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Archive for the 'Thrifting' Category

Lamps Make Me Happy

I think it’s a good sign when I want to buy things that my husband makes. He blows me away on a daily basis. I mean, just look at these new lamps.




Seriously in love with these!
You can see more on our etsy shop.

Quiet World

Not much really going around here these days. I guess I’m just feeling quiet, though Ellie and I did get out yesterday before it rained (well we felt a few sprinkles on our way back). We hit up the thrift store. I picked up some cute little things for her, and I got myself two new skirts. I’m pretty sure skirts are the perfect piece of clothing for a recovering mama belly. Just pull that bad boy up to the smallest part of your waist, throw on a skinny belt, and no one knows the difference! Speaking of skinny – I fit in to my skinny AGs yesterday! Now they aren’t my “skinny” skinny ones (ie. I wore these towards the middle of my weight loss last year). I’m officially down 21 lbs since birth but most of that was baby and water so I’m trying to work on my mentality at the moment. Staying positive, motivating, hopeful so that I can gear my brain up for everything I want my body to do in the next year to get back to that place.

So on to yesterday…






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Brought To You By the Letters A-Z

Please keep in mind, I’m being slightly liberal with my words but to put it mildly, my mom loooooooooves thrift stores. In fact, I don’t think she has ever left empty-handed (I love you mom!) and it’s quite possible that not only did I inherit my mothers inability to lie with a straight face, I also inherited her compulsion for thrifting.

My weakness has always been housewares and books though more recently, my heart would skip a beat at the discovery of an old version of Parcheesi, Sorry!, Monopoly, Life etc. I’ve been addicted to hunting down old board games at the thrift store.

With the upcoming birth of our child, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the types of things I want to pass on to my daughter (and future children) and the older I get, inundated with technological gadgets and stupidity, I can’t help but feel as though the simpler… the better.

I’m not naive to the fact that every generation probably feels the same way. My parents felt like the NES (Nintendo) was taking away from the time we kids spent outdoors while their parents felt like the television was taking away from quality family time while their parents felt the radio was a tool of Satan while their parents felt like crayons should only come in one color while their parents felt like bicycles should only have ONE wheel because two was much too complicated while their parents felt like when the sun went down, the only natural light was from candles…

I get it.

HOWEVER. I’m still really “old-school.” Sesame Street worked for me. I watch kids shows on PBS today and I feel like it’s GIVING me Attention Deficit Disorder. I have NO idea what’s going on. It’s a lot of “blah blah blah.. ZIIP… WOOOSH… oh yeah.. S-P-E-L-L!… cakes flying… hugs… dancing… commercial…” and that took all of ten seconds.

So I like thrift stores. I like books. I like ‘simple’ things. I have a child on the way. You still with me? Great!

My last two visits to the thrift store I haven’t found anything worthy of turning into a lamp but I have found a wealth of old kids books. I stopped in today and walked out with 40 hardcover books, all from the same series of “My First Steps To Reading,” printed here in Chicago between 1979 and 1984. I’m not even sure half of these books have had their spines cracked for the first time.

They are, for lack of a better word, AMAZING.

Each book covers one letter or number. The child, named [enter letter or number] has a box and in that box he/she puts things which begin with the letter. Each story is a bit different as in one box, the child ends up with inch worms, iguanas and an igloo and all hell breaks loose.

I just noticed this one reads, “My iBook”… foreshadowing perhaps?!

Also included in the series are fun books which focus things like manners, shapes, feelings etc. AAAAAAWESOME!

So, although I could easily fill a bookshelf with children’s books for our kid I think we officially have every letter/number covered and I can go easy on the thrifting. I can’t say I won’t stop looking or admiring old hardcover children’s books but I will start reminding myself we don’t need another 300lbs in books to move when the time comes.

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“You Sank My Battleship”

A few weeks ago I found an old, 1980′s version of the game Battleship at the thrift store for a whoppin’ $1.80 and had no choice but to buy it. It’s a simple game with simple rules but for whatever reason (maybe it’s the little plastic ships) it’s a darn fun game.

Carey and I have been known to rock out a few games of UNO in bed. I usually win. Tonight, however, we set up some TV trays in the living room so she could continue to rest on the couch and we played our first two games of Battleship. I can’t explain how happy it makes me that we can still be entertained by a game of Battleship. It makes no noises. It requires no batteries, we can play it in the dark, and the rules are simple. Where did those days go?

We laughed, we made stupid torpedo noises (why are girls so bad at making gun/missile noises?!) and after two games, we called a truce. I can only hope we never lose our love of simple (but fun) entertainment.

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turn on the light.

Wow! So some of you know that my husband is an idea man. He’s always thinking and then doing and then moving on to the next idea before you know it. When people ask me what Nathan does, I say well he’s an illustrator, a woodworker, a graphic designer, a photographer, a genius…but when it’s all said and done he’s an artist.

His latest idea stems from the many hours spent in class when his teachers are not teaching. (He’s attending a tech school for his electrician license). One day he came home and said, I’m going to make a lamp out of a coffee can. Soon enough we had a coffee can lamp, and then a wooden box lamp, and a recipe tin lamp and before I knew it I started hiding objects that mean a lot to me in fear they might end up as lamps, too! Though the truth is these lamps rock so much I don’t know if I would mind once I was curled up next to one on our side table sipping a cup of tea.

Our friend Aron has been such a support the past few weeks with getting the word out about the lamps. You can find them on etsy Yellow Square Love shop. People seemed to be really excited about his work, and he’s gotten a lot of great feedback from buyers. Nathan’s work was even featured on the art blog This is Love Forever today!

We are tickled with excitement! I honestly haven’t seen my dining room table top in days because he’s been busy making new lamps. It’s so nice to see such a warm response to his project, and to see him so happy working away on new ideas.

me and my shadow my shadow and me

Growing up we would visit my Mammie once or twice a year. I always lived far away from my grandparents so visiting any of them was a treat. Grandmommy and Grandaddy in Texas had lizards and crawdads to catch. Granpa and Gramma Graff had a room full of junk (Now that I think about it they must have been hoarders), and my brother and I were allowed to pick two things to take back with us on the trip. Mim had a boat to go fishing in. Nannie and Poppa in Tennessee had the giant garden and the apple trees. And, Mammie had a record player, hundreds of 45s, and the best food you’ve every eaten!

I have very distinct memories of listening to 45s over and over in her dining room. My mom and I would sit in this big comfy chair and sing for hours it seems. One song I have never been able to remember was about shadows, our shadows. I’ve been wanting to hear this song or find that record for years but thought it impossible.

This week Nathan and I popped in to the local Good Will for some browsing. We both didn’t realize that Good Will is less about second hand items now, and more about left over Target goods. We much prefer the second hand goodies. There wasn’t much to be had until I found the shelf of records. We flipped through and found a few Disney albums that I thought could be fun for us to play with our little girl. See I have a pretty nice record collection – only problem? No record player. I’ve never had one. I just buy records hoping one day to find one. As we continued to flip through I told Nathan about my favorite record that we listened to at Mammie’s growing up. Shadows…something… shadows… I said. And, then just like that – just like magic he pulled this record out of the stack!



That’s it! I screamed so loud. I could not believe it. Me and My Shadow. We had found it.
I think I might have skipped out of the Good Will after that as we headed on to another thrift store. Nathan is amazing at finding just the right thing when thrifting, and wouldn’t you know he found a record player. It was broken of course. I told him not to get it. Record players are so hard to fix, and terribly expensive to do so as well. But he checked the price instead, and got the owner to sell it to us for $5.



For the next half hour Nathan worked diligently on that record player. Taking it apart, tinkering here and there. And, then there was music. A record spinning and music playing. I listened to Me and My Shadow twice that night.



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sunday nights and crafting

There’s this moment on Sunday nights where it all hits me and I get overwhelmed. The week is beginning. My weekend is over. And, I replay the last two days and think about what I accomplished. Sometimes it’s just rest. Sometimes I make something or feel something and it’s all worth it. Actually it is always worth it. Sunday is one of my favorite days but it always comes and goes so fast.

I wonder if time will slow down just a little bit once we have a child. I hear it goes even faster though!
Well this weekend I set out to rest and craft. We are trying really hard to be responsible adults saving for both the baby, maternity leave (I won’t be paid for 12 weeks), and all kinds of other adult things. While it has been hard to not join in the shopping mayhem it has actually inspired me to begin nesting and thinking of fun, thoughtful gifts for friends and family for Christmas.

We sell something very similar to a recycled sweater scarf at my store, and I was curious to see if my new machine (it claims to be heavy duty) could handle making one. And, it worked! I love this new machine! Turns out I probably picked a little too thick of a sweater to try, but overall I was excited to see a project from start to finish in just a couple of hours.

sweater crafts

sweater crafts

sweater crafts

I picked up a few more sweaters this weekend that are more equal in weight. This will definitely help in keeping lines straight and feeding the sweaters through my machine. The thrift store was probably as busy as Target this weekend! I had to wait for a cart, but it was well worth it. I found a bunch of great colors and fabrics with a special deal of buy two get one free! I ended up walking away with three free sweaters, and then I got 6 baby items for $2.70! Talk about a steal. I’m officially addicted to the thrift store.

sweater crafts

sweater crafts

sweater crafts

Of course the one sweater I found for 90 cents is my favorite, and I can’t bear cutting it up. It’s a great emerald green color which would be perfect in a scarf, but it fits so nicely. It’s long enough to cover my belly and has an awesome cowl neck. That pink cashmere cardi I wore in pictures with my mom last week was also 90 cents. Those pink little tags proclaiming Special Price! are like golden tickets at the thrift store.

My other project with the sweaters (and my favorite) are using the trunk to form a circle scarf/neck warmer. A friend at work gave me the idea. I’ve been using yarn I have on hand for now, but need to make a run for some other thick, chunky yarn in fun colors soon. This is the first one I made out of the red sweater I used in the sleeve scarf.

sweater crafts

sweater crafts

sweater crafts

What do you think? Would you enjoy one as a gift? They are definitely fun and relaxing to make.

thrifting gone wild

When you have visitors do you get inspired to do things that might not be entertaining to them? I sure do, and this weekend it was like I got hit with a blast of crafting energy! All I wanted to do was make Christmas present lists, sew, thrift, and put together new ideas for crafts. Thankfully my mom was abiding, and while I crafted she cooked. We sort of relaxed together which was nice since it was really too darn cold to stay outside for any length of time.

Saturday we started off by going to one of our regular thrift stores. It’s really big, kind of dirty, and heavier on the apparel side of items than home. Nathan always ends up finding goodies, though – he came away with a few vintage toys and an awesome photo album. I was going for one thing in mind – sweaters! I want to start making recycled sweater sleeve scarves. I think it would be a great gift idea – unique, cozy, and fun to make. I found a ton of sweaters but just took two to try. Then my mom and I ended up in the baby aisle which I had never noticed before! Hallelujah! I had no idea you could find such great handmade/thrifted/vintage kid’s clothes in Logan Square.

No, really you’d think that Chicago would be the mecca for vintage – and yes there are some great things if you are willing to spend an arm and a leg. And, most of these thrift stores are so picked over that it can be tiresome finding a gem. But we found a few on Saturday! All of these were in great condition and a complete steal.

baby keepsakes

baby keepsakes
This one is Nathan’s favorite.

baby keepsakes
My favorite – embroidered giraffe – hello i love you!

baby keepsakes
You know I love anything with a sailor twist.

baby keepsakes

baby keepsakes

I can’t wait to go back!

doggy books

Growing up I loved books about animals. Well, really just cats and dogs. I had posters of them when I was old enough to decorate my room, and I still sought out books for young readers about animals. My favorite young adult book growing up was Black Beauty.

I also had a few other favorites as a kid one of those was a book called Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion.

Has anyone read this book? It is so good! We read it so many times that it eventually had to be duct taped down the spine to hold it together! I still have it somewhere… in a box at my mom’s I think. The other day I found a new shop Seek that I love! And, discovered they had a small area for vintage children’s items. I scooped a couple of books, and then noticed this one.

illustrated by one of my favorites

There was something so familiar about it. I had never seen this book, or read it. And, then it hit me that dog looks kind of like Harry! So I bought that one, too and came home to see if there was any connection. Turns out Margaret Bloy Graham illustrated and wrote an entire series about Benjy the dog as well as illustrated the Harry the dog series! Jackpot!

The book is adorable, and the illustrations bring back such warm thoughts of when I was a kid. I loved reading, and Nathan and I are committed to reading to our little girl all the time as she’s growing up. I’m excited to read more of the Benjy series, and to pull our my very favorite Harry the Dirty Dog.

Here are a few more books I got while at Seek.

the town and the country mouse...love this book
Another new favorite. I had always heard about this book, but don’t think I ever read it. It had tears in my eyes (we will blame that on hormones), but it was very sweet and represented how I feel lately about the city and the country.

little golden books
You know I love a Little Golden Book! I had the Dog Goes to Nursery School growing up as well, and one of the Panda books! Both of them brought back good memories.

sit, please.

I wish I could hire someone to scour Craigslist for a cheap couch for my house. This ole love seat has got to go!

Number 1. It cost me $50, and has served its time.
Number 2. It is currently the dog’s bed. Guh-ross.
Number 3. The pillow cushions are all lumpy now, and make for not so comfy back while sitting on it.

I’m looking for something simple, clean, easy to take care of. And, I promise I will not let the dog get on it. Maybe leather, maybe cotton. Anything but this loveseat will do.

I just tried to find a photo of it, but can’t.