The Art of Reading with Holly from “Life as a Thrifter”

The Art of Reading

“Thrift is not an affair of the pocket, but an affair of character.” –S.W. Straus

I look around my house and 90% of what I see came from a thrift store or a consignment shop.  I glace at my closet, and I revel in the number of items that I got for a fraction of the cost at my favorite second-hand store!  In fact, I no longer gain much pleasure from buying an item that is new, because I haven’t experienced the reward of searching and discovering.  Those of you who are fellow thrifters understand the thrill of the hunt!

Recently, the news headlines were filled with the story of a large national lottery prize. I was chatting with some friends about what we would do if we would win a huge cash award (I do know that I actually have to buy a ticket in order to win!)  I was adamant about one fact –  if I suddenly became a millionaire, I would not give up my guilty pleasure of shopping at thrift stores!  While I am always interested in saving money, I just love the vintage, kitchy goodness that can only be found at the “second-time-around!”  That’s why I absolutely devour the blog “Life As a Thrifter.”  Holly Marsh has the most unbelievable eye when it comes to spotting the best thrift-store items and turning them into pieces of art!  Her home is the kind of creative, happy, colorful place we all wish we could have, and she does it all on a dime!  So, as a big fan of her blog, I noticed that many of her gorgeous photos include BOOKS!  Like many of us, she loves to cozy up with her handmade pillows, wrapped in a crocheted blanket (found for a song), surrounded by colorful and creative decorations, and retreat into a good book.  No doubt, she is re-charging her batteries for a whirlwind trip to the flea market!  I hope you will check out her blog and be inspired by all of her unique and creative ideas!

Blog:  Life as a Thrifter

What creativity do you share with the world?  I’m a thrifter! I love the thrill of the hunt…searching out fun finds and then transforming them into something new!

  • Book OR e-reader? Book
  • Buy OR lend from the library? Either
  • Hardcover OR paperback? Paperback…it feels good.
  • One book at a time OR several? One
  • Skip ahead and read the last page OR be patient and wait? Be patient!
  • Bookmark or fold over the page corner? Bookmark
  • Abandon a bad book OR stick with it no matter what? Abandon
  • Laugh OR cry? Laugh

Cover Love:  I love the cover of Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers

What is the next book on your stack of books to read?  I’m probably the last person on earth to read it, but I’m super excited to start reading The Hunger Games.

How do you acquire the books you read?  Although I borrow many of the books I read from friends and family, I love going to the bookstore to search out a brand new book. It so beautiful and always smells so good!

How do you choose the books you read? My sister is a HUGE reader. I go straight to her to find out the latest and greatest read.

Do you have a childhood favorite?   I have so many favorites as a child…it’s hard to choose only one. There was one, however, called Baby’s Birthday…an old Golden Book that I used to read over and over as a little girl. I still have it, and read it to my daughter all the time.  She seems to love it just as much as I did.

What is one of your early reading memories? I remember as a child building a little reading nook in the corner of my room. I thought it was the finest place…and every day, after school, I’d run home to that little nook with a book in hand.

What is your favorite place to read?  My most favorite place has to be balled up on the couch…even better, on the couch while it’s raining…with a blanket…and maybe a glass of wine…

Can you think of a particular book that has meant something significant to you in your life?   The book Heaven is For Real was a real eye-opener for me. Of course, I’ve always believed in God and in heaven, but to have the opportunity to now clearly visualize it’s appearance was pretty incredible. I’m always recommending it to people.

I love to display my books…. based on color. The rainbow of colors is beautiful!

Reading is important to me because…. It takes me to another place. I can stop thinking about all the things going on around me for a minute and immerse myself in a whole new world.

Thank you, Holly, for sharing your love of books with us!  Happy thrifting and happy reading!

Book Review: “Decorate” by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick

More Books, More Decorating

“Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love brought together under one roof.”  Nate Berkus

Rooms That Tell a Story:

I have always been captivated by design books. Just like going on home tours, or glancing in an open window while driving by, reading books like Decorate lets me peer, if only briefly, into the world, and stories, of others.  Pick up this amazing new book and find yourself transported into some of the most visually interesting and inspiring rooms you have seen in a long while.  Decorate is a visual feast of the kinds of rooms we want to live-in today. The author, Holly Becker, is the creator of the enormously popular design website Decor8.  Gone are the matchy-match furniture groupings from the local furniture store.  Gone are the impersonal, super-modern, sterile rooms that represent “status”.  This book brings to our attention the inspirational designs of those who recognize our need to tell a story with our homes.

Here are  my “Take-Away’s” from the book:

Take-Away #1:  First of all, I love that the rooms look specifically “undecorated” and more amassed over time with meaningful objects.  I am in awe of the current trend toward purposeful mixing of patterns and layering textures.  In one room, a pastel floral watercolor painting hangs next to a mount of deer antlers; which is  flanked by a geometrically patterned, Victorian-inspired sofa; all of which is accompanied by a modern, clean-lined coffee table.  The message is:  There really are no rules!  A quote from the book that communicates this idea:  “Enjoy the hunt—it’s worth waiting for something special… and you’re bound to find other bits along the way.” – Emily Chalmers (inside cover)

Take Away #2:  How liberating it is that you can mix all of the following in a very beautiful and visually interesting room: architectural salvage, flea-market finds, family heirlooms, your daughter’s crayola drawing, high-end pieces mixed with thrift store finds…All of which embrace the patina of objects that have had a story.  “Decorating is an extension of your personal style.  Finding your decorating style depends on knowing what you love at a gut level.” –Carrie McCarthy, author

Take Away #3: From reading this book, I have determined that my style leans toward “Flea Market Style”  I absolutely swoon for things like clocks taken from warehouses, industrial metal shelving units, collections of vases and old advertising signs.  Love, love, love this section of the book!  I also identify with the section: “Eclectic Style.”   It is amazing to me that modern decorating will let you pair your parents’ cast-off lounge chairs (recovered, of course) from 1970 with a funky bohemian wall hanging and your grandmother’s needlepoint pillows.  Toss in some bright shiny metallic vases and anything else you have collected over the years and suddenly you have a room that sparks conversation!  This kind of decorating lets you tell a story and honor your past as well as your present.  Thank you, Holly Becker, for showing us that we can fill our rooms with affordable, sentimental items and that we don’t have to go to an expensive furniture store and buy an entire room at once!

Take Away #4:  If you’re reading this, perhaps you know I’m a huge fan of books.  For reading, for decorating, for crafts…. for everything.  Decorate is filled with pictures of rooms in many different styles, but something I notice is that most of the rooms contain BOOKS. On tables, piled high, stuffed on shelves… The message is clear, books are the staple that completes a room’s story!   On page 97,  I am inspired by the picture of books…. the combination of colors and the mood it inspires. It says,  “Vintage books with distinctive dust jackets are delightful objects in their own right, whether used for reading, displaying, or as sosurces of inspiration for decorating.”  I couldn’t agree more!

Without a doubt, I have been coveting this book since I got to hear Holly’s keynote at The Creative Connection Event in St. Paul. Her presentation was my favorite of the weekend, and when I returned from Minnesota, I blogged about my favorite quotes of the weekend; one of which was from Holly (You can check out this post here.)  All of her books were sold-out, so I was very disappointed that I couldn’t get a signed copy.  However,  at the end of the weekend, I had the opportunity to meet Holly, and she couldn’t have been more lovely and down-to-earth… just like her book!