Tag Archives: Thrift Store

Little Big Shop

28 Jan

Here’s what’s up in the shop:

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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.

Little Big Shop

7 Jan

Here’s what’s up in the shop.

  1. Embroidered Vintage Clutch
  2. Mid Century Mod & Folk Art Calendar Plates
  3. Sale: Georges Briard Chrysanthemum Mug
  4. Green Cloth Napkin Set
  5. Deep Brown Japanese Stoneware Mug
  6. Prairie Wall Plaque
  7. Perfect Snowflake Plate
  8. Soft Brown Butterfly Dish

I do take specific requests for custom items. If there’s something you want me to keep an eye out for while thrifting, let me know!

Best of 2011: Thrifty Living

28 Dec

These are my favorite Thrifty Living posts from 2011

Thrift Store Gore: Christmas Special

24 Dec

 “I see you when you’re sleeping. I know when you’re awake. AND ALONE.”

“Get me outta here, will ya? I have a sleigh to pull for Dick Chaney.”

“Just ate all the Sugarplum Fairies, LOL.”

“I think the baby Jesus is faaaaaaabulous!”

“Zorro made it himself!”

“You shouldn’t have bought those thigh-high boots and clown hat.”

“Yo quiero your soul.”

“Ho ho ho! Santa’s been naughty.”

“MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A BUD LIGHT!”

Thrifty Living: Christmas Finds

22 Dec

When Anthony and I lived in a one-bedroom apartment decorating for the holidays was easy. I had 500 or so square feet to work with and I Christmas’d the hell out of it. It was adorable, and when we finally bought our house I spent the first Christmas lamenting the apartment. The smallness of the space made my decorations seem much more abundant and adorable then they actually were. Which is why I spend time each year scouring thrift stores for decorations to add to my meager holiday stash.

Just like for Halloween decorations, Christmas decorations are abundant in thrift stores this time of year. My favorite charity shop is now selling all Christmas-related items at half off since in a few days they’ll have to pack it all up and store it away for next year.

Unlike Halloween decorations, the Christmas goodies you find while thrifting can be quite old and wonderful. Or not, such as the mess in the photo above. I bought that for a quarter while thrifting, and for a very special reason.

These adorable Italian mushrooms.

They have a wreath with their name on them. Or something else. I haven’t really decided. But the rest of the centerpiece wasn’t wasted. Zorro and Isobel spent a two full days entertaining themselves with it. After that I boxed up the rest of the holly sprigs that I thought I might use later and donated or threw away the rest.

I found this vintage place mat illustrated with hand drawn holiday decorations. Actually I found a whole set of them, but I’m keeping two. Isobel is kind of obsessed with her vintage dinosaur place mat right now so this mat is usually ignored, but I bet she’ll dig it next year.

I just found this crocheted decoration that’s hanging on my wall as is right now but I might turn it into a photo frame or add some more bells to it.

I have my grandmother’s angel chimes (the traditional kind, with angels instead of a carousel theme) but I always buy angel chimes whenever I find them. I love them and have found it’s useful to keep a couple sets around in case I lose a piece I have a spare. The cats go wild for them, though, so I have to keep them up high and mostly out of sight. I know people say that once you have kids you can’t have nice things, but really that applied to us before we had Isobel because we had cats.

You’ve seen these angels before, but I just had to show them off again. They are my favorite Christmas find this year.

In the same vein of the weird centerpiece in the photo above, I bought this Christmas mess for the parts. I love the holly sprigs and I managed to detach the apples and strawberries for Isobel’s Thrifted Kitchen. I’m using the extra pieces of greenery with birds attached to decorate wrapped Christmas presents. It also has fake plastic popcorn on this, which I’ve never seen before and is kind of hilarious.

But mostly I bought this basket for the teeny tiny mushrooms dotting the display. I pulled those off before Isobel could get to them and used the wire part to attach them to the small silver Christmas tree I used to put up at work.

New favorite ornaments.

Isobel was pretty stoked when I found these guys. It’s pretty obvious they’ve had a few owners. Modeled after these vintage characters that show up again and again in holiday decor of a certain era, these two characters had recently been abused by someone who really fugged them up.

Mrs. Frosty’s hat, candy cane, and scarf were removed and replaced and it took me awhile to pry the hideous buttons of both of them. Eventually I’m gong to repaint them and restore them to their former glory. But for now they’re hanging out on my porch.

Little Big Shop Sale!

17 Dec

Here’s what’s up in the shop!

Recent Additions to the Little Big Shop:

Embroidered Vintage Clutch, granny chic.

Daisy Wall Plaque, your bathroom needs this.

Thrift Store Gore – White Elephant Gift Exchange Gifts:

(Confused about this section of the store? This should clear it up.)

Frightening Anne Geddes Bear.

Handcrafted Abalone Lamp.

Instructional Romance Book.

Speaking of the Grandchildren Photo Album.

Burned Down Schoolhouse Commemorative Plate.

Remember! Lucky buyers of Thrift Store Gore will get a photo of drunk Santa for your troubles. Someone’s been naughty this year! SPOILER ALERT: It’s Santa.

Little Big Shop Sale Items:

Designer Chrysanthemum Mug, price lowered by $6.00!

Vintage Baby Book, price lowered by $10.00!

Copper Parthenon Ashtray, price lowered by $6.00!

Vintage Glass Storage Jars, price lowered by $10.00!

Keep checking back as I’m adding more items all the time! Sale ends in a week or so or when I remember to change it back.

Thrifty Living: 12 Creative, Thrifty Ways to Wrap Gifts

6 Dec

Here are my favorite creative and thrifty ways to wrap presents for the holidays. Have an idea? Add yours in the comments.

1. Stock up on thrifted tins. I always check out tins while thrifting and stock up for the holidays. For a quarter I can buy a unique way to wrap a gift that can then be reused and repurposed later.

2. Use colorful paper bags and printable gift tags. When I still worked at the library I did a whole lot of gift-giving: coworkers, office staff, friends and student aides all got gifts from me. The cheapest way to wrap these gifts turned out to be colorful paper bags and ribbon from the craft store plus printable gift tags that I made myself. This was the perfect way to distribute baked goods and they looked so cheerful. Free printable gift tags can be found all over the web, but my favorites are found here.

3. Wrap an ugly box collage-style. I bought a lovely necklace for my MIL one year and of course the only box I could find to put it in said something dumb on it. I used a page out of a magazine to cover the top of the box and glued origami paper to the sides and it was transformed. She ended up loving the box as much as the necklace.

4. Try fabric scraps and yarn. One year I ran out of wrapping paper altogether so I raided my fabric stash and found this vintage green cotton fabric I found while thrifting. I was able to secure this fabric with scotch tape even though it was a decently heavy weight.  Wrap as you would normally for wrapping paper, add some yarn, and you’re good to go.

5. Embellish a plain gift bag. I can’t remember if this bag was plain or if it had a logo in the middle, but either way it benefited from some scraps from my collage file.

6. Reuse a pretty jar. I save jars like this throughout the year because I like to give spiced nuts and candy at Christmas. If your jar is pretty enough, only a ribbon is needed, though you can always paint the lid.

7. Use sheet music instead of wrapping paper. I have lots of musician friends so I had the idea to wrap their gifts in sheet music. I happened to have sheet music lying around, so I made copies of it specifically to use for wrapping. Collage paper, doilies, and some pink yarn finished it off.

8. Wrap with tissue paper and add a colorful bow. Many times the tissue paper is lovely enough to use as wrapping. I keep a few spools of colorful ribbon on hand for wrapping. I get it when it goes on clearance at the craft store.

9. Use a small piece of fancy paper for accent. A very creative friend of mine made me a necklace and sent it to me in this lovely packaging. I like how she decorated a plain box by adding a strip of fancy paper around it. I bet the sheet of paper was pricey, but using it sparingly makes it last.

10. Reuse a gift bag. I saved so many gift bags from our baby showers that I finally had to go through our gift bags and get rid of some. I didn’t throw them out, though! I donated them to Goodwill. Speaking of, you can find all sorts of lovely gift bags at good will for cheap.

11. Just add a huge bow. Sometimes one large statement is all you need.

12. Add a creative card. I don’t recommend giving tequila for every occasion, but in this case a lime made the perfect card.

Thrifty Living: Thrifty Tips and Recent Scores

5 Dec

Some thrifty things I’ve been doing to save money:

* During the morning and early afternoon I try to find some excuse to use my oven: drying herbs, toasting nuts, roasting potatoes, whatever. I can keep the thermostat down a few notches because the heat from the oven will keep the kitchen toasty while at the same time making something tasty for later.

* I’ve also pulled out my stack of crocheted blankets from the linen closet and just keep them on the couch. When one of us gets cold I insist we put on a blanket or a sweater before we turn up the heat. They look lovely in a pile and are more likely to get used when I keep them out.

* I tried the no-heat curl method to try a new look. I already had the hairband so trying this was free!

* I’ve been using the library a whole lot more. This option should be obvious after working in a library for eight years, but since we also had Anthony’s Borders discount, and since discovering the handiness of reading ebooks via the iPhone, I stopped checking books out of the library. I still went to the library–I mean, between my mother and I Isobel’s been to every story time available since she was a year old. But we’d leave when story time was over. Now I stay and make sure I have new additions to both my and Isobel’s bookshelves every week.

* I don’t have a lot of pairs of pants. Since losing over 20lbs due to my time on the elliptical and the debilitating panic attacks I really only have two pairs of pants that fit. One of them has stylish (or so I tell myself) holes worn in the knees from constant use. I can’t afford to go clothes shopping but I did have enough to buy a few pairs of colorful tights. I love the way they add a pop of color to my outfits while keeping me warm and extending the life of my jeans.

* I’m being pretty strict about our one napkin and one rag per day and I’ve been trying to expand this rule to cups and plates, too. This is an excellent way to save water and saves me a lot of work in the dishes and laundry department. Score!

* I haven’t been doing any major thrifting because I’m still in the midst of my giant Etsy storage and reorganization project, but I’ve stopped off yard sales and a thrift store here or there over the past month and these photos are some of the things I’ve picked up: a colorful crocheted poncho for Isobel, pegasus and unicorn mugs for me (and Anthony, if he’s so inclined), and some lovely wooden hangers covered with a delicate web of crocheted threads. These were obviously handmade and came from an estate sale. I wish more people would learn how to do this because it’s gorgeous and I’m afraid it’s a dying art. I got all six hangers for a dollar. Can you even imagine how long it must have taken to make these?

Anybody doing anything differently to save money? This time of year I could use all the help I can get.

Little Big Shop: White Elephant Extravaganza

1 Dec

This year many of you will be invited to holiday parties in which you will be required to bring a gift of questionable taste. Although terms vary from place to place, this is generally what’s known as a White Elephant Gift Exchange. A good friend of mine has participated in such an exchange with her siblings for many years, and each year they try to outdo each other by finding the most ridiculous, most ludicrous gift of them all.

Perhaps you have been invited to such a get together? If so, do I have the Thrift Store Gore for you.

Yes, I’ve seen some pretty awful things in thrift stores over the years. Adult-sized Spiderman Underoos. A luncheon with a cheetah. Whatever this is. But now, dear readers, you can own a piece of Thrift Store Gore history. I have assembled some of my weirdest finds so you can become Queen (or King, we don’t hate) of the Gift Exchange.

These last few months have been spent tracking down the weirdest thrifted items to ensure only the most tasteless and uniquely terrible gift giving possible.

How about a decorative plate, commemorating different school houses that burned down?

Or a  book called “Wild Animals at Home,” a primitive predecessor of LOLCATS, in which someone took photos of animals at the zoo and then wrote offensive, and at times, horribly sexist, captions underneath them.

The author thinks animals really hate Democrats.

It’s a fun read for the kids! (Not really!)

I’m pretty taken with this handcrafted abalone lamp sombody’s cracked-out uncle cobbled together from a sea shell, a light socket, and an electrical cord. Bonus: it might be a fire hazard!

Years ago my friend Stefanie and I found a book called “I Can’t Think Of A Thing To Say!” while thrifting. It gives all sorts of advice on what to say to that boss hunk with the parachute pants.

The inside cover says “Especially for Girls.” It looks like Kotex packaging.

For those with crazy parents, who wouldn’t want to give them a “SPEAKING OF THE GRANDCHILDREN” photo album from 1970? (My mom thought this was a great idea, actually. But since she has only one grandchild I’d have to fill the rest of the album with cat photos.)

Last but not certainly not least, I found a creepy Anne Geddes doll that suggests she may be into furries. Give this to that extra irritating coworker who belches loudly and smells of Redbull, powdered donuts, and hopelessness.

But wait, there’s more! The first customer to purchase something from this section of my shop will get this slightly disturbing sheet of vintage wrapping paper free:

It’s a little crinkled so I’m not selling it, although it’s definitely weird enough to qualify as Thrift Store Gore.

Those of you who’ve purchased from me before know that each order comes with a photo thank you card and these gifts are no exception. Lucky buyers of Thrift Store Gore will get a photo of drunk Santa for your troubles. Someone’s been naughty this year! SPOILER ALERT: It’s Santa.

Stop by the shop and visit the Post-Cyber-Monday Sale, and pick up some Thrift Store Gore while you’re at it. Because you are never too old to be eaten by an Anne Geddes bear.