Swap it Like It's Hot - Woven Tray Goes Geometric

Last year I came across Charlotte Smith's blog, Ciburbanity. In the process of stalking her posts I discovered her series "Swap It Like Its Hot." The premise: 40 bloggers shopping their local thrift stores and sending a handful of treasures under $15 to one of the other bloggers who then has to create something with the thrifty item(s) they received. I thought, "So basically we get to shop the thrift store (twist my arm!), mail it off, and then a box of happy thrift mail shows up on our own porch? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?!?

Apparently posting a comment on her site and begging to participate did the trick :) Charlotte was nice enough to include me in this year's Swap and it's been so fun! Obviously the best part was getting our items in the mail. Ashley from Simply Designing had the PERFECT reaction to her delivery of items: "You guys. I just got my box. And it even smells like a thrift store. How does that even happen?! It was like boxed up thrift store air. The cost of the goods shipped = around $10. Bottled up thrift store air = ‪#‎priceless‬." Ashley might have a business idea there... 

My box of goodies came from Nancy of Artsy Chicks Rule

I explained to C (my 6 year old) that I would have to DIY or repurpose some of the items for a project I was doing. so he started firing off genius ideas. "The woven tray could be a frisbee. The silver platter could be a super hero shield. The ampersand letter could be a track for a car, and the metal display frame could be turned sideways into a basketball hoop!" I love how he doesn't hem and haw... boom, boom, boom... done... move on. 

I on the other hand hemmed and hawed for a few weeks!!

I kept coming back to the woven tray because I have another one like it that I use in our living room to corral magazines, books and our channel changer (or Remote Control for those of you ((ahem...Kristin Rogers)) who don't know what a channel changer is). I love the geometric shape of it and thought it could make a cool piece of artwork.

Of course I hopped onto Pinterest and was inspired right away by this geometric tray made by Up In the Air Somewhere. I'm loving everything gold right now (like everyone else!), so gold and white were easy color options.

It took me awhile to wrap my head around how to measure and lay out my pattern with the tape. After trying about 6 times, I finally made sense of it. And don't ask me to try and explain it because:

Basically I made a single line down the center, and then I used those wrapped pieces of weaving along the border of the tray to determine my corners. (I'm getting anxiety just trying to explain this). And then after a section would dry, I'd add more tape, blah blah blah. 

It was a miracle, all the diagonal lines came out proportional!! 

I paired the tray with two of my other recent thrift finds and I think they make quite the happy little aztec-ish, geometric-ish, family.

Want to see what items I thrifted for Rachel at Shades of Blue Interiors? Head over to her blog and prepare to be amazed by her DIY skillzzzz! And random side note; If I still did Twinsie Tuesdays (which I may resurrect), Rachel would totally be paired with Amy Smart. 

See the list of links below to check out projects from all 40 participants. There's also a Swap It Like It's Hot Pinterest board where you can see swap transformations from the previous years!






Shopping at the NEW Goodwill in Cleveland (and soo much buffalo check!)

You know the feeling you get when you see an unexpected package on your porch? Or when you hear a knock at your door and you peek through the window to see a delivery person with flowers or a fruit bouquet, or a cookie bouquet!!!? This is exactly how I felt when Goodwill announced on Facebook that they were opening up a NEW store in Cleveland! 

It's located at the corner of Harvard and Lee in Cleveland at 4071 Lee Road and it opened up last Thursday. I wasn’t able to make it there on Thursday (which gave me major anxiety), but I made it there on Friday and it was like having an awesome date... with myself. Just me and my shopping cart and aisles and aisles and aisles of clothing and housewares to dig through! 

Like most Goodwill stores in the area, they separate all their clothes by style, size and color or pattern, which is super helpful if you have something specific you’re looking for! I’ve been on the hunt for a red buffalo check button-down so my first stop was to scan the patterned long-sleeve shirts. Do you see what I see… 

Miley Cyrus Buffalo Check Button Down Shirt | $3.50

Unfortunately it was a size too small. DANNNNNGIT!

I didn’t have anything else specific I was looking for so I just dug through all the clothes in my size and plucked out the pieces that caught my eye. This can be time consuming, but I find it relaxing... other than the pulsing shoulder ache that results from shoving clothes down a packed rack.

Here’s everything that made it’s way into the dressing room with me:  

After eliminating the things that didn’t fit, were unflattering, or that I knew wouldn't be worn often enough, I had it narrowed down to the pin-striped button down and the buffalo check skirt. 

Black Buffalo Check Skirt by Talbots | $6

I was on the fence with the buffalo check skirt so I used some lifelines and texted three people, all of whom had varying opinions! Dina sent me this pic and this pic from Pinterest and I was immediately SOLD! I shared the above pic on Instagram and got sooo many great suggestions on how to wear it. I'm definitely going to switch out the belt, and I'll probably get it shortened if it's not too expensive. 

The children’s section was my next stop. I’m always looking for new things to add to Baby B’s wardrobe since he wears all hand-me-downs that I'm tired of seeing for the THIRD time. I had no luck with the red buffalo check shirt for me... but looksie what I found for him!! 

Brand new Circo Red Buffalo Check Sweatshirt | $5.99

We could have been red buffalo check twinsies.

Now off to housewares, toys, and furniture! 

Soooooo many baskets. Like an entire aisle of baskets! Prices ranged from $8 for the larger ones to $2 for the smaller ones. These are perfect for houseplants (like this)... and a lot cheaper than new ones! 

Aren't these adorable toys for a little boy? Had it been closer to one of the kid's birthdays I definitely would've got that wooden truck.

Ahhhhhhh! Look at all this beautiful gold and copper! I limited myself to just one of the mini vases in the middle ($1) and that taller aztec patterned vase on the top right ($3).

The furniture and lamp section had a few gems. How about this aztec patterned couch?!! And I am KICKING myself for not following one of the key thrifting rules -- be prepared with necessary dimensions!!  We have a nook in our bedroom where we want to place a desk and this $25 one (bottom left) would have been perfect (painted of course) but I didn't have the dang dimensions for that nook! Wahhhhhhhh.

Next to the furniture sections was an insane amount of  Halloween stuff. Like two aisles of decorations and two aisles of costumes! 

I about died and went to pom pom heaven when I saw this Lalaloopsy costume!!! And of course it's yellow buffalo check! It was $7 and retails for $30

Then I asked myself why I was looking at a Lalaloopsy Halloween costume and knew it was time for me to go!! 

My final haul included:

Larger copper vase with aztec stamped pattern | $3
Talbots black buffalo check skirt | $6
Forever 21 pin-stripe button down | $4
Circo red buffalo check toddler sweatshirt | $5.99
Small copper vase | $1

If you make a visit to this new Goodwill store, I would love to hear/see what you found! And seriously, someone with a little girl needs to go buy that Lalaloopsy costume. 

**This post was sponsored by Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio, Inc. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Finally... A Decorated Living Room

Our living room has suffered an identity crisis for a very, very, long time. It’s gone through many attempted makeovers. The kind of makeovers where you have guests coming for dinner on Friday, and it’s Thursday night so you decide to scour your basement for picture frames that you can quickly nail to the wall, and then you head out to the store 30 minutes before it closes to buy a new lamp and some throw pillows, and maybe a new kitchen towel, and of course some more picture frames because the ones from your basement were kinda blah.

That’s how our living room got decorated for the last ten years! On the fly, with absolutely no plan.
Our living room is the hub of our home – I walk through it 187 times a day -- so I should probably like how it looks. 

I finally put some time into creating a plan for the room, then shopped accordingly -- both at retail stores and secondhand. The couch, pillows, curtains, and large wall mirror were all purchased new. Nearly everything else was purchased secondhand at thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales. Here’s how it looks today!

And for reference, here's a few before pictures:

Below I'm sharing 5 tips on how I finally got my act together and decorated our living room to feel much more modern and reflective of our style...while still being functional for three boys! 

I pinned my little heart out on Pinterest to gather inspiration and determine what style of room I wanted to create. I pinned a lot of living room photos, but I also pinned specific colors, textures, and furniture. Here’s a look at some of my inspiration:

Top: Nesting Place // unknown // Plateful of Love
Middle: GardenLife // Bluetique // unknown
Bottom: unknown // Velvet & Linen // Ciburbanity

The common theme is neutral colors like gray, white, and black with pops of copper, pink and turquoise. Also lots of textures from natural wood, lace, baskets, and live greenery.

Given my love of thrifting, I always have a collection of housewares stored in the basement. I first pull items from my "stock" before buying something new. Like this three tiered table! This was one of the first pieces of secondhand furniture I ever repainted. It’s been used in our kitchen, hallway and now in the living room. 

To give the space above the TV a little life I used fabric bunting that I had made for my fleamarket booth. The bunting was made using a thrifted lace table cloth, pillowcase, and sheets!

If I don’t have a list when I shop at the thrift store I either 1)get overwhelmed and give up, or 2) buy things I don’t need that don’t match my vision.

The corner of the room between the two windows originally just had a lamp, but I wanted to add some interest back there so I added to my list: shelving unit for corner. It took a few different visits to the thrift store, but I finally found this one at Goodwill Waterloo for $8! It was originally a brown faux wood laminate that now looks totally different with a coat of white paint.

Also on my list were copper accents, woven baskets and pink books – all of which I easily found at Goodwill.

Our living room is small and I wanted to make sure there was open space for the boys to do their favorite things -- hulk smash each other, jump off the couch into a swimming pool made from every. single. cushion. and. pillow., and of course breakdancing. That said, I kept furniture to a minimum so that they have a big, open space to practice their Austin Moon dance moves.

To avoid having extra furniture take up space, like a toybox, I used a secondhand vintage dresser for our TV stand that could double as toy storage. This is the same dresser I repainted for the Thrift Challenge last year. See the transformation here.

I also saved room by taking advantage of the empty space below the coffee table. This thrifted wire basket stores our blankets and fits perfectly in the space.

Instead of filling this open area with unnecessary furniture that would take up space, I added a large mirror to the wall, and included a $5 re-painted kids chair from Goodwill that the kids can easily move around for extra seating and/or a diving board.

On the large wall above our couch we originally had 3 picture frames hung horizontally in a row. I was pretty bored with it so I searched my Pinterest boards for inspiration. I loved how people were using large, unique statement pieces above their couches. I saw maps, old windows, big mirrors, and oversized artwork. When I stumbled upon this huge, vintage chalkboard at Goodwill Streetsboro for $8, I knew I had found my statement piece!

Our plan with the chalkboard was to put new inspirational/motivational words up there at the beginning of each month. I took this first message to heart and approached all projects slowwwwwwwwly, thus this message is still up 6 months later. Time to switch it up for the second half of the year. Maybe a special message for the boys... "No Lifeguard on Duty. Swimming Prohibited." 

Hope these tips were hepful for anyone else stuck in a decorating rut. To recap: 
1 – Gather Inspiration and create a vision
2 – Shop your house
3 – Create a List
4 – Think about function
5 – Make a statement 


Are you a thrifter? Or do you want to try thrifting (but not do it alone?) Come hang out with Dina and I at 6PM TOMORROW NIGHT (Friday 8/21) at Goodwill Waterloo for a Thrift Night Out! We'll have a light dinner, we'll share tons of thrifting ideas for your home and wardrobe, and then the best part... we'll shop the store! Register here. Hope to see you!

No-Sew Patriotic Pillow Covers Made from Thrifted Shirts

I’m back with another easy no-sew pillow cover tutorial that uses fabric from thrifted clothes. Remember this one I made last Fall with the Aztec patterned skirt? It was so well received – even being featured on the national Goodwill blog – that I thought I’d give it another go with some summer-themed fabrics for our front porch.

I wanted the fabric to have a 4th of July vibe with stars and stripes, but not with the traditional red white and blue color combo. Our front door is painted a turquoise color, and I’m all about pink right now, so I went hunting at Goodwill Northfield with those two colors in mind. Here’s what I found:

No luck finding anything striped in my color scheme, but I was excited to find the two star patterned shirts!

To make the pillow covers, follow these steps:
1: Measure your pillows
2: Cut two pieces of fabric approx. 1 to 2 inches larger than the size of your pillow. One piece for the front, one piece for the back.

3. Place your fabric together (good sides facing each other).

4. Place a strip of stitch witchery in between the two pieces of fabric along the border.

5. Lay a damp rag on top of all three layers (fabric, stitch witchery, fabric) then place your hot iron on the rag and let stand for 45 seconds. I had my iron set to 5 on steam.

6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 on three sides of the pillow. Leave the 4th side open

7. With all three sides fused together, flip the cover inside out (now your good sides should be on the outside), and stuff your pillow inside.

8. The last step is to close your 4th side. This took a little bit of finagling, but you’ll want to fold those edges in a bit, and then repeat steps 4 and 5 while your pillow remains inside. I did this part in small sections using just 2” of stitch witchery at a time.

9. Toss the pillows on your furniture! All done.

**This post was sponsored by Goodwill Industries of Akron. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.