Tag Archives: Decor

Thrifty Living: An Army of Ten Cent Jars

19 Jan

Little Big went quiet yesterday in solidarity of anti-SOPA legislation. I didn’t post any links simply because I ran out of time what with chasing a toddler and spending the majority of my time not chasing her with hacking up and sneezing various colors of fluids. Suffice it to say that this legislation could shut down my little ol’ blog just because I occasionally post something like this or this or even this. And that last one is especially important to me. When I was having my panic attacks it was your comments on this blog that really helped me feel normal. I will never, ever forget that. One comment in particular, from Anne G, has stuck with me and sustained me through some dark moments. It simply stated stated,

“I don’t believe that the person that wrote about Brian McPoopington will not be OK. Your positive energy will prevail.”

The fact that I have the freedom to share Brian McPoopington with you all helped me through a tough time. One of the toughest of my life. SOPA could end all that. Suck it, SOPA. Suck it slooooow.

I love fresh flowers in the home but I usually have to stick with flowers I grew in my yard or various plants Isobel and I find on our nature walks (which essentially boils down to “stroller time through the suburbs.”) I’ve collected a small army of ten cent jars and petite glasses while thrifting in the rare event that I have enough foliage to display.

Last summer my dear friends Jenn and Chris hosted a wedding reception that I was honored to be asked to photograph, and Jenn didn’t let me leave without taking home one of the stunning table bouquets her family put together. (It didn’t hurt that the flowers happened to be in my vintage mason jar.)

I enjoyed the blossoms in the jar as long as I could but once it started looking raggedy I tossed any rotting or dried-out blooms and stuck them in these thrifted jars instead. In true thrifty fashion  I always make my bouquets last as long as possible by whittling down the flowers, displaying on the freshest parts, for as long as possible in my thrifted jars.

They last even longer if your cats don’t chew on them. Not that I would know what that’s like.

Thrifty Living: Toysplosion, Part II

28 Nov

I have been fighting the good fight over toy storage ever since before Isobel was old enough to go through the cat door. When her toys began taking over the living room we bought an awesome six dollar thrifted chest and begged the internet for help to solve this problem. Little did I know that the toy storage problem would never go away, just change and become difficult in different ways with time.

We’ve been slowly moving Isobel’s toys out of her nursery and into a room affectionately known as “the Pencil Room,” after the time that I stashed an enormous cache of colored pencils in that room. Which, nevermind. That’s a story for another time. Our plan is to move Isobel out of the nursery and into the Pencil Room, which will eventually become her big girl room.

After shopping around for toy storage and organization systems, I settled for thrifted tins and baskets, tubs for larger toys and collections, a few buckets and finally, some photo storage boxes bought cheaply at Micheal’s.

I really like the tins, even though you do have to remember what’s in them. But that makes them that much fresher to your child when they pull them out again. Sometimes the lids on older tins tend to stick, but that can be a good thing if it holds toys for your older child that you don’t want your younger kid getting into.

The main thing I’ve learned about toy storage and organization is you have to develop a little ruthlessness. Keeping the amount of toys at manageable levels, developing collections that will grow with your child, and donating the things that you child has out grown/doesn’t care a whole lot about/are duplicates of other toys has really saved my sanity. Especially when we have playdates. When we have Kingston over he moves from room to room, rooting out his favorite toys while he and Isobel dump everything out in the process. And that is totally fine! Kids! It’s what they do! I’ve sorted and pared the toys down to the point that I can clean up a toysplosion, I mean a total, house-wrecking toysplosion, in under twenty minutes. I don’t mean to brag. Getting to this point was a hard-won battle. But it is possible.

Little Big Shop

24 Sep

Here’s what’s up in the shop:

Vintage Balloon Lightswtich Plate, I’m in love with the bright colors.

Fukagawa Arita Handpainted Teacups, this set is so completely perfect.

Two airtight glass canisters, beautiful vintage storage for the bathroom or nursery.

Austria heraldic plate, because two eagle heads are better than one. Duh.

Avon collectible floral dish, this is so sweet.

Thrifty Living: The Jellyfish Tent

8 Sep

At 7 a.m. my friends Angela and Melynda were putting the last items on the lawn of the yard sale. I rolled up, coffee in hand, and told them I wasn’t to take anything home. I was there to help. And then, of course, I saw this: a hoop of netting meant to drape gracefully at the head of a bed or even a cradle. Netting fine enough to see through but still keep the mosquitoes out. I knew I had to have it.

Anthony wasn’t so sure when I bought it home. He wasn’t as confident as I was that Isobel would like it and he was sure Poppy or Jupiter would tear it to shreds. He hung it up in the Pencil Room (soon to be Isobel’s big girl room) anyway.

Isobel, of course, loves it, and calls it her jellyfish. As Anthony was hanging it I remarked that it looked a little like a jellyfish trailing netted tentacles and the name stuck.

Mel was going to charge 5 bucks, which is a steal compared to what she paid for it, but in the end Anthony bought her a life-sustaining toasted bagel and mango smoothie and we called it even.

Originally I just shoved some old pillows under there after Anthony hung it in place, and that was fine for awhile. But the pillows were old and gross and I decided cute pillow covers were in order. Then while thrifting I found this felted blanket lined with pom-pom trim. God, am I a sucker for pom-pom trim. It was a dollar.


A quick but thorough Etsy search revealed these two pillow covers, and I couldn’t be happier. The gorgeous brown one is from this seller, and you need to check out her shop because this pillow cover is fantastic quality, came beautifully packaged, and the seller is one of the nicest I’ve met. Also, as if that’s not enough, look at this, this, and this. Such gorgeous covers.

I bought the pink floral case from this adorable shop. How can you not love a store called pillow happy?! Impossible. I wanted cases that coordinated without matching, and I think they look perfect together. She also has some really great stuff, like this, this, and the scrabble tile cases.

I couldn’t be happier with out they turned out, especially since those pillows were so old and mangy before.

I suppose I should mention I have not been compensated for those mentions, nor do those sellers even know who I am. I just love these pillow covers, and think that you should, too. Isobel, for her part, adores them.

It’s so calm and serene in the jellyfish tent. It almost makes me forget about the chaos just outside it.

The Little Big Shop: Autumn Collection

13 Oct

Even though the weather only occasionally agrees with me, fall is indeed here and I am excited to announce the first collection from the Little Big shop on Etsy: The Autumn Collection. I’ve been selling vintage items online through my show for awhile but what I have been looking forward to is featuring collections based on a specific theme. Fall is one of my favorite times of year and this collection features my love autumnal brass, rich leather, and owls.

Three brass leaves have an earthy patina and come ready to hang on the wall.

This brass lotus plate would make a stunning centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table. It has a natural patina from age but could be easily polished to a golden shine.

This adjustable brass necklace is the perfect accessory for going out or just going to the store, and would make a great addition to a Cleopatra or Egyptian-themed Halloween costume. A little polish and it would also shine brightly.

I love this avocado green set of Japanese ceramic mugs. They are perfect for cider or hot chocolate.

The design is really lovely and they are in great shape.

Perfect for a fall picnic.This supple steer-hide camera case is also a perfect purse. I use a vintage camera case for my purse except it has a zipper. I took this case for a test drive and the snap closure on this case was much more convenient than the zip-top of my case. The leather is thick and lovely.

This adorable owl statue is actually an unopened Avon perfume bottle. I have the box it came in and it’s lovely, too.

It would look great on a desk or bookshelf.

This brass leaf plate is thick and solid and heavy. It would be great as a dish to serve nuts or candy or to hold your necklaces and bracelet.

I love the way it looks with the lotus plate.

The details on it are lovely.

This jewelry box was made in Japan but it looks like it comes straight from a fairytale.

Instead of a lid that lifts up it has two drawers that slide out. It would make a charming gift for someone expecting a girl.

These plaid glasses are already up in the shop, but I had to include them in the fall set.

I haven’t seen suncatchers like this in awhile.

Two perfect owl trivets or wall decor.

Owl napkin holder could also hold letters, cards, or papers on a desk.

This handpainted owl plaque is so cute.

My friend Stefanie gave me this vintage suede and faux-fur rust colored coat for the shop. It’s completely gorgeous and perfect for fall.

It’s a little large for me so I’ll need to get sizing information. But it’s really stunning.

It’s lined with a silky burnt-orange material.

Finally I found this vintage owl wall hanging and candle sconce. I believe they were originally gold or another color and their previous owner painted them a shiny, lacquered black. Perfect for Halloween.

The candle sconce is a nice large size and would look good as a seasonal decoration or out all year round.

I have a whole closet of thrifted items awaiting their turn in the shop. Stop by the shop to check it out. Thanks for looking!

Thrift Store Score: Autumn Collection

9 Oct

Normally I post a recent Thrift Store Score on Saturdays, but today I am working on getting a special Autumn Collection up in my shop. I hope to feature about 15 autumn-inspired thrifted pieces of decor and servingware and clothing. I have a baby shower to go to in the early afternoon but after that I’m planning a special photoshoot for this collection.

Welcome, fall. I missed you.

Thrift Store Score: Enamel Clock

18 Sep

This vintage clock was made in Japan and it looks like it was set into a enamel-coated metal plate. It’s from the 60s or 70s.

Before I list it in the shop I’m going to put a battery in it to be sure it works. I wouldn’t want to sell anyone a broken clock.

I’m really hoping it does work, though because this would be the perfect accessory for someone’s kitchen or office. Look for it in the shop soon.

Sharing the Crafty Love

18 Aug

Before Isobel was born I indulged both my love of crafts and my love of organizing by creating closet dividers for the multitude of tiny pink garments we were receiving by the truckload. The project ended up taking up much more time and effort than I had originally planned, but I was fueled by the nesting urge and once I started there was no stopping me.

It was so much work I wanted to share the process with others who might be trying to create the same thing so that they could learn from my mistakes. You can find the tutorial here along with a handy-dandy door hanger template I made in Photoshop.

After reading the tutorial, head on over to Mommypalooza to see her back-to-school closet dividers for her two sons that share a closet. She’s used my template to create her own version and I’m happy she’s found a way to utilize the project that doesn’t involve hours and hours of cutting and laminating and cutting. Because seriously, that was a lot of work.  (That no one forced me to do.)

(Besides myself.)

(Because I was crazy.)

(And pregnant.)

(I’m not longer one of those things, by the way.)

(I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one.)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what do to with these when I don’t need them anymore. I put so much work into these things I can’t fathom throwing them away. I thought about selling them but let’s face it, they are used and could be sturdier. If I’m still blogging by the time I’m ready to pass these suckers down I’ll probably have a giveaway for them, so if you’ve always wanted the closet dividers without all the work, stay tuned.

Thrifted Home Tour: The Bedroom

7 Aug

Today is the day I plan to make good on my promise to post a Thrifted Home Tour to feature examples of thrifted home décor throughout my house. Some of the stuff in the photos I’m just ‘trying out’ for the Little Big shop and you’ll see it in Etsy soon. Anthony’s convinced I’m going to get too attached and not be able to let some of it go, but he’s wrong! I, uh, just haven’t gotten around to listing it yet. Yeah.

Anyway, I think thrifting is far and away the best way to decorate a house. As I mentioned earlier, it’s kind to the environment, creative and unique, and often times much less expensive. Trolling thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets is a hobby and obsession of mine. Over the years I’ve found enough goodies to decorate my entire house and then some. Let’s start the tour off with the bedroom, shall we?

First off I must apologize for the quality of these photos. Our master bedroom gets fabulous light from about five o’clock to seven o’clock May through June. The rest of the year it’s as bright as cave. I cranked the ISO way up so the pictures would at least turn out, but the sacrifice is quality.

Here we have our bed decked out with vintage pillows and linens. Finding thrifted linens that you like, in good condition, the proper size for your bed, and at an affordable price is a challenge. I will let you in on a little bedding secret, though: if you drool over the fancy crocheted and knitted blankets on etsy, but can’t afford the price tag, you’re not out of luck. Lots of people undervalue their grandma’s knitted Afghans and crocheted throws. Instead of keeping them they take them to Goodwill. A gorgeous blanket that would cost upwards of a hundred dollars on etsy will cost you far less in a thrift store. Lucky you for finding an under-appreciated blanket!  Now, I’m not advocating not shopping at etsy, on the contrary, I fully support the goods of handmade artisans. I just can’t always afford them.

I’m particularly happy with how my bedside table is looking these days. I frequent a Catholic thrift store run by the nicest volunteers. When I came upon this Madonna-esque picture Isobel was still a newborn and it pulled at my heart strings. I know it’s meant as religious art, but each time I look at the lovely blue illustration I just think of that sweet feeling of Isobel resting her tiny head on me. The candle holders were a thrilling score and the vintage peacock perfume holder? Icing on the cake.

Anthony’s side of the bed is less thrifted-oriented, featuring a giant d20, a vase my friend Jenn gave me ages ago, and a thrifted copy of Stranger in a Strange Land that Anthony has finished reading by now.

I spent many, many hours in this thrifted chair, nursing and rocking Isobel and looking out the window while I waited for sleep. In fact, looking at that chair is making me kind of sleepy. The Afghan is from my grandma (appreciated!), the bird’s nest wreath was from the dollar store, and the needlework owls and vintage candle holder I just adore. The magazine holder and throws are thrifted.

Next to the bed sits a very old thrifted garbage can from the 60s and a set of vintage suitcases. I used them recently on our trip to Santa Cruz but I love the way they look so I leave them out to enjoy. Our crappy dresser from Target is next to the suitcases. I really don’t like it but I haven’t found anything better while thrifting yet.

Above the dresser is an adorable thrifted pair of needlework mushrooms (heart!) and vintage plastic floral wall décor that I just love. I really feel like I’m not done with this wall yet, but I’m okay leaving it like this till I find the perfect treasure.

I’m quite proud of the arrangement on top of the dresser. Just about everything is thrifted. I miraculously found two vintage milk glass initial mugs with Anthony’s and my initials on them and put them on a monkey pod wooden tray. I added delicate silver shamrock dishes (I usually set my wedding ring or nose ring in them), a vintage frame with an enlarged photobooth photo, and two vintage glass jars. One jar contains a lock of Isobel’s infant hair and one holds treasures from some of my favorite places: shells, acorns, rocks, bits of driftwood. The non-thrifted parts are the DND scrabble pin I bought Anthony off of etsy and the Librarian pin that I wear when I want to feel fancy.

Next to the wooden tray I have one of my most prized thrifted finds: carved agate mushroom bookends. When I found them I died and went to heaven. For reals.

On the other side of the bed I have a large wooden trunk that I inherited from my Nana. It’s still mostly full of family memorabilia. On top of that I have a vintage shopping basket stacked with yarn (some of it thrifted! I took advantage of someone’s de-stashing efforts), a thrifted silver tray, silver Indian bowl, vintage brass pitcher, thrifted silver frame with disgruntled baby Isobel photo, and some miniature silver Viking ships that were my Grandma’s. If there’s one thing I learned from taking photos of my house it’s that I have a slight Viking theme that I was previously unaware of.

The striking black and white sails painting was picked up for five dollars and the framed marigold painting cost ten. The silver cat silhouette was originally a weird yellow color and housed a painting of a duck. I spray-painted the frame silver and created this silhouette of a photo of my beloved Tinkerbell in Photoshop. She used to be the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning. Now she still is. The metal green lamp in the corner? Thrifted for thirty bucks. I may have started babbling with joy when I found it.

The only other thing I really have out in the room is a large mirror that used to belong to a dresser but functions perfectly for me as a stand-alone mirror. I keep a lot of stuff in my closet and bathroom that I will show later. I really hope that more people discover the joy of thrifted décor and if you have any questions, please add them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Little Big Shop Update

29 Jun

I am bouncing in my chair right now as I type this (hasn’t hurt my accuracy none, 70 wpm HOLLA!) because I am so excited. I’m excited whenever I have a moment to work on adding stuff to the shop, but I am doubly excited because I have another sale. I’m not surprised that these plates sold, rather, I’m more surprised that I sold them. Because I definitely contemplated keeping them. Only my lack of storage in my toddler-filled house convinced me otherwise. Here are the gorgeous plates my friend Laurel will be recieving in a mock setting:

I hope she invites me over to eat off them (hint, hint).

Other things I added to the shop was a cafe curtain I originally intended for Isobel’s room, a delicate pink glass vase that I also thought about keeping, some adorable Malaysian bird glasses, and three vintage dishes. That I also thought about keeping.

Let me be honest: I think about keeping all of it. But some I definitely think about keeping certain items more than others.

I always envision uses for the things I find, perhaps that’s why they are so hard to let go. But I try to translate my idea to the photo so hopefully whomever purchases the item will be inspired. For example,

Vintage Desk Organizer

Jewelry holders:

Floral centerpiece:

Oh, and last shop update I totally forgot to talk about the Egyptian themed-vase, which a kind commenter pointed out was a vintage Jim Beam bottle.

Baby is due back from Grandma’s so I’m going to wrap this up. I’m super, super excited to reveal Round 2 of the Little Big Shop. Believe me, my sister’s bedroom is still full of stuff I need to photograph and list, so there’s more where this came from!