For the Love of Thrift

February 4, 2011

I met Jen several years ago when we lived down the street from each other.  Our first babies were born just a few months apart, and we quickly bonded over the important issue of what to do while the kids were napping.   In case it's not clear what this might be, we both love to sew.  It was even more fun for us when she moved next door and I could appropriately admire her latest project, and she mine, with greater ease.  One the reasons I love to sew is the external gratification, also known as praise, that comes with it.  And I couldn't have asked for a more excited and supportive cheerleader than Jen.   

Since my kids can't sleep all day, and therefore I can't sew all day either, one of the other things that I love to do is thrift shop.  I have been a thrift shopper for as long as I've been a shopper at all.  I have fond memories of searching the racks for vintage clothing in junior high school, and now that I have a place to decorate and kids to clothe, I still love the hunt.  I think it's part necessity and part addiction that fuel this flame, but I can't get enough of the rush that comes from finding something amazing for just a few dollars.   Let's look at some of my favourite finds, shall we?

Orange Lockers

After graduating from college with liberal arts degrees, I quickly found a job, but it took several months for my husband to find something permanent.  During those months of job searching, he started stopping by our local thrift store on a daily basis to look for furniture to spruce up our new little apartment.  When he spotted these orange lockers, he knew he hit the jackpot.  I love everything about these lockers, the sound of them opening and closing, the worn out paint, the bright orange colour, and it's been fun to try and incorporate them into our living room decor.

Blue Canvas Love Seat

Our last couch died (more on that later when I show you what I have done with the salvaged fabric).  This meant we were now in the market for something new to sit on.  I wanted something comfortable as well as fairly neutral to work with our eggplant purple chair and the bright orange lockers.  We found this little sofa at our local Salvation Army for $30 and it is the perfect fit in our small space.  And besides, blue is neutral, right?   


Since I love to sew, fabric is one of my very favourite things to buy.  And when it is combined with thrift shopping, it is the stuff of dreams.  And I mean that quite literally.  I've had dreams recently of buying fabric at the thrift store, and they were happy ones!  Not all thrift stores will have fabric yardage, but I'm surprised at how often I find it.  I'm always on the hunt for wool suiting, knits, and vintage sheets to use in projects.  Or to store in my ever growing fabric collection. 

Kids Ceramic Tea Set

I hunted for several months for a tea set for my son to play with, and I finally found the perfect one at my local Goodwill.  I almost left the shop without all the pieces since they were displayed in different aisles, but I spotted a few additional pieces on my way out the door.  I love the bright colours of the set, and I couldn't have found a better match for my own kitchen if I had tried (see the following photo of my own kitchen canisters). 

White Milk Glass Punch Bowl with Raised Grape Pattern

I have always been really attracted to bright colours and bold graphic designs, so it can be hard for me to decorate with neutrals or limit my colour pallet.  For example, I consider my blue couch 'neutral', (although Martha agrees with me on this point).  In any case, I wanted to find a white glass fruit bowl to bring some design harmony into my kitchen.  On one of my weekly trips to Salvation Army I fell in love with this unique punch bowl with a set of 8 matching punch glasses.  Considering that anything new would have been at least $20 from TJ Maxx or Marshalls, this was a bargain at $6. 

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