Spotted: Goodwill

I’ve always had this desire to go to thrift stores on a regular basis and take a picture of everything that catches my eye, only to come back home and blog about what exactly went through my head about each item or why it was so great.  My hope for you, my loveliest readers, is that I can inspire you to go into a thrift store with an open mind and sharp eyes and find some treasures for yourself.  So, I’m doing it and I’m starting on this lovely Saturday night.  The tots are sawing twigs, football is on the tube, and my better half at my side.  Consider this the first of the series.  Hopefully I’ll stick with it but that all depends on how often I can get to the thrift store alone or how often I can get to the thrift store with kids in tow and snap some pictures.  It’ll all be nice and spontaneous-like.

So, the day was yesterday.  The kids didn’t really nap and by the time they could’ve, it was too late and a nap would’ve eaten into bedtime so, we hit up Goodwill. 

Here’s what I spotted:

These two, lidded dishes:  IMG_1835They were both vintage glass and the colors were amazing.  The green one had a small piece chipped off the very top of the dish but a little strategic placement would’ve hidden it nicely.  I came thisclose to buying the yellow one to put jewelry, bobby pins, and other little things in next to my bathroom sink but then I didn’t.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the picture on top so my thought was to spray paint the lid either copper or gold to match the metallic trim around the actual dish.  Either one would look beautiful on a shelf though on top of some books or just by themselves.  They were both $2.99, if I’m remembering correctly. 

These glass votives:
I loved how vibrant the colors were and they were thick, bubbled glass.  They didn’t have a price tag on them but I’m guessing it probably would’ve been under $5 for the whole set.  They’d make a pretty addition to a spring or summer tablescape.

This little vase:
I think I just love all things geometric so the shape stood out first but the color of the glass was so beautiful and could bring an earthy tone into a space.  I thought it’d be really sweet with a succulent living inside and placed on a windowsill.  I think it was $1.
These brass beauties:
Brass is in people and these three were the epitome of why.  They were beautiful!  All three would make one bathroom countertop very happy…or a shelf display…or anywhere really.  Seriously beautiful. 

These two lamps:
Gosh, I love lamps.  I don’t know that there’s ever been a single time I’ve gone into a thrift store and not spotted at least one cool lamp.  But these two…I loved the idea of painting the thin, silver and gold one on the left copper or even a more champagne gold.  Or even keeping the silver and painting the gold copper?  I mean, even in some bold color it would exude ‘sleek’.  It’d make an amazing desk lamp.  The soft green color of the one on the right was beautiful.  And there’s that brass again and it was such a gorgeous hue of it.  The soft green plus the brass?  Got me.  Set it on a bedside table or dresser paired with a creamy white drum shade and it would hold it’s own. 

This oval bowl:
This is another one I almost bought.  The silver was so pretty and I thought it would be look great somewhere on our living room shelves…and then I heard a crash two feet away which sent me wondering what the…my kids.  Plastic office supplies.  Everywhere. 

Forget the bowl.  We are leaving.  But then on our way out I spot…

These vases and goblets:
Argh…the colors got me at first sight.  I wanted them SO BAD!  But I didn’t need them so I walked away.  Not to mention that my kids were done.  Upon (a very quick) close inspection though, I realized the vases had been painted on the insides which got me thinking about how many clear vases there are to be found in every thrift store that could easily be transformed into vases as pretty as these with just a little paint.

And that was it.  Had I been alone I might’ve moseyed into the clothing and taken some pictures there but we’ll just have to keep that for next time. 

Happy Saturday night.  Say a prayer Notre Dame can come back and beat Clemson, will ya?  ;)  

The Inspired Coffee Table

She painted the underside of the glass, my friend Lauren. 


A couple of weeks ago we went over to spend time with some of our bestest friends and there in the middle of their den was this gorgeous, new coffee table.  I just assumed they got it at some cool store and maybe it was even one-of-a-kind (and it is!).  That cool store happened to be her Grandmother’s house and the one-of-a-kind piece it is is because Lauren made it that way.  She took the hand-me-down table and painted the underside of the glass so that it looks like a beautiful, saturated, minty green sea set atop the original creamy white base.

IMG_1774By painting the underside, the green shows through the slightly mottled top but it won’t scratch, like paint can do very easily on glass.

I loved it.  I loved it so much I had to do it.  The next week, this coffee and end table set popped up on my go-to, second-hand sale site and I snatched them up real quick like, and for only $35.

My plan was to paint the coffee table just like Lauren did hers and turn the end tables into stools for another project.  We don’t have a need for another coffee table since I’m not ready to part with our tufted ottoman but I thought, since I needed the end tables, it’d be fun to do a little makeover for someone else.  (Stay tuned for the end tables…they’re too big to be stools like we wanted so we’re going to keep them end tables.)

So, first I removed the glass (which was just set in) and gave the whole base a quick coat of primer.  The legs of the table were wood while the rings were metal so I used Rust-Oleum Clean Metal primer* (cheap if you add it to an existing Amazon order!)   IMG_1647
To make sure I got every inch of the table, including the tough to reach areas under the rings, I first turned it upside-down and sprayed what I couldn’t easily get while it was right-side-up.

Then I turned it over, set the legs on some pieces of cardboard so the very bottoms wouldn’t get missed (since I was using a sheet as ground cover), and primed the rest.
And then I repeated the same process with the spray paint.  I used Rustoleum’s Heirloom white.  It’s a beautiful creamy white – not too ivory and not glaringly white.
Last, for the base at least, I added a little more interest by giving it a slight distressing.  Basically I put some very fine sandpaper onto a palm sander (that we’re still borrowing from a friend two years later…Thanks Gina!) and went around gently tapping it to the edges/corners of the base.  I didn’t sand along every edge fully but very sporadically.  This close-up shows the variation – some corners are sanded, some still are painted:
Next up was the glass top.  After a good cleaning on both sides, I turned it over so that it was upside-down on our kitchen table to be painted.  The underside of this glass was frosted which I wasn’t aware of until I went to grab the tables.  No big deal but I would’ve preferred clear.  The fact that it was frosted though meant that whatever color I painted onto it would appear a tad more subdued from above; like a filter was placed over the paint.  So, I made sure that the color I used was a little more saturated than I want it if I were painting over clear glass.

As for the color, I loved Lauren’s minty green (she used Martha Stewart chalkboard paint from Michael’s) so I made a similar color by adding the green color I painted these lamps to an almost-empty bottle of white acrylic paint I had on hand.  To paint the glass, I used a foam pouncer (from my trusty Martha Stewart set*).
Basically, I just squirted the paint onto the glass and swirled it around.  I worked in fairly large sections until the whole thing was covered.
IMG_1662 You can see a video of me swirling the paint around here.

Here’s what it look liked after it dried and was placed back on the base:
The color looks a little more blue in the above pic vs. the truer-to-life color it is two pictures above but you can see the swirl effect.

It gave a fun effect however, I think I would’ve preferred it to be one solid color.  I didn’t know before I started if you’d be able to see the swirling or not once the glass was on the table since it didn’t really have light shining through it but you can.  I’m thinking of possibly doing the same thing to the glass on the end tables and for those, I’ll roll the paint on for a more solid look.

Backing up a tad though, before I placed the painted glass back onto the table, I placed rubber bumpers onto each leg, where the glass rested.  There were bumpers there before but one was missing and they were really dirty so I just grabbed some we had leftover from past cabinet transformations.
Here’s the full monty: 
Shortly after I finished, I listed it for sale and she went right out the door.  :)

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So, painting glass.  Have you tried it?  I know it scratches off pretty easily so you have to either seal it or paint glass that won’t be touched.  I’ve painted behind the glass of picture frames before (here and here) but Lauren’s idea of painting the underside of a glass table was genius!  Think of all the options!  You could wash and repaint for every holiday and season!  Solids, patterns, abstract, a stencil…the options are endless!   

*affiliate links to items I used – if you purchase through my affiliate link, we’ll get a small commission but your price won’t be affected at all!  Thanks for supporting us!

Yard Fail

I learned two weekends ago that I am a yard ‘saler’ but I am no yard ‘seller’.  We tossed a bunch of stuff out on our front lawn painfully early Saturday morning and there I sat until 2ish.  The weather was just great and the traffic was flowing but the people. were. so. stingy.  I know what you’re probably thinking, “But aren’t you pretty stingy yourself?”.  Yes, I am and I have a tight budget to thank for that.  But I also know that when we’re talking second-hand sales, there are fair prices.

For example, I had out these two big, framed watercolors:
watercolor   They were donated from someone in our church to be sold to raise funds for our parish’s mission trip and since Anthony was in charge of the mission trip and these two were left over from that yard sale this past summer, we thought we’d try to sell them at our house and put the proceeds away for next year’s trip.  They are original watercolors in nice, matted frames and they’re like 24”x 18”.  I was asking $5 each!…already a STEAL!  A lady came up during my yard sale and asked if I’d give both of them to her for $5!  Now I’m not against a little haggling now and then but haggling has it’s place amongst higher prices and car dealerships.  So, she wanted them both for a flat $5.  She must’ve noticed my eyebrow raise and maybe that’s what made her give me a dissatisfied “no” and walk away when I asked her if she’d instead give me $8 for both - $4 each.  NO?!  Are you kidding me?  I was a little shocked (but kind of happy too because I secretly want the one on the left…just need to find a spot for it). 

Anyway, maybe I shouldn’t be so shocked since I’m not really a seasoned yard “seller” and maybe that is just the name of the game.  The motto of this story?  Well, take the words of my wise friend Linsey - having your own yard sale is only worth it if you’re setting out stuff that’s on it’s way out the door to be donated anyway.  Sell the stuff you’re expecting fair prices for online – eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook sites.

I was a little frustrated at the end of my sale that day but what made everything better was waltzing over to my next-door neighbors sale and spending $2 for four items.

I got these two little bowls:
IMG_6471The blue one was 10 cents and the striated cream one was 25 cents but I gave her $1 since I had zero change on me!  I nested them and set them up on the living room shelves (bottom left in this pic).

I also got this faceted glass bowl for $1:
IMG_6475It’s also on the shelves and currently watering a small branch from a front-yard tree.  Originally I thought maybe I’d turn it into a pendant light but we’ll see…

The last thing I got was this big basket:
IMG_6478 She had it listed for $3 and I had my eye on it all day, hoping no one would buy it so I could shoot over and do so.  When I did get to it, my sweet neighbor wouldn’t take the cash I was holding out to her so I ended up not paying a cent for it.

Praise the Lord for great neighbors who turn your yard-sale-frustration-induced frown upside-down, right?!

What is your experience with yard sale-ing?  Have you had the same seller woes?  Or maybe you’ve made out like a bandit?  Or, maybe you’re just a bonified yard saler and only go, not host.

I ended up making $55 on my own stuff that morning and still had over half of it leftover.  For the mission trip though (we had a lot of stuff for that out), I made $125 so I can’t really say it wasn’t totally worth it.  :)

Just Couldn’t Swing It

Remember back last year when I spray painted these swings for the girls?PicMonkey Collage 
As cool as the idea was and as gung-ho as my attempt was to make them more neutral for Sebastian’s sake and our backyard’s, it failed because these days they’re looking pretty darn sad:
IMG_1687Either that or somebody had a pink paint gun party in our backyard without me knowing.  I wouldn’t put it past the twins…

So, I’m just going to go ahead and say that Krylon’s plastic spray paint does NOT, in fact, work.  Or, maybe it does work but on top of a coat of primer (the can says priming is not needed on most pieces).

Unfortunately, we’ll never find out.  I think we’ll just end up power-washing the spray paint off and selling them so that we can maybe make a couple of these:HangingChair1 [Image and tutorial over at The Merrythought]

Although I think the fight to swing next might be between the parents and the kids vs. just the kids because they’re super cool, no?  Or maybe I can convince Anthony to make several and hang one in every room indoors?  Dream on Sheena.

I’m not sure how “high in the sky!” you could get in them though so maybe a couple of these would be better for adventurous toddlers?  Sebastian on the other hand fa-REAKS out if you push him greater than a twelve-inch span front to back, so lounging in a diy swing would be right up his alley.  Or he could just take up residence in this tire swing* we recently bought so that the girls could swing together.

Whatever way we end up swinging, I’ll be sure to give an update.  We still have a couple of months of great outdoor weather down here so time is on our side.  :)

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*affiliate link to product we purchased 

DIY Tablet Mount

While our swagger wagon is in the body shop getting all fixed up (we were rear-ended a few weeks ago) and we’re driving a nice rental van complete with a dvd system, I thought it would be the perfect time to tell you what we do sans dvd player in our van when we need one…like for road trips.

Two years ago, when we were on the hunt for a bigger vehicle to accommodate baby #3, we had a list of things we wanted and didn’t want – this color or this color, none of these colors, leather for easy clean-up, and low mileage on our new-to-us, used vehicle.  On that list at first was “NOT a minivan” and low and behold, that’s what we ended up getting thanks to their lower costs and better gas mileage.  Also not on our list was a dvd system.  It’s not that we think they’re bad because they’re quite handy at times but the thought of dealing with two (later three) toddlers screaming to watch a movie on the five-minute drive to the grocery store did not sound fun to me.  Plus, we had a portable dvd player that my in-laws had given us that worked just fine…except that the first time we used it on-the-go in the van by propping it up on the folded-down middle seat, Seraphia got car sick watching a movie and before we could gage what exactly was going on with her whiny demenear…well, you can imagine.  Thank God for the tiny gas station bathroom that washed all of her stomach contents off her person.  We needed something else by way of tv.  Something that eventually all rows would be able to see and that was where a car television should be – up high and towards the front.

So, last Christmas we used some gifted cash to buy this refurbished Kindle Fire*, found this case* for it at Dirt Cheap for $4 (it’s a really awesome case!), and figured out a FREE way to attach it to our sun roof for optimum viewing for all strapped toddlers. 

Here’s how…

[By the way, if you think I’m cray for writing about this, I probably am.  Ha!  But, let me tell you, I scoured the internet for days before we made a road trip that we needed this to happen for this past summer and there was zilch.  Now that we’ve concocted our own solution, I thought maybe it’d be helpful to the two or three other peeps out there searching for a similar solution!  :)   ]

So, we had our Kindle/tablet in it’s case and we needed it to be temporarily mounted just for long trips.  If we opened the case, we could slide one end of it into the opening of the sun roof and the whole thing would hang there just great.  Only, when we drove with it like this, it swayed back and forth…not so great if we wanted to hamper the car sickness of our oldest or if anyone really wanted to watch the movie playing.  To stop the swaying, I ran to Lowe’s one morning to grab a couple of corner braces like this:
I thought maybe I could just slide one side into the sun roof opening with the case and the other would sit against the back of the Kindle.  But the brackets turned out to be too thick and wouldn’t fit.

And then the mail lady came.  And she dropped off a little box.  And I removed whatever was in the little box.  And a light bulb went off.  And I got to work.  

First, I opened the box up all the way and cut off one whole end.
IMG_0841The end I cut off was a mirror image to the top of the box above the horizontal fold that you see in the picture above.

All I needed was the bottom of the box, two sides, and one of the top flaps.  I was lucky in that the bottom of the box I found was almost the exact width of our tablet.  If you’re looking to make one of your own, all you really need is the side and top flap on one large box – something like what the green lines indicate below.    box panelIf you make two folds in the cardboard where the two ends of your tablet case would be and use the top fold, you’ll then just need to cut away two squares at the top corners.  (This all might make a little more sense once you see it in action below.) 

So, installation…

With the case holding the tablet, I opened ‘er up, grabbed my cardboard reinforcement, and laid the case onto the cardboard with the empty flap of the case against the shorter, top fold.
IMG_0829 IMG_0831IMG_0830IMG_0832 IMG_0833

Then, with the sun roof cover closed, I slid the empty side of the tablet case along with the cardboard into the sun roof cover’s slot in the ceiling.
IMG_0834 IMG_0835 IMG_0836 IMG_0837

Last, to keep the tablet and cardboard backing from swaying forwards and backwards, I folded out the two side pieces of cardboard.
IMG_0838 IMG_0839(Those small pieces of cardboard sitting against the sun roof cover are totally not needed…I was just too lazy to cut them off.)

Works like a charm!  Plug it in to the dashboard, turn up the sound, and you’ve got yourself a built-in but removable movie system!

If you don’t have a sun roof, you can always grab a tablet mount off Amazon that attaches to the head rest of the front seat.  We bought this one* but ended up not liking it only because the third row tots couldn’t see the greatest without straining.  For a two-row vehicle though, it’d be great!

I remember back in the 90’s, growing up when my parent’s bought a new Suburban complete with a VHS and television set built-in to the front console.  It was super duper cool along with the huge bag phone sitting in front.  Entertainment and wireless communication at your reach all while you’re heading to your next destination.  Someday our kids will talk about “those days when my parents rigged an old tablet to the ceiling of our minivan” as they stare at the projection plastering the air right in front of them…also as their old lady is squinting at her old iPhone 4s, trying to keep up with her fellow oldies on that old app called Bookface…or Facepad…or something like that. 


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*affiliate links