professionals (people who own op-shop and sell on Ebay are warriors when it come to getting to the good stuff first).
    Almost too scared to look on Freecycle, hmmm do I really need any more stuff?

    1. Freecycle is pretty labour intensive. It's done through emails, so basically, anytime anyone is looking to get rid of anything they send an email to EVERYONE. So you can get about 30 emails a day, particularly on weekends. I just scan up the column and if there's nothing I want, hit the bulk delete.

      Kerbside hunting. I have to get better at this. xx

  8. Hello

    what a fantastic project but I can see the full potential from the bare bones. You have also accumulated some lovely finds too. I like recovering new to me finds and either restoring them, making new covers for them or repurposing them and generally re-appreciating them as not all of us can afford brand new, but with a little bit of elbow grease and a bit of hard work beautiful things can emerge for next to nothing. I also like making things from scratch and at the moment am accumulating more items to do things with - currently collecting old coloured tee shirts to make some bedside rugs and some jeans to do some heavy duty clipping/proddy rugs. I look forward to following your project with interest Many years ago when I was with my first husband we did something very similar but at the moment are in rented. One day things will happen. Enjoy creating and loving. Pattypan x

  9. Love those enamel cannisters! So envious. We spent yesterday driving around out your way and saw the Marburg shop. The antiques shop in Crows Nest is closing down and has some amazing things in there but the prices are not bargains. There is also a good looking shop in Esk but I haven't been in there. I love second hand stores!

  10. Edwina, I love how you do your photo montage. It makes it all so interesting to follow and view. Plus I love all your scavenged bits too! It is getting more difficult to find bargains though, I think you've done well. You three are going to have heaps of fun there I think. cheers Wendy

  11. I love those chairs, I want some more so I can sell them, I just make slip covers which is much easier and quicker than recovering!

  12. i'm very envious of the enamel canisters, and the lovely planter (and cute baby!). i never find good quality stuff like that near me! beautiful finds, edwina.