Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thrift Shopping 101

Since I'm a dork and don't really feel like uploading pictures, I got the silly idea to do a little Thrift Shopping 101 course. I'll put all my tips and you can leave your tips in the comments!

I hear a lot of people say they don't have time to search through everything at thrift stores...especially when it comes to clothing. Well, since I'm slightly obsessed with buying used clothes I've learned some things to speed up the process to show that, yes, you can shop at a thrift store quickly AND efficiently!
I've had periods in my life where I'll go to Goodwill once a week when I'm really
looking for things for the me or the kids. Lately it's been more like once a month. One thing that I
always check out is their jeans. Of the 3 pairs of jeans I actually wear 2 are from Goodwill. Nice jeans from Goodwill? You bet! Here's the trick: do not spend your precious minutes looking through every single pair and looking at every single size. It will wear you out, completely frustrate you, and you'll just stop and leave empty handed. The best way to shop for jeans is to use your pretty little eyes and look only for the type of denim you like. Don't like acid wash? Then don't waste your time looking at it! I spend just a few minutes each time looking only at the shade of denim, then only if I like the shade of denim do I look at the tag, and only if it's my size do I try them on. And yes, you do need to try them on. No returns, people.
I don't find jeans very often that work for me, but I at least don't waste a lot of time looking at them. And when you do find a pair for under $6? Well, I'd say it's worth it! I've heard once you try on a designer pair of jeans you'll never go back so I'd like to declare here and now I will never try on a designer pair of jeans.
Over and Out.
Unless I find them at Goodwill, that is. :)

Now when it comes to tops, I have the same approach. Most goodwills are organized by color which is pretty handy. I don't care for red tops so I don't look at the red shirts. Pretty obvious, I suppose. I also don't shop at Goodwill or other thrift stores for just a plain ol' shirt but more for something unique or vintage. I don't generally buy a Target brand shirt at Goodwill because you're not saving much money. I have found some awesome tops that are super unique, high end brands, or vintage and they are under $4. Pretty sweet. 
Again, just look through everything quickly and those funky prints will pop right out. Try things on to make sure they fit and sadly if they don't, you must put it back. I passed up an amazing $7 denim blazer at a thrift store the other day because it was too tight in the arms. That's the one big bummer about second-hand is that they don't have other sizes in the back. It's a bummer because I'm still thinking about that silly blazer and wondering if I could maybe fit into it someday. 
No, Abby. No!
Walk away.

Shoes? Eh. I never have luck with shoes because I have enormous feet. I look every now and then but generally don't waste my time.

Kids clothes. Same thing...look for uniqueness and then check out the size. I rarely find things for Henry at thrift stores because boys are pretty hard on their clothes. I do find things for Harper though. Did I ever tell you about the time I found NINE vintage little girl dresses all lined up in a row? I nearly hyperventilated and prompted to quickly grab everysingleoneofthem. At $1.69 it's a pretty good deal.

House wares. I usually have an on-going list in my head of things I need for the house yet can't justify buying them full price at the store. For example, I made french onion soup over the weekend and I don't have crock soup bowls. Do I need them? Not necessarily, but it's something I will be keeping a look out for when I'm thrifting. 
Always remember when looking through tacky, outdated decor, that things can be spray painted and turn into a super fun piece for your home. 
I also like to look through their plates for upcoming plate stand projects. 
Generally going through the housewares section is pretty quick. Everything is laid out so you don't have to dig and you either like it or you don't. And then move on.

That's all I can think of for now, but hope it shows you that you can be in and out of a thrift store quickly and efficiently. Of course I enjoy going every now and then by myself and literally looking through every single rack for fun, but honestly on those days I don't have any more success than the days when I quickly scan over everything. 
Thrifting is fun, a great way to "save" money (I mean, you're still spending money so are you technically saving money?) and it's just the thrill of the hunt.

Oh!! My best tip of all? If your children are with you, put them in the cart and go straight to the book section and let them pick out a few books to look at while you shop and then before you leave you put them back. Works like a charm every single time and I've done it enough that they've never gotten upset when we have to put them back.

What thrift store tips do you have? Please share!
Now go shopping!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Penny Table

So I saw on Pinterest, of course, a picture of a penny covered floor and loved it. Then saw someone do that on a table top and super loved it. So I got to work on this awesome sofa table a friend picked up for me off the side of the road a few years ago. At first it was black. Then this summer I painted it the same green as our kitchen island. Then last week I painted it this (slightly obnoxious) blue with a $5 gallon of paint I got at the Habitat Restore....and covered it with about $10 worth of pennies:

I used the E6000 glue I had to stick them all down and am now in the process of poly, poly, poly. I used to have a textured wall paper on top, but when I went to move the tray the other day to paint it blue, a lot of the wall paper ripped off with the tray. I super love how it turned out and I really love that you won't be able to see any wear and tear that usually comes from a painted table top. 

But the (slightly obnoxious) blue color just seemed to perfect and nice next to some beat up old pennies so I distressed the table like crazy. I sanded, rubbed on a lighter green, painted on areas of brown and rubbed that in, and sanded some more. Since the table had 3 layers of colors, it ended up with lots of colors showing through. I kind of wish I had added some shots of red here and that that would poke through...maybe I still will.

And here's the finished piece!

Covering the table with pennies was a little time consuming, but it was certainly easy and the distressing was kind of a stress re-leaser so I would say it was a quite enjoyable project.

Happy Saturday!


Friday, January 6, 2012

I've wondered how much longer it takes those big time food bloggers to prepare a meal when they are taking pictures of every single possible step of the process. I was going to try and do that for fun, but after a few photos I gave up. They must have a 3rd hand to take photos and cook? Or an assistant? Or lots of fancy equipment? All of the above? 
Anyways, here's the recipe and RJ and I loved it! The kids? Well, they ate it...eventually.
I got this package of grain-y goodness from Target the other day. It was about $6, I think, but will probably last a good 4-5 meals so not too shabby.

Saute an onion (sliced or diced) in some olive oil until nice and soft.

Add a cup of grain-y goodness (the recipe called for plain quinoa, which would also be delicious!) and toast it in the pan for about 2 minutes.

Add 2 cups of chicken broth (I was out so just used water) and 1/8 tsp of black pepper and red pepper flakes. (is anyone that exact when it comes to their seasonings? I'm not.) 
Cover and let simmer for about 15-20 or until all liquid is absorbed and grains are cooked.

Then add 4 cups of roughly chopped, fresh spinach. Cover again until spinach is wilted. Add a touch of salt of pepper if needed and enjoy!
I also did a side of sauteed carrots because I'm obsessed with carrots lately. Roasted or sauteed...I love 'em.

Serve up on a fancy, shmancy paper plate and eat away!

This was so yummy! I can't wait to make it again. The recipe is from here.
We haven't been eating healthy at all the last couple of months with traveling and holiday parties, so it felt good to finally give the fam something healthy. And tonight? We're having pepperoni pizza. I made the dough from scratch...that makes it healthy, right?!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

DIY Plate Stand

I saw this on Pinterest a while ago and have had it in my mind to do it with some of the many dishes I had collected for the plate collage I wanted to do yet changed my mind.

So I took these 3 goodies...aren't they beautiful plates?!

The best place to get plates is either at garage sale (can't wait for spring!) or a nicer thrift store. The top two I got in the basement of "Found Things" in the East Village and pretty sure they were $2 and $3 dollars. The bottom one I got at a garage sale. I've looked at Goodwill and as much as I love that place, they very very rarely have cool plates. They mostly have plates with little teddy bears and ducks and hearts.

Then you can either use little candle stick holders like this one up front (I got that one at Hobby Lobby for $2.99) and the other 3 things I already had at home. This is the part of the project that Goodwill would be perfect for but I just couldn't find any when I went. I'm sure there will be lots of little goodies like these at garage sales too!

I asked a gal at Hobby Lobby what type of glue to use and she suggested this. The overall piece seems pretty sturdy but I'm still very careful with it.

I tested it out with the little white vases first and I loved it, but it made it too tall.

But this combo I absolutely looooved:

The trickiest part is getting everything centered, otherwise it is super easy and super smelly. Once you have it glued get it out in your garage or porch...my super sensitive nose was going crazy.

This is one I made for sister-in-law for Christmas and I added a little drawer pull on the top which added a touch of funk to it and you can usually find them on sale at Hobby Lobby at some time during the month.

So there's a little DIY for your Thursday! Now go through your cupboards and pull out some pretty plates and get busy!

Linking up to Kammy's Korner Trash 2 Treasures Tuesday's!!!

Henry got to invite a few friends over for a little party for his birthday. I wasn't ready for a school-friends party yet...having a boy who has a birthday in the winter = indoor party with lots of boys = that's just not gonna work out quite yet. So I convinced him that it would be much more fun to just invite a few friends over instead and he was super excited.   I made little canvases for our guests (you can buy a 10-pack of 8x10 canves at Michael's for $20 and I used a 50% off coupon. It's a cheap way to have lots of fun!)

Millie and Ruby were the 2 girls he chose to invite. He wants to marry both of them and I'm hopeful that he actually will get to marry either one of them.

But of course the painting only took about 15 minutes and I didn't have much else planned, but found a Bingo game I had bought at Target a long time ago and the kids loved it. It was so adorable how quietly they sat  and played.

Of course he got lots of fun presents too. He's got toys to keep him entertained for a long time and got a ton of crafts projects to keep us busy for a long time too!

Life feels back to normal now except for the fact that I have a 5 YEAR old. I can not believe he is already 5! His personality stretches us...in good and bad ways....but I love that about him. When I see how particular he is about the rules and how particular he is about everything and how intense he is and how loving he is and how sensitive he is and how absolutely crazy he is, I know it's the kind of traits that will make him into a fantastic young man. I pray that he will be a great leader someday.  I pray that he will also learn to relax a bit and not sweat the small stuff so much. :) He certainly did not get any "laid back"ness from his dad and I. 

Henry Dean, I love you so much! You are simply my favorite little man of all time.
I am so thankful that God created you so uniquely and surprised us so much with your personality. Now promise me your days of being a major momma's boy are not even close to being over. Promise you will want me to cuddle with you at bedtime and and be over the moon excited every single time you see me. Okay? Okay.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

 Christmas 2011 was great.
We did a few crafts:

Opened a few presents:

I even got some super fun gifts...all from the East Village.
RJ is goooood.

I especially love this Des Moines print!!!

I got RJ a donut maker so we put it to work right away.

For our family Christmas meal I made homemade baguettes. They need some more practice, but were pretty yummy!

And a roast with olives and tomatoes:

Aaannnnd mashed potaters and roasted carrots:

It was a delightful weekend just the 4 of us! We saw RJ's family the weekend before and then my family for New Year's. I didn't really take any pictures, but did get this super sweet one of my nephew David. Isn't he squeezable?!

Now we're getting-ready-for-a-birthday mode. (I can't believe he is going to be FIVE)

Have a great week!


Related Posts with Thumbnails