Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thrifting Finds Of Late...

So I had been having a dry spell lately, as far as thrift stores go. I usually visit all the local stores weekly, but I found myself going less and leaving with less. That all seemed to change recently, as I have found some awesome things. This is all within the past few months, but I have learned to stop grabbing everything I think I might want, and just getting the things that really mean something to me, or that I can use. So much of my house is thrifted...it's like having a treasure hunt to me. I love it! I love vintage things. Don't ask me why; I just feel drawn to certain old things like a magnet. And if you don't like my stuff, that's fine. You don't have to. But I am not going to criticize your stuff, so leave mine alone. My house, my clothes, my rules. Anywho, moving on...

Vintage laundry hamper. I sort of collect these, except they tend to get broken or damaged after a few years, so while I have owned 6-7 of these over the past 5 years, I currently have 3. This one has a cool pearlized top, but sadly, the laminate is chipped, and the store I got it from chose to put a price sticker over the chip, which just made it worse when I pulled the sticker off. Still, it was only $6. I love the black.

Brand new green espadrilles, leather uppers. Only $1!

Vintage 70s leather flats...these were $1 as well. I'm not usually into that era, but I have found a few great dresses lately, and my stupid hair naturally does the big 70s flip on its own, so it all works out.

Aqua melamine serving dishes, I don't remember how much these were, maybe
$1 each. I also collect melamine/Melmac, because it is so much easier to clean, the kids can't break it, etc. Just remember, not microwave safe!

Aaaaaaand another collection, although I'm toning it down because I'm running out of space. Vintage pink Pyrex casserole dish, $3. I probably have 30+ pieces, if you include lids count. I love it, and it is a cheap and easy find.

My first piece of Le Creuset! It is a cast iron enameled French cookware, VERY expensive, but it will last a lifetime. This was $6.

I picked up another pink Borg bathroom scale. I actually have this same scale already, but it is stained with hair dye, rusting, etc. This is a picture of it in the process of being cleaned. Mr Clean Magic Erasers are a miracle. I have saved so many things with them. Look at the color difference! This was $5.

And finally, my most treasured find. By now, you may have noticed that I collect things. It's not so much that I seek out things to collect. Rather, I love lots of vintage things, and I happen to find multiples of certain items. Bakelite is not one of those things. I love searching it out, on Ebay, Etsy, and in thrift stores, antique stores, yard sales, etc. But, I have never found a piece in a thrift shop until recently. These rings go for about $10-$15 online, and I found a set of 3 for only $6! I was so excited I was shaking. It's not about the monetary value, it is about the thrill of the hunt. Antique dealers scavenge for this stuff like vultures diving into a carcass, so to find a piece is very rare. I am so proud.

I have so much more I could share, but these are just some of the things I have picked up lately that have really made me jump for joy. I hope I can find more to share soon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Slacking in the blog department

So I keep meaning to make blog posts, I even have pictures and stuff to talk about...I just haven't gotten around to doing it. I will try harder, for all 18 of my followers :D

So today I had one of the best thrifting days I've had in a long time. I can't remember the last time I filled my arms in a rush of excitement. It's like winning the lottery for me. So, onward to today's haul...

Since we got a VCR in our bedroom, I swore it would only be for kid movies, to keep my monster toddler occupied when I needed to take a shower or something. Yeah, didn't happen. Picked up The Matrix, and how could I pass up Boondock Saints on tape? 50 cents each.

Two vintage sewing patterns, I just love the colors and illustrations. These will make some cute dresses for miss E. 25 cents each.

I love these vintage leather flats! $1 for the pair.

Some old fabric, not sure what it will make, but it was 30 cents.

AHHHHHHH! I collect vintage melamine, and I really scored with these aqua serving dishes, at 50 cents each.

I also collect Pyrex, and this pink casserole dish was only $2.

And last but not least, the prize of the day...my first piece of Le Creuset! It is a very expensive Frech cookware, porcelain coated cast iron. This was $8, but new, these got for around $170. This one is old (they don't do wooden handles anymore) but still in nice shape.

That's all for today, but soon I will be posting some of the things I've made recently, and my homemade strawberry ice cream tutorial!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Double Rainbow Birthday Cupcakes

I know a very special girl who turned 3 this weekend, and she loves rainbows. Her dad is on deployment, so I wanted to make her something really awesome for her birthday and help out her mom, who is so busy. I have seen the rainbow cupcakes everywhere, but the idea for the sky frosting and rainbow candy I just saw the other day on another website, and I decided to try it. I think these turned out AWESOME, and the birthday girl loved them!

I just used a boxed cake mix and used a 1/4 cup measure to scoop batter into each bowl, until I ran out of batter (it is important that you have roughly the same amount of each color, or else your last few cupcakes will be purple, blue, green and yellow only ) You only put a tiny amount of each batter into the cupcake liners, and don't worry about spreading it out or anything, it all works out when they bake. Be careful not to overfill, because you can't take any batter out once you put it in! Also, food coloring gel works waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than liquid color, you need way less of it.

Once they were done, I let the cool completely, and since my frosting turned out to be yellow, not white like I thought, I dyed it blue, and then I used marshmallows to make the clouds. I microwaved them for about 10 seconds and then immediately put them on the cupcakes, in little clumps of 3. Without the microwaving, they just look like marshmallows, and if you wait too long, they start to get sticky and you end up having to scrape them off your fingers.

To make the rainbows, I got Airheads Extremes rainbow sour belts, at the Dollar Tree. Cut each strip in half, and gently pressed each end into the marshmallow clouds. Taa daa!

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Been A While

I haven't been on my blog in a few months, ever since my new addition. Having a toddler and a baby makes it tough to get more than a few moments alone. I thought I should start up again by sharing something totally amazing...my birthday cake.

It all started with a vision. Growing up, my mom started making me a birthday cake, chocolate with french vanilla or cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries. I got it every year, and started making it for my own birthday when I moved out. But lately, cake has seemed...boring. It's always dry, the frosting is too sugary, there isn't any filling, or the filling isn't any good, or the frosting is good, but the cake isn't, whatever. Cake was never perfect.

I saw a recipe for red velvet crepes a few days ago, with Nutella filling. I thought that sounded amazing, and considered making it for my birthday. Then I remembered the cake I loved growing up. I thought about the individual merits of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Cake, frosting, and filling.

And then my vision came.

I have never been good at making multi layer round cakes. One layer always ends up sliding off the other, and I can never get the frosting to cover the whole cake, it usually ends up sort of melting off. I tried some new ideas and got everything to come together exactly as I pictured.

I bought a boxed vanilla cake mix, cocoa powder, Nutella, strawberry flavoring, strawberries, and strawberry glaze. I had red food coloring on hand already. I also had 3 disposable 9" round cake pans. Here's how you make it:

Mix the cake according to directions, and divide 3 equal portions into separate bowls.

Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to one, 2 Tsp strawberry flavoring and some red food dye to the other, and leave one plain.

Pour each batter into its own greased and floured pan, and bake according to directed temp, but cutting the time down, since the cake will be thinner (it took mine about 20 mins instead of 30). You will have to bake two layers at once, and do the third after.

Let the cakes cool, put a plate over your cake pan, and flip to release the cake. If your layers are really high in the middle, saw a little off the top with a knife to even them out.

Put your chocolate layer on a serving platter, and cover with Nutella (I microwaved the Nutella for a few seconds which helped it spread). Put the vanilla layer on top of that and cover with cream cheese frosting. Put the strawberry layer on top, cover with strawberry glaze, and sprinkle with fresh strawberry chunks.

That's it! It was sooooo easy. I did everything up until glazing the top, and put the cake in the fridge overnight. It helped to keep the layers from sliding all over when I sliced it. It also helps to wipe off your knife after each slice, so you get a nice clean cut every time.

I love the Neopolitan ice cream look it had, and I thought it looked more classy without frosting on the outside. Plus, it was easier. I think this is going to be my birthday cake for the rest of my life.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some Vintage Goodies...

Just had to share some cute finds from this weekend! I got these two pairs of vintage heels in a junk shop for $5 each, and they had probably 10 more pairs, many in my size, but some as small as a 5 and others up to an 11. Many with original boxes! They were all shoved under a bench, I had to get on my knees and dig them out. I will be going back soon...

I also got these two super cute bakelite rings at my favorite antique store, they were $5 each as well. My husband and I figure we have easily spent over $500 there in the past 9 months, haha.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thrifting Scores

I took a trip to the big Value Village thrift store and found some AWESOME stuff, I am super excited about it.

Score #1 (and 2)

Two pairs of Converse for the kiddo, $3 each. I am still in the process of cleaning them, but every time H outgrows his Chucks, I go to this store and find 1-2 pairs. I think this makes 5-6 pairs I have found at this store in the past 9 months or so. The best part is that right now he wears an 8, and the green ones are 10, the black ones an 11. He grows like a weed, so now he has two more pairs, and I'm sure I will come across a size 9 somewhere in the meantime, tee hee.


Nine vintage sewing patterns, all my size or near it! There are shorts, pants, hats, dresses, lingerie, even a men's vest pattern. One of them is a Betsey Johnson pattern! And I know, the stupid price stickers on the patterns are a crime against man...I need to talk to the store manager about at least putting them on the back of the pattern or something. But at 69 cents each, who can complain? My favorite of all:

This blouse pattern from 1945. I don't know if you can see, but the waist is actually gathered and has a band that buttons in front! So cute. The price tag took off the pattern number and size, but once I peeled it off I could read the back of the sticker, and it's my size as well. Yaay!

Score #12

This vintage 60s day dress! Complete with matching belt!!!!! You never find dresses with the belt, and this one is so cool; look at that bow! It is my size too, I can't wait to wear it. The best part was that it was only $5!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cheap Shoe Makeover

So I bought these shoes for $3 at Walmart to go with a dress, and ended up not wearing them. I would never wear plain white flats otherwise, and these looked so cheap...probably because they were. I have seen painted shoes before, and I didn't have much to lose, so I decided to try a makeover. They turned out so well that I decided to share how to make them!

Large flat paint brush
Small flat detail brush
Acrylic paint
Paint sealer
Ugly pleather/synthetic shoes
Bows/charms/whatever to decorate

Make sure your shoes are clean before you start, so the paint will stick.
I just used some plain acrylic paint I had from Joann's:

And this great multi purpose sealer I got there as well.

I also had a flat tip paint brush, about 3/4" wide, and another about 1/4" wide. I used the large brush over most of the shoe, and the smaller one for the edges so I didn't smear paint on the fabric edge or the rubber.

Ok, so start with one coat of paint. Doesn't need to be even, and you can spread it thin. The first coat doesn't stick well, but that's why we do more than one.

Next, add another coat. You can put it on a little thicker this time, since it will stick better. It might look good enough, but we will do one more coat for insurance.

Finally, do a third coat. This should give you an even color all over.

Let your paint dry completely, and then move onto the sealer. It comes out white, but it dries clear. Brush it on thin, and go slow. It might bring up a little of the paint and look like it will be uneven or bubbly, but just brush in long, even strokes and it should look ok when it dries.

Next are the bows. I had a rectangle of wool felt, and I cut it in half to make two 3"x4" rectanlges.

Put two folds in your rectangle and pinch to make a bow. Take a 1/2" strip of felt and wrap it around a few times, stopping in the back.

Run a few stitches through the back of your bow with some embroidery floss (floss is made up of 6 strands, but I only used 3), making sure to catch both the bow and the strip.

If you want to sew on a charm, you can do that, too.

To sew your bow onto your shoes, use a needle with a big eye and a sharp point. You may want to grab a thimble to push the needle through. Starting on the inside of the shoe, go out through the pleather, catch the back of the bow, and go down and back through the pleather. Put about 3-4 loose stitches in, and carefully pull all the stitches taut and tie a few knots in your thread, and cut.

All done with your new shoes! I am really pleased with how these came out, and now I am going to scour my closet to see if I have any other shoes I can paint!

I wore these today to see how they held up, and despite rubbing them together and running into things, they have no scratches. That sealer is the key, it really makes them look nice and durable.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Toddler Sweatshirt To Hoodie Refashion

My son has a lot of ugly clothing. There are several hand-me-downs that just sit in his closet because I can't stand to put them on him unless they are to be used as pajamas. This sweatshirt is one of those things.

It's just so icky. I hate sweatshirts like this anyway, on anyone. They look so frumpy. But this one is even worse, because of my deep dislike for typical gender stereotypes. I'm pretty sure boys like things besides sports, construction equipment and licensed Disney characters...but I digress. Back to the tutorial!

I decided to turn this into a hoodie, because I have seen other people do similar projects that turned out great, and I bought a bunch of knit solids on clearance a while back and I wanted to see what I could do with them. I think I started with a 1/3 of a yard of red interlock knit, maybe 1/2, but I didn't use all of it, so I think 1/3 should be just fine. This is a 4T shirt, but it fit more like a 2/3T.

Ugly sweatshirt
Seam ripper
Thread (the color is up to you, I used black just for the heck of it)
1/3 yard or so of contrasting knit fabric (jersey, interlock, rib, it doesn't really matter, as long as it is somewhat similar in weight to your sweatshirt fabric)

Step 1: Grab your seam ripper and remove the sleeves, sleeve cuffs, and waistband, and open up the sleeve seam (you only need one, as it will just be a pattern piece). This will take a bit, so grab a drink, relax and take your time.

You should be left with the body, 2 sleeve cuffs, 1 opened sleeve, and your waistband.

Step 2: Fold your contrast fabric so that you are able to cut through 2 layers, and place your opened sleeve on top. Cut around the edges and you will have two new sleeves.

Step 3: To make the pieces of the hood, fold your shirt body up so that you have a side view (the shoulder armholes should be face to face on the inside). Lay your shirt on your contrast fabric, and mark the edge of the neckhole in back, plus a 1/2" or so seam alloance. Mark the edge in the front, plus a 1 1/2" seam allowance. Draw a curved line between your two marks to make the bottom of the hood.

I realize that a picture of this whole step would have been more helpful, but I'm sure you can figure out what I mean.

Step 4: Find a hoodie that fits your child, and lay the hood down so that you have your 1/2" allowance in the back, 1 1/2" in the front, and 1/2" at the neck. Trace around the hood, leaving the same 1/2" allowance. Cut your hood out.

Step 5: Fold your fabric so that you will be cutting out two pieces. Lay your waistband with the raw edge against the bottom of your contrast fabric, and mark the sides, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance. Pivot the waistband up, so that the raw edge is now facing the opposite direction, and mark along your raw edge, so you have two pieces that are double the heigh of the band. (Note: my waistband was sewn together pretty tight, so I had to do this to get double the height...if you take yours off and can open it up so that it is an unfolded tube, you can just mark along the top and bottom, and leave 1/2" allowance on the sides.)

Now you should have two hood pieces, two waistband pieces, two sleeves, and your wrist cuffs and shirt body.

Step 7: Sew around the curve of your hood.

Fold the raw edge of your face opening 1/2" over, toward the inside. Fold another 1/2" and pin, so that your raw edge will be encased. Sew your hem up 1/4" from the outer edge of the face opening.

Sew down your seam allowances on each side of the curve of your hood, about 1/4" from the seam on either side.

Step 8: Fold your sleeves in half and sew down the sides.

Grab the wrist cuffs you saved, and pin the raw edges to the raw edge of the sleeve, right sides facing together.

Sew about 3/8" from the edge, then fold the cuff up and point the seam allowance up towards the top of the sleeve. Sew about 1/4" from the sleeve/cuff seam.

Step 9: Take your waistband pieces and sew them together on each side. Fold your tube in half, so that the seams are on the inside, to form your waistband.

Align the raw edge of the waistband with the bottom of your shirt, side seams of the waistband lined up with the shirt seams. Sew around.

Flip the waistband open and point the seam allowance up toward the top of the shirt. Stitch the seam allowance down like you did with the sleeve cuffs.

Step 10: Flip your shirt body inside out, and your sleeves right side out. Place your sleeve in the armhole, with the seams aligned. Pin all around.

Sew your sleeves on, flip the shirt right side out, and point your seam allowance toward the neck of the shirt and sew down.

Almost there! You could stop here if you don't want to add the hood.

Step 11: Find the center back of your neck opening. Pin the RIGHT side of your hood to the WRONG side of the neck opening. (Note: Sorry, the shirt is facing right side out in this picture, and I flipped it inside out for the next picture. I should have just flipped it first and then started pinning, so the pictures would make sense. Oops!)

Pin the hood the rest of the way around, so that the edges of the hood meet in the front, but don't overlap. You may have to stretch the hood or the neck a bit to get them to align, but that's ok.

Now, set your machine to a zig zag stitch. IF YOU DON'T, YOUR NECK OPENING WON'T STRETCH! Remember, your kid needs to be able to fit their noggin through!

Sew a zig zag down the middle of your neck cuff, all the way around. I was lazy and just used some navy blue for my bottom thread and black for my top thread, so to have the black facing, I had to flip the shirt right side out and sew. Don't be like me; sew from the inside. It's much easier to keep your hood aligned with your neck hole if you can actually see the edge of the hood.

Done! If your child is going to wear a goofy sports sweatshirt, it might as well be as cute as you can make it, right?

This is my first full sewing tutorial, so I'm sorry if it doesn't make sense, or it's way too long, or whatever else. I welcome questions and comments!