Southern-style thrifting.

I’ve said before that the thrifting here isn’t that great and that hasn’t changed. However, with enough persistance you can still luck out at our local Goodwill. I confess to buying a few baby items before I ever got pregnant, but as soon as I found out we were expecting I started looking in earnest. (No, we don’t know yet if we’re having a boy or a girl. But at 99 cents apiece, I decided to start a dress + romper stockpile that can be saved for future babies if they don’t work for this one.)

Little sailor suit.

This is one of the few boy-ish outfits I’ve found so far…is it just me, or is it much harder to find cute clothes for boys?


I think this little sailor suit is soooo cute, though, that I’d probably put it on a girl with white patent leather shoes.

Shirt with blue piping.

You can’t tell in the photo, but this shirt has adorable blue piping around the collar.

Handknit sweater.

I always always look for handknits — I figure that each sweater I find saves me 25 hours of knitting. I found another one today that’s also yellow but is worked differently around the collar and sleeves.

Cardigan with flowers.

This little vintage sweater has tiny pink roses on the front. (Lish, for some reason it reminds me of one of yours…did you have a grown-up version of this?)

Gingham + smocking.

This brand-new smocked dress came with a little sun hat and bloomers. All for 99 cents.

Baby Dior.

This Baby Dior outfit will go with all of the Daddy Dior shirts that husband has been collecting for $3 apiece.

The pink romper.

One of my favorite smocked pieces ever! I thought it was vintage, but then I discovered that this sort of style is still popular in the south — our local Dillards and children’s boutiques have little white smocked dresses and rompers for $30 and up.

I heart smocking.

This last romper is (I think) my very best find.

The yellow romper.

Check out the giraffes!

Embroidered giraffes.

I could put this on a boy or girl baby, right? Because I might not be able to put it in a box if we have a boy.

My thrifty husband strikes again.

I realize that I haven’t had any thrifting posts for a long time. This is partly due to the fact that I am trying to cut down on accumulation but also — and more importantly — to the fact that the baton has been passed to husband. Seriously, people, the man comes up with much better stuff than I ever did. I admit that he’s not scrounging the housewares section for cast off Heath ceramics, but his fortune in clothing + accessories knows no bounds. Recent finds in our [backwoods, poverty-stricken] local thrift stores have included shirts by Christian Dior and Brooks Brothers, suit jackets by Brooks Brothers and Barney’s, Diesel jeans, and a pair of 7 for All Mankind jeans (for $2!). Most of these fit him, and the ones that don’t he plans to resell for a tidy profit.

Yesterday, however, he made a little thrifting pilgrimmage to Coeur D’Alene and came back with what we think is his best find yet. And he gave it to ME.

The magic letters.

The magic tag.

The grand total? $10.

Our best thrifting find ever. 

I love this man.

Dish week, day 3.

Wednesday brings me to my absolute favorite dishes of all time. Oh, and did I mention that I happen to own them?

My dear, dear mother found this set at the Goodwill before Josh and I were married. (They must have just brought out the box, because by the time I get there the china section consists of Shopko rejects and non-charming vintage ware.) Anyhow, mum bought it all and instead of hoarding it for herself, she gave it to me! What a woman!!

My absolute favorite dishes of all time...and I happen to own them!

When it came time for Josh and I to register at Macy’s, I just couldn’t convince myself that I liked any of their china better than the stuff I already owned. That plus the fact that it was ridiculously expensive encouraged us to simply not register for dishes and make do with these and another coordinating vintage set that I picked up a few months later. We have broken one bowl (sniff) and there are a lot of little cracks and chips in various pieces, but I still think it’s the perfect set. I even have bread plates. :)


The yellow cups are part of the coordinating set I mentioned…I found a big box of plates with a big yellow + black flower pattern, yellow bowls, and these cups and creamer/sugar set. Rather 1950s cafe meets Martha Stewart, don’t you think? I will (alas) probably sell them if/when we move, but for now they are the perfect set for lots and lots of guests. Which we have from time to time.

Okay, Mackenzie posted about her amazing plates today and you should definitely take a look. And designonpost put up lovely pics of some of her plates. The plate with the thumb cut-out is amazing!  Tanaudel also pointed out design*sponge’s modern china roundup, which might be a BAD place to visit if you have expensive taste and a small pocketbook. Not that any of us are in that situation. Ahem.

Dish week, day 2.

I thought about titling this post “What, she still thrifts?” but my jury’s still out on using “thrift” as a verb. It’s one thing to say that you went thrifting on Saturday, but I still can’t wrap my head around some of the stranger ways in which I’ve seen it used.

Okay, on to the dishes. I spotted these as soon as I stepped through the door of Palouse Treasures last Friday (mum, these are the ones I was telling you about).  They were spread all over a small shelf to full advantage – isn’t that much nicer than splitting a set up and requiring the poor customer to search every nook and cranny for one more plate? Yes, I did search just in case, but I didn’t find any more.

My new thrifted dish set.

The dishes are fairly old (50s, maybe?) and not in particularly good condition, but I count that as a plus since it means that I’m not afraid to use them. Only the plates have a marking underneath — American Ironstone. I think that’s actually the maker of my other favorite set of dishes as well, so they seem to have turned out some nice patterns. Don’t you just love the blue flowers?!

More cups to add to my collection.

The only downside to the purchase was that someone got a little carried away with the tagging machine about put 3 or 4 or 5 price stickers on every singe piece. As in, one on top, one on each side, and one on the bottom. This may seem like a mild annoyance, but it took about an hour to scrape all of them off and I still have a lot of sticky messes to deal with.

I was growing a little upset about this when Josh pointed out that the thrift store employs a number of mentally handicapped people and that they are probably responsible for tagging items. Er, I repent of my bad feelings. But it was still a lot of labels.

Any more dish sets out there…?

The market and a new chair.

I got my photos up on Flickr yesterday but couldn’t find the time to write a post..sorry! I’m so excited to show you my new weekend find (can I call it “thrifting” when I got it for free?). But first, some photos from Saturday’s farmer’s market.

Abby, Hannah, and Laura were gone, so Mackenzie Miller and Bethany Hicks and helped Liz and I fill out our table.

New purses.

Mackenzie’s purses, little girls’ shirts, and flopsy bunnies were a very popular addition. (One of the bunnies kept my new cards company.)

Bunny and the new birdy cards.

Many small customers stopped to inspect the merchandise.

Inspecting the merchandise.

Bethany made the dog leashes, which were quite attractive to people who owned only cats (“I’d buy one but I don’t have a dog…”). Dog owners, where were you?

New dog leashes and another bunny.

We had a good time hanging out, which somewhat compensated for the lack of buying customers. I think the Sing & Shout girls are slowly coming to conclusion that people come to the market to buy food, not handcrafts (I guess that’s why it’s called the Farmer’s Market, huh?). Quite frankly, I’m not sure it’s worth our time to go very often unless we know that there will be more people. Perhaps when the students come back in August? I’m pinning more of my hopes on the Lentil Festival or the fall Arts & Crafts Fair, where – I hope – people are really looking for gifts or souvenirs.

But enough of the market – on to my new chair!

New chair (free!).

I’ve been looking for a little midcentury chair for a while now. My criteria were that it had to be small (can’t fit a big stuffed chair in the living room), comfortable, and having a wood frame. Oh, and cheap. And no shipping costs.  That sounds easy, right?

I regularly scan the furniture on our local Craigslist, the Goodwill and couple of other thrift stores but never found the perfect chair. Until my friend Alisha and I went to Palouse, WA, last Saturday to check out the big antique store there (the “Open Eye”). As we walked up, a man was putting a couple of pieces of furniture on the sidewalk with a free sign on them. I immediately see the chair and my heart skips a beat.

[Paraphrased conversation]
Me: “Um, is this furniture really free?”
Him: “Yes, we’re moving to a new building down the street and want to get rid of it.”
Me: {Gulp} “Including the blue chair?”
Him: “Yep – do you want it?”
Me: Lots of nodding.

Hurray!! And that’s not even the best part – when I flipped the chair over to put it in the car I found an extra surprise. It’s a genuine Knoll! I don’t know the designer, but I found a chair with the exact same back on an office-style wheel base selling for $225 on ebay. I mean, it’s no Eames, but I really like it. And it’s comfortable. Ahhhh. I don’t know how anyone could think that God does not care about thrifting when He pretty regularly throws great things on the sidewalk right in front of our feet.

The surprise underneath.


I almost forgot one last weekend project. (If you can’t tell, the weekend was more about house-ing than crafting, including some much-needed vacuuming and scrubbing.) After bringing the chair home on Saturday afternoon, I decided that the time had come to do something about our highly-visible and rather messy bookshelves. So, I pulled all the books off and began color-coordinating them. It’s still a work in progress and I in no way claim to be the originator of this idea, but I really like the way it turned out. Yes, it will be harder to find things, but arranging books by color instead of subject brings out new – and slightly strange – relationships between them (Complete Guide to Papillons next to True Spirituality?) and helps you to decide whether or not you really need all of them after all (Dad? Mom?). I highly recommend it.

Reorganized bookcase.

More thrifting luck.

I was going to post about a lovely little art gallery that Josh and I visited in Palouse, WA, but the gallery’s got to wait because I’ve had another bout of thrifting luck. We lined up early for a small estate sale yesterday evening, and as a result I was the fourth person in the door (which has never happened before). I’ve recently learned that the key to successful estate sale-ing is to grab first and contemplate later. I used to feel like this was unnecessarily greedy, but I’ve noticed that “she who hesitates is lost” as other people have no qualms about camping out on an entire section and telling you it’s theirs.

So, when I spotted a pile of pretty fabric in the bedroom I stuffed it in my bag. A couple of old dishtowels, too. And then there was that lamp on the desk downstairs, which looked like it might be promising. I carried my prizes out to the door, haggled a little on the price (another first!), and hoped that $15 wasn’t too much for what might turn out to be a pile of really ugly stuff.

It wasn’t.

New dresses.

For starters, the pile of pretty fabric turned out to be three dresses. At first I was a little disappointed, but then I realized that the dresses looked like they might actually fit me (vs. the size 2 petites that I usually find). I tried them all on, and they do! They have a pretty dated fit, but I’m wearing the blue one today and it’s really light and summery. The one with the large lace collar is especially cute.

New dresses (detail).

I also discovered that the tea towels aren’t in the best shape, but they’re wonderfully soft after 30 or 40 years of use. I think I’m going to use them as…tea towels. Yup. I sometimes get so carried away being “creative” that I forget that I can use something for its original purpose.

Tea towels and table runner.

I also nabbed a couple of pieces of barkcloth that look like the leftovers from curtains in a children’s room. Not sure what to use these for, yet.

Barkcloth scraps.

Finally, I found something I’ve been wanting for months: a table lamp for the white cabinet in our living room. I didn’t like any of the the local Ross or Wal-Mart options and we don’t have a Target, so I’ve been regularly checking all the local thrift stores. Nothing seemed just right until I found this one sitting on a desk at the estate sale and decided it would do. Ever since then, I’ve been loving it more and more. I even love the yellow drum shade. It’s all perfect.

The perfect lamp.

I think this is my only thrifting for the weekend because I’ll be at the Farmer’s Market all Saturday morning. If you’re local, please drop by and say hello! (Absolutely no pressure to buy anything, by the way – it’s just fun to see people I know.) I’ve got lots of new bibs and birdie cards, so I’m thinking it will be a pretty good day.

I hope you have a good weekend.

Some thrifting luck.

My mother and I meet for coffee after work on Tuesdays, and we usually head to one of the local thrift stores after we’ve chatted for a while. Yesterday we somewhat randomly decided to go the the larger of the 2 Pullman options (“Palouse Treasures,” located behind Dissmores). We were performing our usual amble around the first floor when my embroidery beeper went off in the direction of the “misc tablecloths” box, which had an awful lot of fabric tucked in clear plastic bags. I opened one up and stifled the urge to shriek.

Tableclothes? Nope.
Vintage pillowcase in perfect condition with intricate hand embroidery? Yep.
More than one? Yep.
Price? $2 each.


There are times when I just can’t figure out why on earth someone has given something to the thrift store. It’s one thing if it’s an estate sale and cousin Billy didn’t look through the linen cupboard very carefully. But who in their right mind would pull these beauties of the closet, think “Huh, don’t need those anymore,” and stuff them in a bag headed for Palouse Treasures??


The embroidery is impeccable (even the back side looks good!) and the edges have what looks like hand-crocheted trim all the way around.


The cotton is unstained and softened from years of washing.


In addition to the these (because when it rains it pours), I also picked up a couple of cute printed pillowcases and some lovely sheets to use for fabric.


And a really adorable half apron.


And a really cute vintage tv tray that I forgot to photograph.


I’m thinking this ranks up there with the Great Palouse Thrifting Venture of 2006, when mum and I wandered into the community thrift store in Palouse right after someone brought in BOXES of vintage linens and tablecloths. The incredibly kind person running the store (who has not been there since) let us go in the back and rummage to our hearts’ delight. I only came away with one tablecloth that I gave as a wedding present, but mom got some real jewels for a couple of bucks.

I have to say that one of the reasons why I felt so lucky was that my mother was standing right next to me, admiring everything that I pulled out of the bin. My mother is the best thrifting buddy ever. I should have put up a nice mother’s day post about that, because I rarely – if ever – shop as well by myself as I do with her. Mom makes every good find seem better and every item returned to the shelves seem like something I really didn’t need anyway. The pillowcases probably wouldn’t have been there (or I would have just bought one and spent all night regretting it) if mom hadn’t been with me. :)

Tomorrow, I’ll have some pics of a really cute pillowcase purse that I put together last night when I should have been sewing bibs. (No, not those pillowcases…I’m going to save the embroidered ones for a) my children or b) a really extraordinary idea.) I think you’ll like it too.

P.S. Husband just posted a list that includes his recent thrifting luck. After weeks of lousy Goodwill shopping, he found 13 or 14 really good CDs for $2 each. As in, CDs that you would buy for $15 each and not feel bad about it. The lucky thrifting stars have been shining above the Gibbs’s apartment this week.