Santa and I, we’re good buddies. He gives me the low-down on a frequent basis.
I’m not sure if you know this about the big guy or not but he’s a thrift store junkie. It’s true. He told me himself.
If you caught yesterday’s Christmas tour post, I mentioned that we’re not big gift buyers around the holidays. Last year was the first year Olivia was old enough for us to really get into the Santa thing, but we weren’t ready to spend hundreds of dollars on toys for her.
So throughout the months leading up to Christmas I, ahem I mean Santa, kept a lookout for some awesomesauce presents to fix up and have waiting under the tree. (Some ended up as Birthday gifts instead since I found soooo many.)
At my neighborhood thrift store, I snagged this kitchen that retails for over $250 for $25. Whaaat! All it needed was a good cleaning and it was like brand new.
In another thrift store, I found this old puppet theatre for just $6. With a little paint and some fabric, it turned out to be the best imagination station. And that piano that retails for $80 was a $20 score at a local kids’ consignment sale.
My grandmother had bought a wooden doll crib for my mom from a Sears catalog back in the 60s. My mom gave it to me when I was a little girl, and then last year, she fixed it up with some white paint and a hand sewn doll mattress, pillow, and blanket. (I think I got the DIY bug from her.) It melts my heart every time when Olivia plays with it…which is basically every day.
THEN I found this Pottery Barn doll stroller marked at almost $100 for $20 at a kids’ consignment sale and a $2 highchair at a thrift store that I painted.
This girl is a happy camper. And this mom is a happy camper because I didn’t have to break the bank for Christmas and Birthday presents.
I think she was just a teensy bit happy to see all Santa had brought her on Christmas last year.
Now this year, I’m cooking up another budget DIY Santa surprise. A few months ago, I found this wooden dollhouse for $10 at the thrift store. It was really plain and simple and could use a little TLC, but it was so cute, I couldn’t walk away from it.
And the inside gave me plenty of potential to make some magic.
So I swung by Michaels to pick up a few sheets of scrapbook paper to put in some wallpaper. (Goodness knows I don’t have the patience for the grown-up wallpaper, but I can handle the dollhouse kind.)
Over the course of a couple of days sneaking into our garage whenever Olivia was napping, I stained the floors, installed the “wallpaper” with Mod Podge, added curtains with felt and hot glue, and hung a few tiny picture frames I found.
I ordered a few dollhouse furniture pieces too (since I didn’t trust DIYing that for child safety reasons), but it didn’t arrive in time to show you guys. Booo.
Now she’s looking mighty snazzy. My photos really don’t do this one justice since I had to squeeze in a quick photo shoot while Olivia was busy.
I painted the outside in Martha Stewart Mother of Pearl acrylic paint, so it has a pretty shimmery sheen to it. I painted the shutters and chimney with some leftover Fusion Mineral Paint in Ash from my china cabinet makeover.
And this is the inside!
I can’t wait to see it completely finished when the dollhouse furniture arrives. I might go back and paint the ceilings white and paint on a few area rugs. Depends on how tired Santa is. 😉
For the miniature picture frames, I took the glass out, added a few prints from The Graphics Fairy, and hot glued them to the walls.
This one reminds me of Olivia’s room.
I found this beautiful cottage print on The Graphics Fairy too, and I think I’m tempted to blow it up as a grown-up sized print. It’s gorgeous!
I’m so anxious already for Santa to leave this sweet little house under the tree. I just know she’s going to flip for this thing.
Is your inner little girl a teeny bit jealous? Mine is! I think I’m going to love playing with it as much as Olivia will. And now I think this girl is set on toys until she’s…oh…16. Sounds about right.
Best of all, we can use the money we would have spent on a retail priced dollhouse to buy gifts for an Angel Tree child.
Have you ever DIYed any of your kids’ toys before? Or found some rockin’ great deals at thrift stores and consignment sales for your little ones? Money savvy Santa is the best, don’t you think?
You can check out all of the creative makeovers my Trash to Treasure Transformation friends are up to today too. These gals never disappoint.