Category Archives: Thrifted

Thrift Store Score: 80s galore

Before I even share my latest secondhand acquisitions, I must preface with the fact that I’m well aware not everyone will necessarily “get” it. As the post title suggests, these objects are distinctly 80s and not exactly mainstream, but I love them and am more than happy to give them a brand new life in our home. A little kitschy, they may be, but they’re MY kitsch.


With that out of the way, I will first introduce you to my new ice bucket. I’ve been hankering for a new ice bucket to add to our living room bar cart for, really, the past year. I wanted something sort of mid-century and definitely unique. I think I was able to succeed with this padded handled, faux wood grain number.


I am a big fan of wood grain in general, whether fake or real, so as soon as I saw this little guy sitting forlornly at the bottom of a shelf at Goodwill, I had to snatch him up. And when you factor in the $3.50 price tag, it simply couldn’t be beat. With a thorough rub down with multiple dish soap baths, it was good as new and party ready.


Now here’s where things get a little dicey. I know that many of you will be all “Say whattt??” when you see my new piece of art in the master bedroom, but I’m over the moon giddy about it. This massive decidedly 80s print is perfect in my book. Nice thin brass frame, abstract imagery, TONS of color – It’s got our taste written all over it. And, again, costing only $3.50 made it impossible not to take home. I figure, if our style changes, or we get tired of it, the oversized brass frame alone made it worthy of forking over the cash.



In hindsight after running a quick Google search of the artist (the print is signed in the bottom right hand corner), I’m especially glad that I decided to go for it.




Why? Well it turns out that my thrift store Carlton Sturges Abbott print actually could be valued at 30 TIMES what I paid for it (one lithograph print is estimated at $100-$200). Although Abbott’s work isn’t exactly “Picasso” priceless, I’m excited at the thought that I have an authentic print, done by an authentic artist. I consider this one an investment well made.



What era of art and accessories do you consider your guilty pleasure?


Weekly Pinterest Challenge: Antler Jewelry Holder

Notice anything different about today’s post? Specifically the title? Well, I’ve officially decided to retire the feature title “Pinspiration Monday” once and for all. When I first started this recurring Monday morning theme over 2 years ago, I had no idea just how much it would consume my focus. What initially began as a way to chat out loud about my favorite Pinterest pins, has evolved into a full on weekly challenge – “challenge” being the operative word. Making the commitment to recreate one of my pins each and every week is a LOT of fun, but also a LOT of work. But I adore making the promise to myself that my pins (all 7,681 of them) won’t go untested, or at least unconsidered.

So it’s time to slap a REAL title to this challenge and shout out the truth behind the mission. I hope you don’t mind the minor shift and that it doesn’t throw you off. Aside from the new name, nothing else will change – Meet me here same time each Monday, and you’ll continue to see a Pinterest pin brought to life through my own perspective.


Source: Etsy

Now that that little piece of business is out of the way, I’m excited to share today’s “Weekly Pinterest Challenge” focus – antlers. Way back when I got my own vintage antler to be used for styling around the house, I considered painting it, I considered leaving it as is and I even considered wrapping it in yarn (like this). But that was only until I saw the image above. What better way to put that protruding, sculptural shape to use then by hanging jewelry from it?

The only issue was that my particular antler was a solo piece – no mountable duo like the inspiration from Pinterest. But I figured it would be just as fun to lay my own antler on a surface and hang bracelets from the upturned curvature – I’ve seen a couple of people do just that on other blogs before, so I wasn’t thinking too far out of the box here. And luckily, it worked!



This is one of those amazingly simple, amazingly fast projects that took only, oh…five minutes. And that was mostly factoring in the time it took me to walk to the basement den to grab the antler and walk back upstairs to set it on the bedroom dresser. Sometimes though, it’s these quick and easy styling fixes that make all the difference in a space.




If you’re also into this rustic trend, what are your favorite ways to style antlers?

Pinspiration Monday: Yellow bench

Although I’ve completed my fair share of them, I’m actually not too big on major furniture makeovers. They require a TON of work and although it’s almost always worth it in the end, it’s definitely the type of project that tends to get put off until the last minute – Or it waits for a gutsy or adventurous whim. Yet, when I saw this bright canary yellow chair on Pinterest, it lit a fire under my bum and I couldn’t help but dive head first into a brand new furniture redo.


Source: Better Homes and Gardens

While my “Pinspiration” project used a chair as the foundation, I didn’t happen to have one available. But I DID happen to have a pretty vanity stool in desperate need for a makeover. It had the same curvy silhouette as the chair, so I figured it would have the same effect when completed. As you can tell, my little thrifted bench (pre blog) was in desperate need of some TLC.




Between the paint stained fabric seat and scratched wood finish, it was time for new fabric AND new paint. As for the fabric, I picked up a yard of this adorable gray, white, yellow and black fabric from JoAnn’s for less than $7. Truth be told, I didn’t really have any plans for the fabric when I bought it – I just loved it too much to leave it behind on the shelf. But after deciding that the old vanity bench needed a fresh coat of yellow paint, it just made sense to break out the bird print for the upholstery.



The first step, obviously, was paint. I went with a bright yellow Valspar spray paint this time, which was layered on in two coats after I gave the entire frame a good sanding with our Black and Decker Mouse Sander. The wood was a little more beat up than I had anticipated though and I quickly ran out of sanding sheets, so it’s not as smooth as I would have liked…But it makes the piece look rustic, which isn’t the end of the world for me. It gives it character!



And the final step? Ripping the old fabric off the now detached seat cushion, and replacing it with the new bird print. I decided to remove the old fabric rather than simply covering it because the seat was looking a little strained and puckered around the edges because of the many layers underneath. This stool had seen one too many makeovers it seemed, so I simply took it back in time.



To “measure” my new fabric, I laid the bench seat upside down on top of the also upside down bird fabric. Then I just cut it down, leaving a good 2-3 inches on each side for wrapping. (Did you catch Ginny’s kitty paw photo bomb?)





A few quick pulls and staples around the edges and corners, and we were all done! I plopped the seat back on the frame, screwed it in and promptly styled it for its closeup downstairs in the entry way. It’s the perfect little spot for us to sit to put on shoes, or to drop purses, dog leashes and springtime scarves.




I’m in love with the happy new yellow color and that print makes me smile every time I walk by – No, really. Every time…

Hope you have a great Monday!

An everyday springtime tablescape

Don’t worry guys. I totally get that I haven’t been sharing many DIY-able ideas lately…As I’ve mentioned before, life has been a little chaotic lately, and I just haven’t had the time (or energy) to break out the nail gun, paint brush and drill. But don’t worry – I’m feeling a little more settled and, after escaping for a week to the beach in a week and a half, I’m POSITIVE that I’ll be feeling refreshed, renewed and rededicated to crafting and projects

Until then, I’m excited to share my second installment of an everyday tablescape. Over the winter I shared a couple of ideas for a simple, transitional table layout, and I’m back today with the new season’s look.



This time, it was all about bold color and pattern. I picked up a set of 4 indoor/outdoor plates from Target (on clearance for less than $3 a pop!) to set on top of my gold chargers. Because my chargers, napkins and napkin rings from the previous season’s look are so neutral, I plan on using them year round, instead just switching out the plates and centerpiece to get a fresh look.





Speaking of the centerpiece…While we were at the grocery store recently, I scooped up this $4 bouquet of red carnations and added them to a thrift store glass from our wedding. I felt like it added just the right amount of life and warmth to the table. I especially love the rich color and layers of soft texture – I think the carnation trend is definitely coming back around.





I think my favorite part about this revitalized springtime tablescape though is the fact that it’s all easily transported to the back deck for dinners under the stars. Because the plastic plates are virtually indestructible, I don’t have to waste a moment worrying about breaking them like I do when eating off of our nice wedding dishes.



What sorts of things do you decorate your dining room table with? Or are you thinking I’m absolutely nuts for having “seasonal” dining décor? I certainly wouldn’t blame you for not “getting” my odd OCD ways.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. In case you missed them, I’ve got a bunch of external links to share in today’s “Friday Feature Round Up.” First up, I chatted about this fun placecard holder DIY over on Le Papier Studio. I also stopped by LPS for a quick “Inspired by” feature centered around the brand new Family Tree Necklace. As for Glitter Guide this week, I put together a big round up of unique wedding gift ideas (my favorite GG feature, to date). Then I spouted off my May obsessions alongside the other GG editors here, and put in my two cents on the perrr-fect spring sandal here. And THEN I stopped by GalTime to talk about experimenting with color!

Phew!!! Like I said…life has been a little chaotic…



Thrift Store Score: Mid-Century Couch

It’s finally (finally!) time to reveal what we’ve been up to in our finished basement, or what I’m now referring to as our den because I hate the stigma of a “finished basement.” I’ve teased tons of photos through Instagram, but if you haven’t caught wind of the project, John and I decided to flip this particular living space upside down – figuratively, of course.

The room as it was before (which I’m not even going to bother sharing in photo form, because it was that bad) was full of mismatched cheap pieces of furniture. It was KIND of functional as a TV room, but for the most part just served to give me nightmares at night. It was time to fix things. So we Craigslisted all the furniture, making nearly enough money to buy all NEW pieces! You’ve seen the awkward nook in the corner transform into a desk, but it’s time to see the rest of the space…

Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 5.14.53 PM

The first thing we needed was a new sofa. I make it a point to check Craigslist at least once a week, searching for furniture listings under the “mid-century,” “midcentury” and “mid century” labels (I get different hits for each unique term). And my prayers were answered a couple of weeks ago with my most incredible “Thrift Store Score” to date. That big beautiful VINTAGE mid-century couch was not only within price range (in full disclosure, we ended up getting it for $440) but also within our own zip code. After following the lister’s directions, we discovered that she lived only about 3 miles away. Easiest. Pickup. Ever.

Oh, and before I forget to mention it – For any locals loving this couch, the matching side chair is still for sale. Click that link for details!

We brought the new-to-us couch home, set it up in the cleared out space and knew that we had landed on some kind of magic. It was perfect…But, of course, the new couch upped the art ante and I started dreaming big. What to hang? Once I narrowed my vision down to an eclectic gallery wall, I realized that I had an accidentally perfect collection sitting in storage in my studio. After hanging the art (for FREE) in less than 20 minutes, and setting up a new arc lamp (scored from the Yellow Brick Home curated sale on Joss & Main), we stepped back and called this half of the room officially “done.”





Please forgive the highly fluorescent photography…There are no windows and therefore no pretty natural sunlight to use to my advantage. Oh, and for anyone curious, the two gray pillows came from The Everygirl curated Joss & Main sale (more on those scores here), the geo lumbar pillow is from Target and the shag rug is from Lowe’s. The wooden box to the side of the couch and the foot stool are vintage.

We still have a few things to do to the rest of the space, but I’m sick of sharing teasers while I hurry to perfect it. The reality that I have to face (yet again) is that these things take time and it will evolve slowly – And frankly, that’s exactly how it should be. That said, here is our progress in the rest of the room thus far…




Quick interjection: That white dresser above is another Thrift Store Score worth noting. Believe it or not, it spawned the entire room. We knew we wanted to upgrade our old TV cabinet (a rickety particle board book shelf from Wal Mart), however we always had in mind a nice wooden piece with legs. But when we glimpsed this white lacquer Lane dresser at Estate Specialist downtown, our vision started to shift. It’s definitely a vintage vibe, but more of a 1970’s space age feel than the Danish piece we had envisioned. In the end, we love the sleek lines and cool, quiet look.




I’m so excited to have all of you along for the ride as we transform this space! Thanks for all of the support so far – You must know that it means the world to me.

Enjoy your day!

Thrift Store Score: Botanical Prints

Art is one of those wonderful things that can come from all kinds of sources. From preschool children’s art and happy painting accidents, to catalog tear sheets and old books. The possibilities of the latter option are what I’m excited to share with you today…


That big beautiful book of botanical images is something my mom and dad picked up at our favorite estate shop in town. The book cost only $22, and came chalk FULL of beautiful garden artwork just begging to be hung. Although the prints were meant to be viewed while flipping through the big coffee table book, my mom decided that the pages could be put to better use detached from the binding and hung behind glass on the wall.

So, with me on board to document the process and offer input when prompted, we began brainstorming locations for a set of framed botanicals. Ultimately, we decided on the formal living room above their couch. The existing painting is a family favorite (it HAS to be with 3 real live labs roaming around our feet at any given moment), but the piece was a little small for the wall space between the windows.



Down the painting came (to be relocated, as soon you’ll see), and out the big book of prints came so that we could choose the fateful 3. Our process was HIGHLY scientific (sarcasm) – Mom sat on the couch in the living room flipping the pages show-and-tell style, while I sat across the way judging the colors and shapes in their future environment. The possibilities seemed limitless, but we finally managed to come up with a pile of runner ups.




After carefully slicing our favorites from the book using a razor blade, we narrowed the choices down to our top 3 and then put them behind matted frames snagged from a local craft store for around $40 total.




The 3 prints fill the space much better than the lone painting did before, and the red/yellow/green color scheme picks up on the traditional accents throughout the rest of the space. They make a world of difference in fixing the proportions and add such lovely texture.




You’d be hard pressed to get more sophisticated than traditional framed floral paintings – The scripted type on the bottom of each piece really takes things up a notch too. You know I’m a stickler for modern pop art, but even I adore these and wish I had wall space for my own little collection.


So where did the pretty lab painting go? This consignment store gem simply shifted to the wall perpendicular to the new framed flowers, taking up the perfect amount of space between the front windows.



Before I leave you, this piece really deserves some close ups…In my art history classes in school, I was always drawn to paintings that had a bunch of shifting color. This portrait from far away is pretty standard, but from a foot away you can really see all of the variety. Sky blue, navy, emerald, rust, gray – They’re all there is this incredible sea of color that somehow translates into the shiny coat of a dog when seen as a whole. I love it. Could stare at it for hours.




Anyway, have you ever framed pages from a book before? Or do you find the idea of pulling pages out just horrific? I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you cringed at the idea of us removing the prints from the book, but our need for DIY-able, inexpensive art definitely won out in this particular case!

Now, please excuse me while I go gaze at the close ups of that painting again.


Pinspiration Monday: Gold tray

I have somehow unconsciously made it my mission to add metallic accents and mirrored finishes to every room in our house. There’s just something about the way light plays with these types of finishes that I can’t get enough of, so I’ve incorporated things like brass lamps and figurines, wall mirrors and also a mirrored tray or two – Sort of like the one below, which I found on Pinterest.


Source | The Glitter Guide

Yet where my “Pinspiration” image is a gorgeous bright yellow gold, my OWN oval mirrored tray was a tarnished disaster. Seeing as I picked it up from a thrift store way back when, I have no idea if it ever once looked like that shiny beauty above, but I knew just how to imitate it once and for all.


It was time to introduce my old mirrored tray to a can of metallic gold spray paint. Sure, I may have been able to grab some special metal cleaner to clean and buff this frame back into shape, but (1) I’m trying to use what I already have on hand to stay on a currently unemployed budget, and (2) my tray is no where near as solid and pristine as the Pinterest tray. It’s pretty cheap, and sports a slightly warped construction that didn’t really warrant any kind of special treatment. My hope was that, with a fresh coat of spray paint, I could at least attempt to mimic the look of a high-end tray.



Masking for spray paint is not an activity that I relish, but thankfully this tray didn’t require that I bother. A series of bendable tabs around the edges of the metal frame allowed me to remove the inner mirror so that I could take the empty frame outside, plop it on a piece of cardboard and go to town with my spray paint. Done and done.

But before we get to the “After” shots, I just had to share a few closeups of what it was before – Notice the tiny spots of rust. I doubt that metal cleaner would have even been able to save this piece from a spray paint job…



Ten minutes of thin and even spray painting and 24 hours of curing later, my tray was looking refreshed and renewed. The gold top coat has given this old rusty tray an entirely new lease on life, and finally looks chic enough for prime real estate on our bathroom countertop. I just wonder why it took me so long to do this project in the first place!





I know not all of you are fans of spray paint, but its powers of transformation put a BIG ol’ spring in my step. What’s your favorite go-to DIY tool?


P.S. I’m excited to announce a new collaboration with Le Papier Studio! I was recently selected as Social Media Intern for the paper design company, and couldn’t be more excited to work with Vana and the other new team members. Ever since I started this blog and began to really dive deep into the online creative world, I’ve wanted to connect, work for and grow with a good brand – I couldn’t have asked for a better one than Le Papier Studio. I truly feel like this is my chance to really shine and I can’t wait to see what the future holds! 

In addition to managing LPS’s social media, I’ll also be contributing weekly blog posts. I invite you to click over and take a look at my first one, published just this morning. Enjoy!