Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Two out of three ain't bad, is it? This thrifting stuff sure helps reuse and recycle but I can't claim to be doing a whole lot of reducing unless you're talking about my bank balance! Still, we all need to do our part to stimulate the economy, right? Right!

I'm tickled to hear from several of you who have said you've been inspired to venture into a thrift store or two after reading my blog. And I'm not too surprised to hear from a few of you who have said your thrifting trips weren't very successful and/or you just don't seem to have the quality stores we have here. Over the years, I've ventured into thrift stores on rare occasions and I've been disappointed too. I've walked in, my eyes have scanned the store shelves, and I've seen nothing but a whole lot of discarded junk. I guess for those of you who have been disappointed, the advice I'd give you is to look closer and use your imagination. There are times now when I'll walk down all the aisles and find very little because I'm on the hunt for the BIG treasure. Usually, if I have time, I'll revisit some of the aisles and look a little closer--on bottom shelves, behind things, under things. Invariably I'll come across a few smaller treasures I missed on the first pass.

Then there are the things that require a little imagination. Say, for instance, a wooden bench. I may see a small, painted wooden bench and think it's not very attractive, but when I look closer, I may decide I like the shape of the bench, just not the colors or quality of the paint job. Simple enough to fix, really, with a little sanding and a coat of paint or some type of paint treatment. You get the idea.

And although they don't always catch the eye right away, one of my favorite finds are the hand crafts. Here's a little VERY poorly framed cross stitch I found for 99 cents--

It's just taped onto cardboard using masking tape and the frame was coming apart at one corner. I took it all apart, painted an old picture frame, used a mat I had, and reframed the cross stitch. I think it turned out pretty nice, and it only took about an hour or two--nowhere near as long as it took the person to do the cross stitch!

And, of course, I still have the frame the cross stitch came in. Hubby will glue it back together for me, and I'll probably use it for another project.

I came across this relish dish the other day. It really didn't look like much, but I don't have enough of these types of serving pieces for holiday meals, so for 49 cents, I brought it home and washed it. Once all the grime was off it, it really turned out pretty!

I've also picked up a couple pieces of silver-plated serving pieces that weren't anything to get too excited about at the thrift store, but when I brought them home and got all the tarnish off, they came out pretty nice! I'm not much into silver, but I think they add some nice class and sparkle to holiday meals. Hubby, by the way, said we're going to have to come up with some new holidays so we can use what I've found. Hey, I've got one! How about Send Your Husband Away Day?!

Stuck between old polyester double knit fabrics which were wedged into racks of ugly sheets, old pillow cases, cheap towels, and other miscellaneous textiles, I found this piece of yellow checked fabric with embroidered lollipops. I'm not sure if it's cotton or cotton/poly and I can't imagine making a lollipop quilt anyway, but after thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized the fabric's a nice weight for a pair of cheerful summer PJ bottoms. Two yards or so for something like $1.35.

Another tip? If you live in or near a city that's large enough to have more than one thrift store, check out stores in different parts of town. I've visited, now, about six different Goodwill stores in the Sacramento area and they all seem to be a bit different--they all have their own "character." You may find that one store seems to get more vintage items while another may get more items that are new and/or haven't even been used. One store may have better quality textiles than another. One store may have some designer purses--I just saw a Louis Vuitton purse the other day. And sometimes you'll be surprised at what you find in areas of town you wouldn't expect. So don't give up if you don't find anything that excites you the first couple times you go thrifting. Keep trying. After all, treasure, by its very definition, is illusive but well worth the hunt when you find it!


Unknown said...

WOW Kim. what a tutorial for thrifting.You make any one want to stop at their local Goodwill.

The crossstitch embroidered picture looks great.

MichelleB said...

I love that lollipop fabric! That will make cute jammies.

Tamara said...

I sure wish we had the thrift stores you have. Ours have the it should have been thrown away not sent someplace items. You've been have loads of fun and I'll live vicariously(sp) through your thrifting finds.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know what I was going to do today, (Saturday, first I'm catching up on your blog)but now I know! I'm going to Goodwill and a I've made a list of a few other thrift stores. I love what you did to the crossstitch. I think you have the "eye" to see things some others don't see.
Chris -

Nan said...

You turned that lovely cross-stitch into a work of art! Your relish dish made me smile. It reminds me of my grandmother. When I was a kid, every Sunday night my mom, uncle, and I would have dinner at her house, and she always set the table with several relish dishes filled with pickles, olives or cranberry sauce. Good food and great memories.
That fabric is very cute, too. Can't wait to see what you do with it.