Category Archives: thrifting

Sweet feet

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Most of the sweet baby booties I made when I was pregnant are no longer in use at my house.  Now that Worth can pull himself up he needs grippy-footed soft-soled shoes to keep him from skidding all over our hardwood floors.  This one pair does still work, though.  Since I’d made this pair to fit a bigger baby, I’d had the foresight to also do something about the slipping issue.  It doesn’t work perfectly well, but really neither do leather soles, and it’s too cold for bare feet.  I sewed a felt sole onto the bottom of these booties, then used rubbery puffy fabric paint to paint little paw prints on the bottoms.  The paint provides some traction on the floors and keeps Mr. Baby from whacking his head for any reason not related to his own nascent motor skills.  These booties stay on with the help of red leather cord laces and are very cutely U of L-y, but unfortunately I did not think to put them on him when he made his first trip to the new stadium last week to see his first basketball game!

The real estate project is progressing nicely.  We’ve taken care of our buyer’s inspection repair quests and our seller has responded positively to ours.  We’re hoping for a Merry Early Christmas closing in about two weeks.  In the meantime, *I think* (and I almost hate to jinx this by even blogging about it!) that our buyers are going to allow us to have a key very soon to start moving in some of our things.  I’m so excited!  I couldn’t resist popping in on Early Bird Thursday today at my favorite thrift shop to see if I could score some goodies for our new digs, and I totally did!  A yellow bed skirt for Dorothy’s new room, a little knick-knack shelf for our crafty studio, a vintage Christmas tablecloth, a rug for our studio, a mirror to hang over our dress-up box, and this little bell for my vintage Kentucky kitchen.  $18 well spent, in my opinion.

Looking ahead, I think Dorothy must have an owl pillow similar to these in her new vintage-floral bedroom.  I’m pretty sure there is a sheet in that pile just crying out to be an owl pillow.  How cute are they?

Progress pictures

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We’re now on Day 9 of camper ownership, and my crafty energy is all camper, all the time, until we get this thing in the woods for the first time. But we’re having tons of fun already, right here at home! The photo above is to compare to my primer picture, below.

Here’s me on the unpainted side of the camper, rocking the schlumpy paint clothes look and inspiring my 4-year-old to beg for a hair bandana. 🙂
And the painted side! It’s red! Embellishment to follow…
(Want to see the results? Click here for more photos and stories about the little red camper.)
And my sewing table, covered in camper-related prints, ready for me to come back inside and stitch curtains, potholders, napkins…maybe a camper apron even? I also found a gorgeous red 100% wool throw at a thrift store that will become part of the camper ensemble. It has a patch sewn on it right now from a company; I guess it was a corporate gift of some sort. I’m just going to unstitch the patch, and I might sew on little white wool felt flowers to cute it up (ala Soule Mama).

In a momentary pause from camper things, I’m having a little Halloween costume trouble. I found a very inexpensive and adorable used rat costume for Worth on eBay, and it’s ridiculously cute on him. I love the costumes put out by Old Navy because they are comfy and washable and easy to put on and off, so I just searched for costumes made by them to get inspiration for his. When I found the rat costume I knew it was just right. Dorothy wants to be a cat, so she can chase (and eat–eek!) her brother. The problem is, all the cat costumes I can find to fit my 5T daughter look like skanky cat woman outfits, not the least bit like cats. I did find one, with the help of a friend, but it’s selling for between $40 and $50, which is nuts. I paid less than $5 for the baby’s, with minimal shipping. And this might seem contrary to my whole blog bit, but I really hate the idea of making one. She’ll wear it once, probably, since she’s not all that interested in dress-up recently, and furry fabric is really expensive–much more expensive than run-of-the-mill costumes from Target. Plus, and this is really rather annoying, my kid doesn’t want me to make her one. At all. I make her things all the time; Halloween costumes should be special. (Where am I going wrong? Eek again!) She wants a store-bought costume. So the search continues…

A resting rug

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Orientation at Dorothy’s preschool went fabulously. We’re so excited for her to attend this great program. I feel like the teachers share my values and that she’s really going to benefit from this year or two, and that the harmony between the school’s values and mine should make an easy transition on to homeschool if that is indeed the route we take. Hooray for the start of something wonderful and new!

At orientation they told us each child needs a satchel-style bag and a resting rug. I’d already taken care of the bag, but she didn’t have a rug yet. I wasn’t sure what the other kids would have–if everyone else had a plain bath towel, I didn’t want my little princess to tramp in with some fussy handmade setup that would make us seem show-offish or materialistic. But the example our teacher showed us of a resting rug was actually a simple little floor quilt with a hook for hanging on their little hooks, so I decided to fix Dorothy up with one on that model. We tucked the baby in for a nap and then headed downstairs to the fabric stash where Dorothy selected purple as a primary color, and I dug out several fabric scraps, some hand-me-down fabric, a thrifted shower curtain, an old stained tablecloth, and two thrifted sheets that all came together in a pleasantly purple way. I just cut 3 inch strips of various lengths to make an intentionally haphazard stripe pattern, and I like the way it turned out. It’s solid purple on the back and I sandwiched an old stained bath towel inside to make it comfy for lying on the preschool floor during their wind-down time. She loves it and has slept on top of it in bed the last two nights. I told her when she lays on it she’ll feel like Mommy is giving her a great big hug.

And here’s a little pirate booty! I crocheted dark grey longies with a skull and crossbones motif on the bum when I found out I was pregnant with a boy, last fall. I was concerned he’d grow out of them before cool enough weather came, but fortunately I could still stuff him into them (and enjoy seeing how cute they looked) yesterday.

A tooth!

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I don’t think they’d be good in a mixed drink, but these icy cubes of mushy squash are making a small member of my family very happy. He’s been gumming at crunchy breadsticks, sucking down water through a straw, shoving handfuls of banana in his face, and enjoying these nasty-looking cubes of squash (straight out of the freezer) in his mesh baby feeder.

We made our bi-monthly pilgrimage to Costco today and had kind of miserable time. Usually it’s fun to go to Costco; we buy $1.99 pizza slices for lunch, taste the samples, browse through the seasonal items and feel all mid-size-city-middle-class-suburbany, in a good way. Today was a different story. The baby started fussing before Dorothy and I were even done with our pizza, was grumping and lunging for his mama from the front of the cart before we left the paper products, and was full-on crying by the time we reached the massive vats of baking flour. The section with the granola bars–the last area we shop–saw me trying to bounce an unhappy 20 pound baby on my shoulder, maneuver a very full cart through the aisles, and herd a sample-stuffed 4-year-old to the checkout line. Both kids went home and slept all afternoon, and I figured our unusual Costco meltdown must of been related to the baby’s lack of a good morning nap, even though he’s usually pretty easy going about his sleep schedule. Then this evening I had the baby on my knee and was wiping remnants of (my) sweet potato fries off his chin and “recycling” them by poking them in his mouth when I felt–OMG!–a sharp protrusion on his bottom gum. The baby has his first tooth! I held him down and pried his mouth open like any good mother and took a nice look, and there it was. A tooth. Dorothy was 11 months before she popped out her first little chomper, so I would never have connected the poor babe’s miserable scene at Costco (or the subsequent extra-long nap) with teething pain, but obviously it was related. Poor kid. But wow! We have a tooth. It feels momentous.

And this is my pretty thrift-store find of the week. I have a goal of replacing my standard-issue, available-at-Target serving ware with slightly more unique finds over time. I’d been looking for a milk glass lidded bowl/casserole dish that was big enough to carry a pasta salad to a pitch-in, and Monday I found it at Unique. It’s hard to find such a large vessel that has both dish and lid intact, so I was pleased. The price as right too! And now, to keep things balanced, a later-model casserole is going into my own “donate” pile. Out with the new and in with the old! Or something. 🙂

A frilly school bag

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Dorothy starts preschool this fall and will join the ranks of bag-toting tots everywhere. At our school the teachers prefer open-topped bags (not backpacks) to facilitate easy access, so that’s what we made. Dorothy selected fabric from our stash downstairs (a thrifted sheet, in this case), then contributed the drawing of a flower, which I scanned and printed on fabric along with her name. I put frilly ruffles at the top, a little pocket inside for her sundries, and a little mother-of-pearl snap in case she needs it to stay closed while she’s upsidedown on the monkey bars.

This old t-shirt was being demoted to sleep shirt, so I used it as an experiment for some new t-shirt transfer paper. I’d never used the kind designed for dark shirts, which is an opaque white transfer instead of the typical transparent kind that is only intended for light-colored fabrics. I printed some Dorothy flowers onto it and ironed it on. This paper seems to scorch easier than the other, which is good to know, but the transfers seem firmly affixed and flexible. Hopefully the little artist will be proud when she sees Mom sleeping in it tonight.

Yes sir, yes sir, five bags full!

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OMG, I bought five big bags full of old sheets today at Unique Thrift! I love that store, but the last few times I’d been in the linens selection felt really picked over. Today I went in (Monday is 25% off day!) and made a huge score. I’d been looking for some yellow floral prints with a 70s vibe, because the room Dorothy wants in the house we hope to buy has some crazy yellow 70s flowery wallpaper and Dorothy loves it. She won’t even allow discussion of taking it down. So I was thinking that maybe the best decorating choice is just going to be to embrace the look and make her a quilt of similar-era prints in a color palette of yellows, golds, and a few greens for pop. Because her current lavender/peach/lime green set is just not going to work there.

And voila! After keeping an eye out at thrift stores for months, I found a huge stash of sheets that fit the bill. They go together better in real life than the picture conveys. I considered that it might be bad luck to have purchased them, knowing that we might not actually get the house we want (since we still haven’t sold ours) but I decided to embrace some positive thinking, and that the worst case scenario is that I spent next to nothing on fabric and got a funky quilt out of it, and you can never have too many funky quilts, even if it doesn’t end up in use as a bedspread at that particular house.

But I didn’t buy five bags of just endearingly outdated yellow florals–I also found the endearingly outdated prints above (hello, new summer shirt for me!), a sheet that I swear looks just like the Liberty of London prints, and a terrific stash of boy-appropriate prints that I may use for linens in a bedroom for Worth in a future home, or maybe for little boy clothes and baby accessories.

I’ve got the flush of a successful hunter who just landed some big prey! But don’t laugh–if buying outdated used sheets by the bagful isn’t your thing, then, well, I’m glad because next 25% off day you won’t get them first. 🙂

One problem solved

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Ok, so by the light of day I figured out a better solution to the new purse situation. I made another new bag along basically the same model as yesterday’s, but this one has practical features like being big and roomy, having pockets, and a snap closure. This is a zoo trip bag if I ever saw one! Instead of competing with my practical summer messenger, this one will supplement it, quickly packed with water bottles, snacks and other summer outing essentials. Yes, I’m killing time at this point, but it seems harmless enough to turn on-hand fabric (a damaged vintage tablecloth I found at a thrift store, in this case) into bags while I’m treading water, fair enough? And I’ll give yesterday’s cutie little bag to Shannon next time I see her, since she liked it. 😉

Thrift store rehabs

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The warmer weather and impending Major Life Change have given me a little spring fever, so Dorothy and I have been hitting the thrift store circuit these last few days. I’ve gotten a few cute new shirts that I hope to be able to wear post-partum–nice roomy, soft ones that should be easy to nurse in and were cheap enough that I (in theory) won’t care about all the spit-up. These two I made into projects today, and altered them a bit to personalize them. The pattern on the front of the blue is Dover clip art from their free samples mail list, which I’ve printed on printable fabric, fused, and sewn on. The brown I just free-formed some simple flowers out of pretty fabric scraps and added homemade bias tape to the arms. I’m not sure if I like the tape on the arms or not–it makes them a little stiff, like wings or something. I think I’ll launder it and then see how they look, and I may snip off the sleeve embellishment.
My due date is one week from today…