Tag Archives: thrifting

Thrifting is fun

But you all knew that.

Found this cute little house shelf. Happens to fit my spools of baker’s twine perfectly.

I threw some washi tapes in that middle bit since it’s a bit too big for spools. It’s sort of a little packaging station now.

Amy is the Party at SewTara

Tips & Tricks for Happy Thrifting

Hi, my name is Amy of amyistheparty.com and I am super-excited to be guest blogging for Tara today. One of my favorite things to do is search for vintage treasures. I am always on the lookout for some Mid-Century furniture with tapered legs, pretty Pyrex, kitschy salt & pepper shakers, and anything else that might catch my eye. I’ve heard that California doesn’t have near the plethora of lovely vintage goodies that the Midwest has. Here, searching out vintage collectibles is like hunting for treasure. I can’t explain the thrill of scoring a rare vintage find.

Sac Antique Faire Finds

Some tips & tricks I’ve discovered for happy thrifting:

* Don’t worry about trying to find items that might be valuable. An item is only valuable if YOU like it.

* Before buying knick-knacks, try to picture them in your home. There’s nothing sadder than coming home with a cute vintage knick-knack only to find you don’t have a place to put it (okay, there are sadder things, but you know what I mean).

* Shop around online first so you have an idea of what fair prices are for the types of items you like.

* Some of the more artfully arranged shops and vendor booths may be priced too high if you are looking for a deal. Look anyway – you might get some ideas for how to display your vintage finds. You might also be pleasantly surprised.

57th Street Antique Mall

* Don’t be afraid to haggle. Often times, vendors will take less for an item. It doesn’t hurt to ask – especially if an items is out of your budget or if you don’t think it’s worth what they are asking. Please do be polite about it.

* The best time to go to an antique faire? There are two right answers (1) right when they open so you have first dibs on “the good stuff” and (2) right before the faire closes because vendors are eager to make last minute sales. Plus many of them do not want to lug items home. This is the BEST time to haggle.



* Do bring wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer. hands can get grimy, during especially thrift store shopping.

* Visit your favorite thrift stores often, and especially on a whim. Sometimes I just get a funny feeling that tells me to stop by, and low and behold, some lovely vintage treasure is waiting for me.

* Have an idea of what you are looking for ahead of time, but you should also be open to unexpected finds.

* If antique faire shopping, don’t forget to bring plenty of cash. And/or set a budget for yourself.

* Always bring a tape measure! And don’t assume that a “small” piece of furniture will fit in your car, unless you are driving a truck. Trust me. I couldn’t fit what I thought was a “small chair” into my compact car. I ended up walking it home 13 blocks!

* Don’t be afraid to visit “antique” stores. Their prices can be quite reasonable on some items. Just be sure to research first because one person’s idea of “antique” may not match your idea of antique. Personally, I love most things from the 50s-70s. An antique store that specializes in mid-century is right up my alley!

treasure hunt

* Consider an items potential. If you don’t like the color, is it something you can paint? Ceramics can be spray-painted, chair pads can be recovered, wood items can be re-finished. Just make sure you are up for the challenge! You don’t want an item sitting in your garage unfinished for a year (or longer).

* Try visiting second-hand stores that are near a neighborhood where a lot of elderly people live. Although I have no idea how you would research that! I lucked out and found one near my work that almost always has some type of tapered leg Mid-Century furniture. Sometimes it’s in good condition, sometimes not.

Tips for decorating with vintage:
* Don’t worry about having everything from your home be in the same style or from the same century. Decorating with vintage accessories and furniture is more about creating a pleasing aesthetic. There’s no need to create a complete replication of a 1950s home (though that would be fun)!

mid-century china cabinet + owl stitchery

* Start a collection. Or two. Or three. I collect milk glass, vintage owls, salt & pepper shakers, and Pyrex.


If you are ever in the neighborhood (Sacramento, CA), here are my all time favorite places to scour for vintage goods (pictured above):

Midway Antique Mall
5130 Madison Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95841

57th Street Antique Mall
875 57th Street
Sacramento, CA 95819-3326

Sacramento Antique Faire
Second Sunday of Every Month
2350 21st St
Sacramento, CA 95818

Thanks, Tara, for inviting me to be your guest! Happy thrifting, everyone!

Amy Cluck

Coasters are done!

I finished my scrappy coasters. Here they are in the latest vintage find, a fantastic Pyrex dish. Totally in love with this one, it’s like I saw it from across the room and time stopped. And it was Thrifty Thursday and everything in the Goodwill was 50% off!

I’m going to fill one side with guacamole and the other with chips to dip!

Vintage haul

I found some really fun stuff thrifting last week.

There’s that pillow case I turned into a lovely headband, and actually 2 other projects that remain to be revealed.  That patchwork stuff is a big chuck of fabric.  I couldn’t resist picking up the Star Wars sheet.  My hubby still has his childhood Return of the Jedi comforter that he uses every night.  When I make our bed I hid it under our nice duvet.  Someday, when we have more rooms I think I’ll make a guest bed with Star Wars bedding.

I found this lovely gem and couldn’t resist.  It’s too bad I already made library bags for the boys when I took Home Ec because this would be perfect.  Maybe I’ll rename their library totes something else and wip up some with this anyway.  You can never have enough totes right?  Is it wrong to push my addiction on to my children?


DIY vintage pillow case restyle.

On the weekend I turned my kitchen table into a bit of a nightmare so I could squeeze in some crafting while Nate was avoiding his nap. I was working on a project with vintage pillow cases and inspiration hit and took me on a bit of a detour.

Start with a vintage pillow case and trim off the nice finished edge at the opening where you put your pillow in. You can either trim really close to the stitching and have a closed loop piece, or cut into it and have an open edge. I’m going to show you how to work with both options.

Now you have 2 big loops, cut off the seam so you have one long piece of fabric.

I was cutting the orangey one for another project and in the process I trimmed a bit into the seam and created an opening on one edge. So here’s how to finish that off and make a nice clean edge, and a thinish headband.

Open the fabric up and use the fold inside, the part that was the very end of the pillow, as a guide to fold the unfinished edges inward. I didn’t go all the way because I wanted my band a bit thicker.

Then fold it again so the raw edges disappear inside. You can iron and pin at this point before you sew. Of forge ahead like I did.

Top stitch along the sides to make nice clean edges. Fold the bottom raw edges up inside the ‘tube’ to create a clean edge and topstitch to seal it all in. Then you have one nice ruler shaped piece of fabric that you can wrap around your head and tie at the back.

For my blue headband I just carefully trimmed around the pre-existing stitching. Why make more work?

Then I cut the ends on an angle just to had some interest to the ends. Fold the raw edges inside and top stitch around the whole thing.

There you have it, a lovely new headband that was half made already!

Thrifting fun!

Last night the plan was to go fabric shopping with my bff.  We did a bit of that but weren’t equiped to really search out what she needed so instead we decided to pop into some thrift stores.  We were  amazingly rewarded!  She found a vintage typewriter that she loved, but it was missing the J.  While pondering if she shoudl just take it J-less or not she realised there was another one buried under some stuff right beside it.  I wandered over and checked it out and while I did she lifted up the round keyed one and found the J lying there.  It just needed to be snapped back on.

So we left, each with a typewriter.  Price tags $17.99 each.  Score.

I found this cute little mixing bowl, no idea if it’s actually ‘vintage’ or not but I love the colour and designs.  The little set of plates feature cute little building and are from Germany.  My husband and I have vowed to only have knick knacks if they are from our travels.  These plates aren’t, but they’re really cute and we’ve been to Germany so same thing really.

I also got a Samsonite train case but it’s still in my van and needs some surface cleaning before a photo shoot.

My newest idea, and a thrift find!

I was struck with an idea last night while in the kitchen with the kids.   I think it might have been inspired by my sewing machine cover on my chair.  I had the idea to make a little pouch thingie for the back of the kitchen chairs to store some creative supplies within arms reach of my son when he’s sitting down.  I also figured it would come in handy once he’s at school for completing homework, we can keep pencils and other supplies right there and not have to worry and fumble around looking for things.  So I went to my trusty sewing machine once the kiddies were in bed and whipped this up,

I still need to play with the design a bit, I’d like it to roll up and be portable so you could grab it and go, in the van, to Grandma’s off to the park, whatever. I’m hoping to make it fairly universal so it would fit almost any kitchen or dining room chair. It attached with ribbon that I just tied, thought that was more universal than sewing loops. The fabric is from IKEA, I wanted something kid friendly but not too loud and obnoxious for the kitchen. I have no idea how one is supposed to make a pattern but I relied on my trusty chart graph paper and sketched and cut a template out yesterday while the kiddies ran about.

It’s a very high tech process. Hopefully I can get to making a second one tomorrow.

In unrelated news, every other Tuesday I have my ‘night out’ with my bff! Lately I’ve taken to dragging her to thrift stores. Last Tuesday I found this and loved it!

It reminds me of my Nanny and all my summers spent at the trailer at the lake. Trailers and cottages always seem to have random vintage/retro stuff in them like this. Plus my Nanny, like most Grandparents, was happy to keep things around as long as they still worked, even if they were older than me. My favourite was the avocado green electric knife she had that didn’t actually turn off unless you unplugged it from the wall . . . because that’s safe!! I miss you Nanny, thanks for teaching me to knit and showing me how to cook a turkey, love you.