Archive for the ‘Thrifting’ Category

As promised here are the shoes I’ve renovated. They all had lovely potential before, but just needed some true appreciation and zazz. So, they have each been given zazz and a bit of love. I’m off to find more shoes tomorrow to further invigorate.

These little Valentine’s Day set have such a sweet Victorian, I think they are the prettiest little things ever. Who doesn’t like a little cream grosgrain bow draping over the side of their red pump??

This camel pair, are quite delicate. Only fitting to use a simple chiffon ribbon to accentuate the petite nature of the shoe. Besides, I’m convinced every basic shoe needs just a bit of zip.

& then of course, there are the little Black Beauties which I’ve been crowing about for two months. Finally decided to go with the black silk instead of an accent of another broach. Just love these.

The detail of the bow, in case you were just dying to look a bit closer.

Today will be sewing more on another little romantic lawn skirt, making pasta (with my new pasta maker, thanks Mum!), and some shopping. Busy bee. Perhaps I’ll have something to report tomorrow if I don’t get too excited along the way (and fail to document appropriately).

Ps. 25 days or so till Valentine’s Day!! I can’t wait 🙂 Got this darling image from the Graphics Fairy. Ohhhh my! Just LOVE all the images she’s shared, for us all to enjoy!

The Graphics Fairy

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Busy Tuesday! Barely had time to tweet! But the birds have been snipped (will be strung today!). Thanks to some sweet little pint-sized helpers. If those little felt birdies could talk, they would have many giggles to share.

In addition to snipping birds out of felt, one of my favorite, instant gratification projects, is to transform tired (but great conditioned) shoes into new visions of loveliness. Did you ever read the part in Little Women, where Amy paints her boots blue? Jo lets her secret out when they are visiting society friends. Amy just about died with mortification. These days its not so terrible to repaint and refinish shoes. But every time I do, I think of poor little Amy March.

Here is the before — after I removed the wretched gold squiggles.

And now, with little black satin bows, sewn neatly in place.

I really wouldn’t be able to resist these…but alas, not my size 😦

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Well ladies. It’s done 🙂 Here is a pretty snap of it’s fluffy loveliness:

The green is the most delicate sweet pattern, and the chiffon is a soft olive. Detail of the fabric:

I really must find a non-blue dress form someday. But for now, make do 🙂 I mentioned last time general steps for making this skirt, but here’s a more detailed tutorial on

“How to whip and snip a curtain into a fluffy little skirt”

1. Measure curtain to 1.5x around your waist (i.e. wrap fabric once around you, then wrap 1/2 around again).
2. Snip length.

(Leave in all casings, and seams)

Chiffon piece
3. Seal edges of chiffon by hair-spraying each edge. Wait to dry. Trim edges, so there are now lose treads &c.

4. Measure chiffon to the same length as skirt.
5. Fold chiffon as shown, and hem both tiers of the underlay.

6. Pin & sew to finished edge of curtain. Iron smooth.

7. Snip any unneeded material and bind seam.
8. Sew up the back (i.e. fold your skirt in half — right sides together — stitch up the unfinished seam). Be careful to sew all the way around the existing casing, so you don’t lose the home for your waistband.
9. Iron smooth.

10. Insert elastic through waistband casing. I usually measure the elastic by holding a piece snugly around my waist, and adding two inches.

11. Adjust elastic to be evenly smooth around skirt.
12. Stitch casing closed.
13. Primp, admire and adore.

This little sweet thing turned out great. For wearing out and about, I’d wear it with a little white tee, draping beads and throw a little vintage lace belt around it, or maybe a brown leather belt. Flats, wedges or boots. MmMmmm. Glam glam.

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If you’re like me, once Christmas is behind us, I immediately forget about the endless months of winter before me, and instead plan my spring wardrobe! In this case, I really am just preparing my little heart for Fashion Week in Feb. & I saw a perfectly LOVELY little romantic skirt on Aerie.com. Do y’all look on aerie for clothing? I usually don’t, but you may want to check it out. They really have some very sweet (less woodsy) pieces.

Here is one that I determined to mimic. Though with everything, I think that it was my idea first and they stole it! Haha. But here, it worked great. I had that fabulously thrifted green cotton print (recall my FINAL FIND, in Thrifting: P2), and was looking for a little skirt to whip it into. SO. Here is in the inspiration, complements of Aerie.com:

So. Few changes to the pic.
1. I added a few extra tips of chiffon underneath the calico to give it a shimmy look
2. Didn’t LOoooove the smocked option, so I did a simple casing and threaded in the wide elastic.
3. Lined with white muslin.

Here are some snaps of the initial fabric pieces:

More steps and completed pics to come.

And…posted this little friend on the lovely “Its a Hodgepodge Life.” Love her sweet site & button 🙂

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I was reading a blog on how to blog, and it said one of the worst things you can do is have a bad post title. I hung my head in shame, and thought…oh dear “Thrifting” really wasn’t exactly the most dramatic title, but, but, but it was descriptive!

So. I went thrifting again with a dear friend on Saturday. With coffee in hand and carrots in good supply we headed on our quest. I tell you, speaking of a losing streak. I lost any “luck” I ever had with thrifting. We went to five different places, and it was one extreme to the next.

Stop #1.
In this one (as my tweet mentioned) everything was horribly overpriced. It didn’t feel like thrifting, it was regularly normal prices for tired items. Sad, but moving on!

Stop #2.
This one was tucked so far in it was difficult to locate. We managed to finally find it, and tip-toed in hoping the musty smell was the smell of good deals. Alas no. We did find one treasure. A WELL preserved 1980’s formal gown. If I’d been party worthy in the 80’s I would have worn this dress.

Stop #3.
We were looking for #3 but saw a sign, and thought…I guess this is the one. Oh dear. This was a quite an experience. There were piles of shoes and electronics when you walked in, one rack of clothes, and in the back were stacks and stacks of car tires. We politely made the scape, and the scooted out. Across the street we saw another sign for one…so we continued on.

Stop #4.
This one was closed, retail space available, but the sign was too much to resist.

Stop #5.
Thrift Store. Ahhh, we made it! This store was lovely. Normal peaceful selection, thrifty prices. Actually this one had the best selection of old Bridal gowns I’d seen. Again, I saw one that was so beautiful and preserved. I would have worn it, had I been born a few decades earlier (and if Mr. T had been born earlier. Essential.) I found some curtains that will be turned into aprons soon. $2.99, and boy was I happy 🙂

I heard one lady at my favorite T-store say last Wednesday “You don’t think anyone will shop on Friday if they know we have a sale on Monday?” Wahhhhoooo. So Monday, today, I may poke my head in. Just for a split second.

Felt Update: Check our Mrs. Priss. She’s got some great felt on! Felt Hair Bows: Dying sweet deaths inside. Oooooh la LA!

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I would like to post a disclaimer at the very beginning of this post. I really have had absolutely wretched luck in the thrifting area the past two years. Since moving to the big city in Jan 2009, I’ve been again and again woefully mistreated by the t-stores in the area. BUT, for some odd reason, I’ve managed the past four months to break my losing streak into one so glamorous, that I’m causing my friends to envy (what? who, me!?). So I post these trophies to encourage those of you who are on losing streaks and fear that thrifting is all for naught.

And…some thrifting tips I’ve learned over the years (feel free to add your own in the comments):
1. Short trips can be rewarding (working 24/7 woman that I am, don’t have all day to scour a disorged store, so keep it brief with your eagle eyes open).
2. Know what your looking for.
I typically look for four things: a. Shoes (easy to scan a rack quickly), b. Fabric (look at the sheets and linens section), c. mirrors (some amazing finds here ladies!), d. skirts/shirts (I don’t dig that much, I try to look for nice prints or materials, before I reach into a rack for a shirt etc.)
3. Walking out empty handed is okay.
4. Find your favorite t-stores and ask about specials, discounts etc. I found a very little one, but has great turnover (is NEAT), so I’ve done about 50% of my thrifting there this fall.
So, my trophies this week:

Just realized these all were plaid of some sort. Oh dear, I guess it was in the air! But luckily the shoes are going to be embellished, and gifted. So the only plaid addition to my wardrobe is the shirt. Of which, my husband pointed out that I already had some plaid…but I said, is a little more plaid all that bad? *winking wickedly*

BUT, I agree. Plaid in moderation is a VERY good rule.

Posted this for friends to see at Ms. Finding Fab. Really sweet ideas and LOVELY pics.

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Yesterday while keeping a quiet evening with Mr. T, I started work on the pomander ball, only to find that the picture was much more attractive than my creation.

Here are the directions and components I used:
1. Make a ball of something (I used crumpled tissue paper wrapped in lace)
2. Snip a square of felt
3. Snip square into a spiral (i.e. cut it into a circle then snip a smaller circle all the way round till your in the middle…see pic, haha!)
4. Roll spiral into flower
5. Pin flower to ball
6. Repeat until ball is full of pretty flowers

Constraints I ran into:
1. My felt was thinner than the pic
2. My felt was all red and brown (leftovers from a Birdy Pillow for Mum B)
3. The flowers I made were HUGE
4. The ball I used to cover was waaaaay too big
5. Pins I had were small, and unattractive colors, sad!
6. Way too much ball for too few flowers
7. Realized 1/3 way through that I am making a ball covered in small circles (my only phobia, small circles close together terrify me — i.e. a honeycomb makes my skin crawl).

So, I got about this far…made the felt flowers smaller (you only need about a 2″ square of felt to make one flower). And actually ended up doing one out of lace, which was SO pretty.

But, this morning I got up, looked at my little pathetic pomander and thought… maybe I could make them prettier with something else. SO. I decided to embellish a pair of scarlet heels, and purple long-T.

Scarlet heels I tweeted about Monday, now lavishly divine w/ new rosette love.

Perhaps the flowers are not to scale with the shoes, but I personally think they are dramatically whimsical. Will Etsy them, once I finish admiration process (may be a few weeks as they are SCARLET). Either way I can’t keep them because the are a size 9 😦 It was my only saving grace, otherwise New Year’s Party here we COME. But no…sniff sniff.

Daring combo: Purple and Scarlet. Just screams Russian Royalty.

And there is the shirt. I absolutely love purple and scarlet together. Such drama! I may Etsy the shirt (SZ S), if I can resist the urge to keep it myself.

BUT, have no fear friends. I WILL commence when I have thicker, better [more] felt, prettier pins AND a reason to have a pomander ball. This is not defeat, but a reassessment. Oh dear.

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The title is overused, but I couldn’t resist poking some love in the direction of several inspirations. And things that I adore and (to be festive) am quite grateful for.

1. Whole Lotta Lovely Blog — UK based totally femme blog. I quite died just looking at the first page. It has many charming ideas and sweet photo to inspire the creative soul.
http://wholelottalovely.wordpress.com/, can also follow her on Twitter @marienicols
Silk Pen, Whole Lotta Lovely

2. Etsy Artist Out of Line
I could not be more impressed with her clean lines, gorgeous simplistic style and use of solid colors. Favorite Gray Dress Will be consulting her for advice on where to find a REAL dress form.

3. DC Thrift Stores: Here is a sample of items I’ve procured from the DC metro area consignment shops. LOVE IT.

Fabric Scraps

Anthropolige Napkins

Camel Vintage Shoes

4. Freshly painted birds in my kitch.

Birds on a Wire

5. Time with family & friends. Hosted dear friends on Monday. Love you D&L!!!! They brought us the most gorgeous fall flowers. Will be seeing some of Mrs. T’s family today.

Flowers from D&L

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