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Archive for July, 2011

 

My Top 10 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping (Fashion Edition)

 

  1.  Scope out the area.  If you are looking for brand names and designer tags shop at thrift stores in high-income areas.  One of my favorite thrift stores to shop at for clothing is in a neighborhood with million dollar homes nearby.  These ladies like to stay up with the latest trends and often donate gently used items after just one season.  If you are a teen or college student wanting to find younger styles, shop at thrift stores near college campuses.  When students move around they’re always “lightening the load”.  Also, if you love more of the retro, vintage fashions, shop near retirement communities.  My grandma used to take me into “Sals” (her nickname for Salvation Army) near her retirement community and we always found some amazing vintage stuff!
  2. Don’t go with a plan.  Thrifting is about the journey so ditch the plan and enjoy the surprise finds.  Hire a babysitter (kids are the biggest thrifting buzz kill), and block out an afternoon for thrifting fun.  Plan on perusing and don’t be focused on a specific item or you might be disappointed (thrifting is a hit or miss) and you might miss out on all the other great stuff hiding on the racks.
  3. Be dressed for success. Wear leggings and a tank top under a loose fitting tunic or dress for quick changes.  Often the dressing rooms are in shambles (doors don’t lock, stuff everywhere, etc.) or they’re just full so trying on stuff in the aisles may be necessary.  If you’re trying on shoes, nylon booties should be worn to prevent any yuckies from transferring to your little feet. 
  4. Go alone.  This may sound greedy but I like to do my thrifting alone.  I can move faster and I don’t have to fight over my great finds with anyone!  The worst feeling is to stare down your friend over a vintage Valentino scarf that’s going for 50 cents!
  5. Thrift on weekdays.  Hit up your thrift stores on a weekday afternoon if possible.  Weekends tend to get CRAZY and the extra people leave chaos in their wake.  Thrifting takes a lot of time and patience to sort through all the “rough” to find those “diamonds” and the rush of weekends can feel nerve-wracking and force you to walk out empty-handed or with a bunch of stuff you don’t really like.  Also, typically thrift stores run their specials on weekdays so call ahead or check online if you want to get a double-steal.
  6. Examine items carefully.  Before you try things on examine each item carefully for any rips, frays, missing buttons, stains, pit marks, or other blemishes.  But keep in mind some of these things can be easily fixed so don’t be too discriminating if you really love something and it’s a great price.  I have bought quite a few brand-name shirts and cardigans that have simply had missing buttons.  Also, if you find an issue you’re confident can be fixed, haggle!  They very well could knock even more off the price for “damaged” items.
  7. Bring cash.  Some thrift stores don’t accept checks and credit cards so bring cash if you’re unsure of the stores policy.  Also, dealing in cash will help you stick to a budget because it’s like my husband says, “A great price still ain’t FREE!”. J
  8. Create a clothing FLOW in your closet.  To cut down on a cluttered and overflowing closet, prior to thrifting, go through your clothes and find items that you don’t wear anymore (come on, you don’t REALLY wear those tie-dyed t’s anymore).  Bag them and bring them with you to donate.  Not only does this help the “circle of clothing life” but it will open up space for your new stuff.
  9. GET CREATIVE!  Develop an eye for repurposing and upcycling.  For example, you like the print on a dress but hate the shoulder pads and weird neckline.  Can you cut in off at the waist and make it into a skirt?  Or what about those espadrilles with the broken buckle?  Can you swap out the buckle for ribbon ties?  These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself all through your thrifting journey.  But keep in mind there is a cap on how much work you want to be doing for the price.  A $10 dress isn’t really a $10 dress when you put $20 extra of new notions and fabric to it and 18 hours of extra work.  There are plenty of FANTASTIC resources for ideas on repurposing and upcycling clothing.  Here are a few I found just to get the wheels turning:  http://craftingagreenworld.com/2008/05/23/girl-reconstructed-upcycling-old-clothes

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?board=8.0             http://www.youtube.com/user/ThreadBanger

http://nikkishell.typepad.com/wardroberefashion/

http://refashionco-op.blogspot.com/

http://www.restylistas.com/

http://sewknitme.blogspot.com/

http://km-17.blogspot.com/2010/07/avec-2-chemises-dhomme.html

http://mytwobutterflies.blogspot.com/2011/03/spring-cardigan.html

http://thethriftstoreeducator.blogspot.com/

http://cottonandcurls.blogspot.com/

       10.  HAVE FUN!!!  Enjoy the journey and have fun!  Try on all kinds of things that you wouldn’t normally pick and think outside of the box.  Oh and DO NOT miss out on the accessories!  Purses, scarves, hats, jewelry, belts… you can find some amazing things!  And DON’T FORGET, when you get home with all your new finds, always wash before you wear and spray any shoes with disinfectant spray.

 

HAPPY THRIFTING!!


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My littlest boy turned 1 on Friday and I just can’t believe that an entire year has already come and gone since I had him!  It is a mean joke that pregnancy feels like forever but baby-hood goes by in a snap!

I have been working my big post-pregnancy-number-two butt off trying to get back into shape since I had the little guy.  My goal was to be back to my old self by the time he turned a year old.  I’ve learned since making that goal that there is no such thing as getting “back to my old self” and that parts of my body have fallen under the category “casualties of people making”.  Something that I’m trying my best to accept and work with.  *Sigh*.  Anyway, I HAVE managed to get back into my pre-Sawyer size very comfortably and have lost all but a few pesky pounds of my baby weight.  So, in honor of Sawyer’s birthday, I decided to give myself a Happy Birthing Day present and take myself out for an afternoon of thrifting for new threads.  A neighbor friend of mine was kind enough to watch the boys and I literally skipped to the car to go on my thrifty little way.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve been thrifting without kids.  I love it more than I’d love a day at the spa I think (but I can’t say for sure since I’ve never had a day at the spa…maybe for next years Happy Birthing Day gift…).

I made my way to a newer Goodwill about 15 minutes from my house to see what I could find.  I spent 3 hours of so rummaging through all the racks and aisles and tried on a billion different things.  It is the thrill of the HUNT that I love so much.  I love that thrifting is like a giant grab bag and you never know what amazing things you’ll find.  And man, I found some GREAT stuff on this trip!  Happy Birthing Day to me! 🙂

Here are a few of the things I found:

This AMAZING black and white pencil skirt by Ann Taylor.  This thing still had the tag on it (priced at $108)!  I got it for $7!!! YAY! I love the print and the pockets.  I also found this cute little black velvet corset top.  I thought it would be really cute under a jacket or over a plain white tshirt.  So fun.

I also found this fabulous vintage red pencil skirt.  It is kind of a linen-ish material and bright red.  I love it with this teal lightweight sweater I found (Gap).  The skirt was $7 and the shirt was $5.

Then I came across this vintage-ish featherweight floral dress.  So Anthropologie.  I LOVE it.  It was only $10.

Then I found these earrings in a basket at the checkout for $1 a pair.

I also found an adorable short and full navy and white plaid skirt with pockets ($7), a couple of great navy shirts to go with it ($5 each), another charcoal button-down highwaisted pinstriped skirt ($7), a long white beachy cotton skirt ($7), a pair of amazing Seven jeans ($8), and an adorable pair of wide leg trouser jeans ($8), not to mention a couple of toys for the boys.  It was a perfect thrifting afternoon of loveliness.

🙂

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OK!  Did you have fun with the last tutorial?  Are you ready for another cute little design?  Lets dive right in then shall we!

Cost: $6 or so

Supplies:

  • Access to a computer that has the internet and your fabulously creative mind.
  • Something to stick your design on when your done (shirt, bag, burp cloth, pillow, etc.)
  • Printable cotton sheet(s).  The one I used is from Walmart and madeAvery.  You can get a pack of 3 sheets (the size of standard computer paper) for around $6.  I made 8 t-shirt appliques out of the 3 sheets.
  • Scizzors
  • Thread and sewing machine.  (Don’t worry, this is super beginner seamstress stuff.)
  • An iron.

1.  The first thing you want to do is get online and go to www.picnik.com.  If you don’t already have an account create one now for free or buy the premium version.  You will only need the free version for this tutorial.

2.  Next find your file “blank white” that you have saved to your computer from previous tutorials (c’mon, I have to just assume that you have done EVERY tutorial on my blog by now right?! :) ) or just simply google “blank white” and save a blank white jpeg file to your computer.  Then upload the “blank white” file to picnik.  It will then pop up under the “Edit”tab.  Here you can resize it or rotate it if you need to.

3.  Next head over to the “Create” tab and find the “Text” button there.

4.  In the text box start typing the alphabet, 4 letters per line.  Use “COURIER NEW” font.  Leave the font color black and size the text to fit your blank image well.

5.  Now determine what word(s) you would like to “hide” within the alphabet.  Since I am using this to make sibling shirts I used “BIG BRO” for mine.  Figure out where you’d like to hide your words.  This works best if you hide your words in place of a letter that falls correctly within the alphabet.  For example, I kept the letter “I” in the appropriate placement within the alphabet and put “B” and “G” around it.  Once you determine where you’d like your words, go back to the text box and replace those letters with spaces.
6.  Click out of that text and add new text in the text box.  Since my “B” in “BIG” fell on a different line as the “IG” I had to add the “B” separately than the “IG”.  Also, change the color of this text to something that will stand out from the rest of the alphabet.  Resize your text to fit the size of the alphabet text.
7.  And thats pretty much the design!  I also decided to fill in the gap at the end of the alphabet after the “YZ” with a cute little graphic just to add something fun and make the entire design uniform.  To do this I just went to the “Stickers” tab and found “Common Symbols”.  I like the truck and the car graphic and added that to the end in the same color as the hidden words.
8.  And thats pretty much the design!  Customize it as you see fit or just use my templates to make your own sibling shirts.  At this point you want to save this design to your computer and the click “Continue Editing” in picnik if you’d like to change the “BIG” to “LIL” or whatnot.
9.  Now, to print this off on your printable cotton, open up a print layout program on your computer and size these and lay them out the way you’d like.  I sized the “lil bro” design a bit smaller than the “big bro” design because my son’s shirts aren’t the same size.  When it seems to be how it needs to be print out your designs on printable cotton.
10.  Cut around your design and following the directions on the printable cotton packaging, iron them in place on your t-shirt (or item of choice).

11.  If you’re not keen on sewing you could be done at this point but I’m not sure how well the applique will hold up to washing.  I simply sewed quickly around the edges to secure it.

And thats it!  Have fun with this design and customize it all you want!

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I’m finally forcing myself to get around to doing a cute“Big Sis” “Lil Sis” tshirt project I’ve been meaning to do for a friend of ours who had twin girls a while back.   Anyway, this is kind of going to be the first tutorial of 3;  the first one being on how to create this “I love my ____button” using (my favorite) Picnik, the second tutorial will be on how to create a custom “alphabet” design with hidden words, and the third is going to be on how to create a funky eye-chart “I love my _____” design.  After I made these I realized that I just did all the work for you anyway (you’re welcome) and that you could just use my templates to print out yourselves as is.  But, I figured I’d do the tutorials anyway so that you can really customize them to your liking.  For example, with this design you could create it yourself in Picnik and change it to “I love my dog”, or “I love chocolate”  or whatever you think you love.  Or you could even get really personal and use someones name.  So, here you go!  Have fun customizing these designs all you want and appliqueing them to anything that tickles your fancy!  This is going to change your life.  Okay, well maybe not, but it will open up a lot of options for creating one-of-a-kind custom shirts, bags, pillows, whatever!  Are you intrigued?  Good.  Lets get this party started.

Cost: $6 or so

Supplies:

  • Access to a computer that has the internet and your fabulously creative mind.
  • Something to stick your design on when your done (shirt, bag, burp cloth, pillow, etc.)
  • Printable cotton sheet(s).  The one I used is from Walmart and made Avery.  You can get a pack of 3 sheets (the size of standard computer paper) for around $6.  I made 8 t-shirt appliques out of the 3 sheets.
  • Scizzors
  • Thread and sewing machine.  (Don’t worry, this is super beginner seamstress stuff.)
  • An iron.

1.  The first thing you want to do is get online and go to www.picnik.com.  If you don’t already have an account create one now for free or buy the premium version.  You will only need the free version for this tutorial.

2.  Next find your file “blank white” that you have saved to your computer from previous tutorials (c’mon, I have to just assume that you have done EVERY tutorial on my blog by now right?! 🙂 ) or just simply google “blank white” and save a blank white jpeg file to your computer.  Then upload the “blank white” file to picnik.  It will then pop up under the “Edit”tab.  Here you can resize it or rotate it if you need to.

3.  Now click on the “Create” tab at the top of the screen.  Then click on the “Stickers” tab.  Find “Geometric” in the left sidebar.  Click on the black circle and drag it and size it on your blank image.

4.  Next, grab another circle except now change the color of it to white and size it in the middle of the black circle to leave a circular black frame.

5.  Now, click on the “Text” tab at the top of the screen.  In the text box type “I (spacebar several times) my” and then apply it in the font of your choice.  I chose “Epilog”.  Then you can resize it and position it at the top center of your circle.

6.  Next, in the text box type “BIG SIS” (or Bro) or NewYork or RockyRoad or whatever you’d like to “love”.  Apply that and resize  and center it underneath the previous text.  I made my “BIG SIS” larger than my “I       my”.

7.  Almost done!  Now just go back to the “Stickers” tab and find the “Hand Drawn Hearts” tools and find a heart.  Drag and resize the heart to fit in between the “I” and the “my” text.

8.  And there you go!  You’ve made a super cute “I Love my BIG SIS” design to applique to your little ones t-shirt!  Now just save it to your computer and then go back in and click “Continue Editing” in picnik to swap out the “BIG” with“LIL'”.  Then save it again to your computer as a seperate file name and open them both up in a print layout program.

9.  Once you’ve arranged them in your print layout and have them sized how you’d like, print them out on a sheet of your printable cotton (follow the directions in the packaging).

10.  Cut around your design and following the directions on the printable cotton packaging, iron them in place on your t-shirt (or item of choice).

11.  If you’re not keen on sewing you could be done at this point but I’m not sure how well the applique will hold up to washing.  I simply sewed quickly around the edges to secure it.

And DONE!  Easy breezy!  Oh, and I also added some little bows out of scrap fabric for the twins’ shirts and then made a couple for my boys as well.  Here are the boys designs in case you just want to use mine instead of creating your own:

I loved how these turned out and hope you do too and go make your own!  You could use this design for SO many things!  Baby shower gifts, father’s day/mother’s day gifts, Valentine’s day gifts, wedding/engagement gifts, etc… Get creative with this!  The possibilities are literally endless!

Here are some sneak previews of the next tutorial…

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I’ve been gone again for a while I know.  I appreciate you waiting patiently anyway though (I write with hopefulness that anyone actually eagerly awaits my new posts).  It is not because I don’t love my blog or crafting, its just because I have been keeping 2 crazy little boys alive, editing about a billion photos from various photo shoots, and entertaining family, among other things like the usual relentless laundry, dishes, shopping, etc.  Anyway, enough excuses.  I’m not going to promise to be better because I’ll just end up feeling guilty for not being better.  I will be hopeful though that I will find the time to post more often.  I always have a million ideas and projects in mind to share.

Anyway, I thought I’d quickly share the before and after pics from Sue’s kitchen.  I came up with a game plan for this kitchen after the owners had a “gel stain” emergency and helped them paint and antique their cabinets for a beautiful updated french-country look.  To see the how-to on that click here.

Sorry, the pics aren’t great since they were taken with my phone but even still you can see how much improved the kitchen is.

This is the kitchen before.  The owners tried to update the honey oak cabinets with a dark espresso gel stain.

The gel stain didn’t adhere to the cabinets and went on splotchy and quickly began chipping off.  Although you can’t really tell in the pics.

Here are the cabinets once they were sanded back to the bare wood.

And here they are with just the white paint (dark paint on the island) before the antiquing.

Here is a pic of the cabinets when I began the antiquing.  You can see what a difference it makes and how much it brings out the detail in the cabinet fronts.

Here are some pics of the finished cabinets.

I think they turned out pretty good and the owners seem to LOVE them!  All they need now are some nice handles and knobs and they’ll look fantastic!

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