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March 02, 2009


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Your tables are fresh and I enjoy seeing all the great ideas. As an antique dealer I like how you put together a great look with old and new pieces. I look forward to more food for my eyes. Thank you, Mitchell

Hi, Eddie
I just want to know what type of paint you use for the grapes

this is absolutely fabulous!! wonderful ideas and presentation. thank you so much for sharing!!!

A fantastic site. Will be back to read more. Great interesting ideas . Love the veggie display. It will be great at our next family gathering

I LOVE this! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. It’s like all the best parts of why I started reading MS Living. My favorite posts are your trips to the thrift, but I’m really enjoying your tablescapes as well. Recently I have been buying a lot of milk glass, and some of them have orangey-rust stains on them. I’ve used Clorox and even tried a magic eraser and nothing works. Do you have any hints?

I love the green table scape! How fun that would be for an elegant St. Patrick's day lunch!

Thank you so much for posting this! I love your ideas and how you mixed the dollar store items with items from your collection. I can't even begin to tell you how happy it makes a frugal girl like myself to see that someone with style as fantastic as yours is frugal as well!

I am wondering what kind of spray paint you used on the grapes?

OMG, This is my kind of decorating. Never in my life have I spent much on anything, for several reasons. I love recycling and thrift shops, yard sales, restaurant supply stores always have used things that are cheap. I love your style and your blog. Will be adding you to my list of favorites blogs.

Thanks Eddie for getting me to do a little research on Dorothy Draper. I'm new to all of this, but have always admired Carleton Varney's use of vibrant color. You are such an inspiration. This thrifty table setting looks smashing. Cheers!

Eddie, thanks for the inspiration! My sister and I love exploring tag sales and often come back with the most incredible finds. Loved your tablescape, maybe you could do a few more of these?

Hi Eddie!

I just *found* your blog thru Delighted Heart..she posted about the carnations...I cannot thank you enough!! I am going to practice this one...and maybe my daughter might want to have this as her table centerpieces for her winter wedding...the sphere looks like a giant snowball!!!

Love your blog!!!

Hi Eddie

The place settings are nice and I love the goblets. Dollar Tree is everywhere and it’s a cool store! Love the polka dot table cloth in the Dorothy Draper dining room. The polka dot fabric in your table scapes is bright and cheerful too! Great post Eddie!


hi eddie! i actually went to the dollar store yesterday. such great inspiration! after the dollar store, i stepped into a consignment store and found two brass lamps that i would love to paint a fun color for my bedroom. have you ever done anything like this? any tips for me? thanks so much!

Great post...thanks!!!

Great post! I blogged about carnations tonight and linked your carnation post to mine. Thanks for the inspiration!

I love those glasses! I can't believe those came from the Dollar Tree! I'm going there tomorrow to get some!!!

great job! I especially love the ribbon idea trim on the napkins. I definitely will use that idea.

Eddie,love your ideas and creativity. I too, believe that you don't need a lot of cash to add some flash. Whenever I entertain, I will decide on a theme. It could be anything from a holiday celebration to an artist birthday etc. My tablescapes make use of my craft closet finds and bargains from local stores, like Dollar Tree, Michael's, Target, etc. I usually make all a party favor to wear or take home as a remembrance.

This is beautiful! I love starting a party from a single inspiration or challenge. My grandmother threw me an engagement party just as Fall was turning to winter and made a big silver urn of hot cider that she served with cinnamon sticks.
If only I could think of some for my journalist hubby's 30th birthday party!

My family spent Thanksgivings at the Greenbrier for years and a couple of years ago we had 30 there for New Year's! You just have to love the Dorothy Draper style and hers fits the resort so perfectly (my favorite spot is the indoor pool/spa area). Love what you did here!

Eddie, once again you prove that all it takes is great taste, not money, to do some fab decorating.

OH...YOU are a man after my own heart! This is SOOOO good! I am of the firm belief that you do NOT have to spend tons of money to make a GREAT staement and have a classy look too! Stich witchery, huh? I am going to go get some cause I do not sew and am thinking of tons of uses for this! Thanks so much for ALL the inspiration you give! WISH for SPRING!!!!!!!!!! Hugs, Pinky

Great for St Patricks Day. I have never heard of Dollar Tree, we need one here in Hawaii.

You are amazing Eddie...I can never believe my eyes with what you come up with!!

hugs, Aline

I had a dinner party for 8 on Saturday night. While sipping on comopolitans, one of the gals commented on the cute martini glasses. I thanked her and smiled because I knew they were a Dollar Tree find at $1 each. The blue water goblets which also got compliments were a Dollar Tree $1 find, and I have had them for at least four years!

Bravo, eddie! Another fabulous post! You are the best! xoxo

I have a box filled with dollar store champagne flutes...Every once in a while we'll have a tray of champagne (well, cava ;-) near the front door and guests will think it's the fanciest thing. :-) Plus, if a glass cracks no sweat off my back! Your goblets are rad...they'd make terrific dessert dishes as well.

I love your tablescape, Eddie! I'm definitely going to have to check out Dollar Tree for the white plates. They're such a nice, basic thing to have and then layer with whatever pretty salad plate or bowl you have. The goblets are very nice also.

I so look forward to your 'ideas' ... how fun to open facebook and find your update ... thank you!

Eddie, First the book post and now you use Dorothy Draper as your inspiration.I did not who she was until one day in a book store I discovered a book about her and there it was the description of the style I had always loved.I did not know she was also creatively thrifty.With you and her in my brain I am totally inspired.You know me and black and white checker board floors.Great Post ,Eddie it looks wonderful.I now go to the Dollar store thanks to you,xoxo Kathysue

My grandmother was an expert at putting a table together with what she had in her house. Although, she had shelves of treasures from which to choose!! Every holiday had its own table decorations and I don't remember any of them being the same from one year to the next.
Your table had brought back many happy memories of my grandmother and her incredible "knack", as she called it.

I absolutely love your decorating tips. And I want to go out and find some stitch witchery right this minute.

Because I love bold colors, I have had a difficult time finding art prints that I like so I started creating my own and I now have an etsy store where I sell fine art photographic prints in bold floral compositions.

Please take a look and let me know what you think!

My prices are very reasonable and I will print any size that suits your needs.


Thank you for your great article. It was immensely helpful!

Love DD! You are awesome, as usual! :)

You've done it again! bravo!

We old girls called it the "five and dime" or the "dime store." We shopped at Moneymakers on Troost. I remember my Mother and I walking down to Woolbergs, our favorite dry goods store in Kansas City. We walked, as most families walked during the depression and the War (#2).

We were very lucky, my father always had a job and we always had one car. But he supported my mother's family, and his mother. Money was very tight.

When the war came, my father stayed home because his job was considered too important to the war effort for him to leave. He was an engineer and developed systems using various gasses. He invented systems to use oxygen and anasthetic gasses during surgery. He invented scuba gear also. My mother made everything and we had a "victory garden."

I remember thay my mother saw a picture in Collier's Magazine and copied the room from things she bought at various dime stores and the dry goods store. She hand-braided rugs from our old woolen coats and made a lovely thick rug for the hearth from string that she saved. I wish that I had these things today.

There is always something different and wonderful to find with you, Eddie. Thanks, Barb

Hi Eddie,

I loved your post...and Dorothy Draper...and Carleton Varney. I am a designer in Chicago and would love it if you would come out and spend a day at one of our best antique markets. I am quite sure you would have a wonderful turn out! It starts to get warm in May
and that is just around the corner. Thanks for all the great ideas!

Another brillant posting! "Cheap to Chic" or perhaps "Dashing Dollar Decor"? Honestly - this is exactly what real folks need right now -- a way to do lovely tables, rooms or homes without spending lots of cash! Many thanks to you both -- you are doing wonderful work!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

You know I love me some Draper! One of these days I will paint stripes on the dining room walls.

So, where's the soda bread?

This is a cool look...why not keep the grapes green? I didn't get that one. The goblets have a medieval look to them, feels like I should rip off a turkey leg and slosh it down with wine..lol. Fun!

Hope country life (with lots of snow)is good today!

~Redesign Diva

This is fantastic!

I love it!! What a great idea painting the grapes. I have to remember that one.

I am with you on this one, Eddie! I did a posting called "Dollar Store Amour" a while back...I went to the $1 Tree one day, and came home with a trove full of treasures...I got these awesome plates that look oh so elegant in a place setting or beautiful as a dish to hold hors d'oeuvres...I actually used one to hold a delicious little cheese ball I made for a cocktail party!

thanks for the inspiration...getting ready to plan daughter Sweet 16 and I love the plates and glasses. Off to do some scrounging at the Dollar store.

I LOVE DOLLAR TREE!! i always get holiday decorations and cards from there!!! Those plates are perfect to just have a nice matching set for a party!esp on my post college budget!

Looks fabulous, as usual!!

Love your recessionary chic style. I'm having a get-together this Friday, so I'll be checking out the dollar store today!

That's the best thing I've seen from the Dollar Store. Most other bloggers brag about their finds, but they still look...Dollar Store-ish.

So pretty!!! I love these little before & afters!!! I was really surprised about the grapes & how great they look!!

Your Dollar Store Decor is off the charts! It may pay them to hire you as their spokesperson. Nice work, Mr. Ross!

Ahhh. . .living well is indeed the best revenge. This post is a wonderful example that good taste doesn't require a lot of money and it is available to everyone who has the desire to live well. Nice lesson!!

I loved this post. Thank you for inspiration.

Eddie, I just love this!! Inexpensive ways to put together a table is very timely these days. I get tired of reading many design blogs that only cater to really expensive items that are out of reach for many of us. Down to earth, that's the best!

Eddie, you and Jaithan should take a drive down to Garrison to the Russell Wright Design Center (Manitoga). He and his wife Mary, as I'm sure you know, were huge names in the home and lifestyle industry in the 30's 40's and 50's, and doing it all on a budget was a big part of their appeal back then, although their style was more modern and casual than Dorothy Draper's.
As for me, I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive (but not cheap looking) ideas for my home. Thanks for the info!

I love you Eddie Ross. I just wish I could bring you home with me! Of course, Jaithan can come too! :)
Def. do more posts like this - people need affordable inspiring ideas in such tough times. You hit the nail on the head.

Clever! I'll be at the Greenbrier in mid-March...with a new appreciation for Draper, thanks to you :)




I was just telling hubby over the weekend, now is the time to spend money on improving the quality of life in your home. This was a great lesson on how it doesn't have to be much! Over the years, I have collected Martha things for entertaining large groups. Many I have gotten on clearance at KMart for a buck!

I've had the pleasure of staying in the Carleton Varney suite at the Grand Hotel. Boy the stories I told myself! :)

Enjoy the day!

I love it, the napkins, what an inventive idea. I keep stich witchery for quick hem fixes, had not thought of it for this fab use!

May I adopt you? I just love how everything you imagine or spot comes to life. You have such a gift and to share that is so admirable. I am refreshing my home, and I say, oh, "Eddie" would be so proud of me, editing, polishing, and loving it all.

"Gracious living does not require a lavish budget." That has been my mantra for many years. When one has savoir faire, French literally for 'to know how to do', he can make a silk purse of a sow's ear. Combining antique sterling with Dollar Tree plates or supermarket flowers in great-granny's Lalique vase is all in a day's work for those of us not held back by the snobbery of price or provenance. It is not what something costs nor which designer store it came from but what you make of it that matters.
Thanks, Eddie, for continuing to show us all that one can not put a price on talent and imagination.

Love your blog and ideas!!! I really enoyed your post on tabe scaping. I have a problem area in my decorating that you never see tackled in magazines or elsewhere. I have a vintage 1908 piano...dark walnut. How would you table scape on the top of a piano? Can you show us some ideas? Maybe a traditional look, or an eclectic look?

I love that we have so many options- like this lovely table - and not breaking the budget to do so. I'm off to visit our local dollar store-thanks for the great tips.

beautiful! perfect.

Yet again you have done a great job and staying on the frugal side! I am planning a trip to Dollar Tree later this week, just to browse! Painting the grapes I would not of thought of, or the get together of these items! Your style is livable chic!

sorry, it looks cheap! in a bad way.


Do it again, from the thrift store!

Perhaps, allow yourself 1-2 thrift stores in a day then put together the design the same evening?

I like what you do and selfishly want to see what you do with less money and less time.

While I'm being selfish, and, bold, please add a new category, The Landscape.

I must know what you're doing with your wonderful new landscape.


Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Talk about March Madness! Love this tablescape- Did a beach dinner party last year from the Dollar Store and it was beautiful. Thanks for the wonderful post Eddie

Love this! What great finds too!
I just bought some white twin sized sheets at WalMart for $3 each. I'm planning to dress them up with grosgrain ribbon trim and ties and make drapes for my living room. Love a bargain!!

You have inspired me to set my table "outside of the piggy bank." I love this table and I am inspired here with these budget ideas to create a table for just a gathering of good friends and food. Wow, this is going to be fun.

Brilliant as always, Eddie!
your Hong Kong admirer.

Love the goblets! I also discovered these at a dollar store in Canada and have propped with them so many times. Also found fab faux bamboo stainless flatware--amazing! Grosgrain is the Timex watch of decorating -- humble and dependable but always chic. Fun post. ps. my fave book right now is Darryl Carter's -- Yum!

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