Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Secretary Desk and Tea

I have wanted (needed actually) a secretary desk for a very long time. I've looked in consignment, I've looked in garage sales, I've looked in retail outlets, antique stores, etc.
But I have never found one that was exactly to my liking; nor were any of them at a price I could justify paying.

Ingenuity and resourcefulness to the rescue! I've been reading a lot lately at Homeliving Helper about resourcefulness and creativity. "Why spend so much when I can just reuse or recycle what I already have?" Maybe it's the Scot in me, but "me blood boils" at the thought of the lack of thriftiness in our postmodern society's ways.

Last weekend when we were rearranging our children's bedrooms—trying desperately to get the girls into one room so we can have ours back—we realized that a bookshelf that was sitting in our girls' bedroom just wouldn't fit in there anymore. So, we thought about where we could move it in the house (homeschoolers can always use more bookshelves in just about every room, can't we?) when we suddenly had an idea. Why not just put it behind the old Singer sewing machine I've been using as a desk in our living room? So, we did. It looked a little strange as the wood on the two pieces were of different stains, and the styles of the furniture were from different eras (as in... about 80 years apart).

Creativity to the rescue...

"Doilies anyone?!!" I went into my linen closet to retrieve the lace doilies
A surprise from my hubby nestled next to Pride and Prejudice.
and place mats and napkins I've collected over the years. Then, I went down to the basement to iron them all. I brought them up at last and placed a few select ones on the bookshelf and desk, carefully hiding the cords and other worn parts of both pieces. Next, I took out books that I love, and some of the things I will need to have readily-accessible for school this year, as well as the tea cup that my sweet husband just bought for me as a start to my new tea cup collection (inspired by Deborah Brown's collection—hanging on the antler chandelier!). I placed the tea cup there to remind myself to take some time out for tea everyday to refresh, rejuvenate and start our family's evening off right.

Here is the lovely result of my efforts:

Teacups and lace; MPR Classical streaming through the speakers... AHHHhhhhh!

A lacy wall-hanging drapes over the side of the bookshelf to remind me of my role to "Bless this Home."
I believe I will enjoy this spot to write, study, plan, and prepare for years to come, Lord willing.

I wonder sometimes, how many times have I spent money instead of just simply recycling and being creative with what I have?

Anyone else have a similar experience that you would like to share? I'd love to hear of your creative and resourceful—as well as frugal—exploits!


Kimm said...

This is such a great idea! I am in the midst of rearranging a bookshelf that looks just like yours. Maybe I will try what you did.

Kara said...

That looks so wonderful! I'm so proud of you!

There was a time when I was a queen of recycling and resourcefulness! My most recent exploit was in our house, now. Also a homeschooler in need of bookshleves, I used the left over closet shelving removed from the master closet (who has that many clothes?) and used 5-gallon buckets and flower pots left in the potting shed. We even stored infrequently used items inside, before covering them up with the shelves!

The funny thing is that one of the boys, seeing Dad's 5 gal. buckets said, "OOh, are you making shelves, too?"

Cindi said...

I really like this idea. You did a great job.

Amy Howard said...

Thank you, Kimm, Kara, and Cindi! We are quite thrilled with how the desk is working out. It has really been fun to watch the children's reactons to it. Oldest just thinks that we are constantly redecorating (probably because this came on the heels of getting all of the other bookshelves organized for this year's homeschool endeavors), and our oldest daughter thinks it's so pretty and just wants to have tea when she sees it. Youngest daughter (1 yo)keeps pointing to it and saying "dat, dat," and then our second oldest son, well, he's all boy... he's seems kinda oblivious to it even though it's right in the living room.

I like Kara's idea with the shelving and the pots and buckets. Any pictures?

Love to all,

Sprittibee said...

Hey Amy! This is Heather who's children used to be in choir with yours. We live in Arkansas now. We never made it to Dallas. Kevin transferred out of state before we bought a home there. I've been here a year. I am sorry to hear of your loss (whatever it was). I would love to pray for you. You can check my blog out and email me any time at the email address there. Jim Bob told me about your blog. How do you like it where you moved? Do you miss Texas? I bet there are lovely field trip opportunities up there! My kids would love to write your kids if you do pen pals. They loved seeing your boys at class.

Brenda said...

I just stopped by to see if you had written anything new and there was a teacup in the picture! The creativity you have shown is beautiful.

I began collecting teacups when I was given one when I was on staff at our former church. One of the ladies gave me a gorgeous teacup to thank me for some things I had done for her (I can't even remember what it was.)

I now have a very nice collection, most coming from thrift shops but some given to me by those I love.

Enjoy your collection! I hope whatever your loss was that healing has come.

Amy Howard said...


Thank you so much for your encouragement and your compliments on the beginnings of my teacup collection! I went to your blog and saw the picture of your Royal Albert set... how beautiful!

I appreciate your concern for my loss. The Lord has done amazing things in my heart lately to heal me from the pain that I went through. He is so good and I know I can always go to Him. I praise Him now for all he has taken me through and I can see that He is working it all to my good. I am especially grateful for the wonderful ladies I've talked with online and for those in my precious church family who have been there to talk with and lean on. Everything is looking better now. My God reigns!

See you online!

KimLFL said...

A few years ago I totally redecorated my bathroom for $40 and most of that was spent at Bath and Body for new soaps and lotions. I scrounged through my closets and cupboards for things I'd collected over the years. It was beautifully feminine when I was done and had become my spa. dh didn't care one way or the other about the decor but liked my mood when I came out all relaxed from my evening bath every night.
Your order is on the way, btw. : ) Plan a day for it, set your kids up with a new engrossing activity, put supper in the crockpot, and have fun with File Solutions! It took me three days with all the interuptions but the results have been well worth it!

Amy Howard said...


Thanks! Your bathroom redo sounds lovely! Hmmmmmm... another project in the Howard family looming on the horizon... look out Jim Bob!

Thanks for the advice on making a day (or three!) out of my File Solutions organizing. Sounds like a good idea. I'll even make a post out of it so everyone can see how it works. Everyone stay tuned...

BTW, File Solutions is a filing system that Kim has for sale at her site, Large Family Logistics... go take a look (just click on her name in the previous comment)! It's under children's books... even though it's for the whole family.


Anonymous said...

Looks great, love it!