Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Welcome and come in

Hello all, and welcome to my humble abode.  It isn't much I know, but it is truly amazing what you can make out nothing...or at least out of cheap Ikea purchases.  I am a self-proclaimed decorator, crafter and refurbisher extraordinaire.  Of course, I have very little talent for any of these things, but since when does talent matter (I'm looking at you Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus)?  I love all of these things and I consider them my hobbies and that is what is really important.  So, come, sit down and enjoy a cup of tea with me.  I'll teach you all my little secrets for having a beautiful life on very little money...if you teach me yours. 

First things first, since we are all friends here, I should probably give you a little information about myself.  My name is Jamie, I'm in my mid-twenties and I am from sunny, beautiful California.  But, I currently reside in the often cold and cloudy Bavaria, Germany.  "Why Germany?" you may, and probably should, ask.  And to that question, I have a rather predictable answer:  LOVE.  Yes, I moved to Germany for a boy.  And most of my non-German friends here did, too.  You may think its pathetic and lame, you may think it is courageous and romantic but it doesn't matter to me.  Aside from the several days I spent schlepping around in -75 degree weather (as you will also soon learn I have a penchant for exaggeration), I don't regret it one bit.  It's fun, beautiful, old and inspiring.  And, all that love ain't so bad either.

(To those of you wondering how I met my wonderful, smart, kind and loving German man, the answer is typical: traveling.  In the summer of 2008, we both walked The Way of St. James, a pilgrimage across northern Spain.  It's been almost three years now!) 

I grew up with the most wonderful, loving and amazing mother in the whole wide world (are you sensing a trend here?  I am amazingly lucky with the amount of awesome, loving people in my life).  She taught me everything I know.  She is a master-decorator-extraordinaire and I admire her greatly.  Her projects occasionally had their drawbacks--I once got a piece of glass stuck in my knee after she attempted to frame a picture on the living room carpet--but mostly they are a huge success.  And, our home always looks flawless, as any of our friends or family could tell you.  She taught me to paint, decoupage, reupholster, and, most importantly, bargain hunt. 

So, now we get to the part where I tell you what I do for a living: I am an English teacher.  In other words, I am perpetually broke.  Add in the fact that I need to visit my family in California every once and a while (international flights are NOT cheap, my friends) and I am always pinching pennies (or stealing them from my boyfriend...shhh...don't tell).  That means I have had to be very creative in decorating my place over here.  And that leads me to this blog. 

Now, it may come as a surprise to you that in Europe, the "Old World," you can't really find old furniture.  But, I tell you it is the truth.  It may not be the truth everywhere, but in my little town in Oberfranken it is true.  Of course, we have some antique stores but they are the fancy kind, full of 18th century curio-cabinets (did they even have those in the 18th century? Shows you how much I really know!) and other fancy things that I can't even begin to afford.  What they don't sell here is the cheap old stuff... the Salvation Army dressers or the miss-matched Good Will dishes, the cute old 1920s dresser you find for 45 bucks at a garage sale on a crisp fall Saturday morning with a latte in hand.  The best we get is a crappy flea market two times a year.  So I have had to be even MORE creative here than I was in California and I want to share with you some of my ideas. 

So, now that you know a little about me, let me give you a little idea about my goals for this blog: 1) share with you tips and tricks for decorating on a budget  2) share with you some of my creative projects and endeavors 3) provide a safe place to talk about penny pinching and how to get the most of it 4) share with you some other good ideas for generally living, eating and drinking well without a lot of money (because who ACTUALLY has a pair of Manolo Blahniks and drinks Dom Pérignon?), in addition to sharing other blogs I find on doing just that and 5) fill up some of my extra time, as I have a lot of it these days.

Before we get started, let me give you a tour of my little apartment.  They're not the best pictures OR the most recent, but they will do for now.   Then, kick off your shoes, snuggle up on the couch and make yourself feel at home! 


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