Goodwill Finds

While shopping for formal wear at Goodwill, I found some other great stuff by cruising through the housewares.  And I snatched it up for $1 – $2 a piece before Christie could get her hands on it.  Hahahaha (triumphant laugh).

I realize these knick-knacky items are what my mom would call “stuff to dust around”.  Hi mom.  But I’m a sucker for colored glass and low, low prices, so I splurged on this slightly-less-than-useful stuff.

Its a candlestick, a bird, and a … another candle holder?  For a pillar candle?  Yeah, that must be it.  Its about the right size, maybe a little bigger, than a pillar candle.

This has a subtle feather pattern around the base, and unlike the other pink glass I have, it has a frosty finish.

Tweety here is a little chipped around the edges, but he is pretty nonetheless.

I also found some picture frames next door at the Habitat for Humanity Re-store next door to Goodwill.  I can Never find square frames that are the right size, so I jumped on those like a trampoline.  I have a few 6×6 inch cards that I’ve wanted to frame, but Ikea square frames are a little too small.

A coat of spray paint and voila.  I also turned the mats backwards to use the white side.  The mat hole wasn’t big enough for the cards, so I just put the cards in front of the mat.  Not really kosher, but who’s going to notice.

The sweet little lamb photo is from Yes and Amen on Etsy.  The phone booth drawing is a Christmas card from a co-worker in London, and I think it is simply adorable.  I love British things.

If you were wondering why I was shopping for formal wear at Goodwill… here is why.  Don’t be scared.

I wanted a costume for Run for Your Lives (a zombie-infested 5k obstacle course).  Yep, we dressed like zombies and chased mud-covered runners in the woods for 3 hours one Saturday afternoon.  What do you do with your weekends?  Something normal?

Pinterest Challenge – Dip Dye Pillow

According to the experts, it is Pinterest Challenge time again!

Yeah, I wrote about my pillow dyeing experiment the other week.   BUT!  Then I saw a tutorial for dying dyeing and pinned it, thinking I would give it another try.  See, I was a little disappointed with the saturation of my pillow.

It looked like this:

When I wanted it to look like this:

My pillow was not bright and bold, it was pale.  And it didn’t have that two tone effect with the dark blue and light blue.

So I found this tutorial just after my pillow-dyeing attempt.  There were 2 big differences here – it says to let your fabric soak in dye for 2-3 hours, where I had just soaked my pillow for 45 minutes.  It also says specifically to use the powder dye, and I had used the liquid dye.  Here’s what the result of the tutorial is supposed to look like:

So I hit up the Hobby Lobby once again, bought the powder dye in teal, same color as before.  Then I dumped the entire package of dye into about 1 gallon of hot water.  This is not per instructions and is way more than you are supposed to use – it is supposed to be one package in 3 gallons of water.  This is my third attempt to dye something and I’d never been satisfied with the saturation, I thought I would go crazy and see what happened if I over-dyed (once before I tried to make a blue tank top black, but it ended up gray).  I added a half cup of salt to the dye too. Oh look, the directions also say to pre-dissolve the powder in 2 cups of water.  Why do they print these directions so tiny?  I did stir it up a bit with a paint stick before dipping my pillowcase in.

I let most of the pillowcase soak in the dye for about an hour.  Then I pulled part of the pillowcase out so only the lowest part was soaking in the dye for another hour.  At the end of 2 hours I rinsed it a bit and then threw the pillowcase in the washing machine because it was taking soooo long to rinse all that dye out.  I’m lazy.


Nope, I still didn’t get that 2 tone look.  Not even close.  I don’t know why it got blotchy like it did, maybe because I didn’t make more of an effort to fully dissolve the dye powder.  And you would never know that the bottom third soaked an hour longer than the middle third.

It did get the smeary part at the edge.  Like tie dye.  I thought tie dye was cool once.  In 6th grade.

Here it is chilling on the windowseat.  I’m not sure how I feel about it yet – is it better than attempt #1?  Worse?  Or just a different look?

(Hey Susie, if you’re reading this, Ahmed said “that’s a cool pillow”.  So it has received one dude vote.)

Dip Dye Pillow

I saw this pillow and thought, how pretty.  Wait, don’t I have some teal dye that I’ve been meaning to use?  And don’t I already have a white pillowcase that could use a little something?

Here’s the inspiration from CapellaKID, an Etsy store specializing in hand-dyed pillows.

I love the effect of the gradient, deeper blue washing over a lighter fade.  Here is another example from the store:

I used an Ikea pillow with removable pillowcase that I bought a couple years ago – mine was a mix of linen and cotton, but the Ritva cushion cover is similar.

I used Rit liquid dye versus the powdered stuff.  I followed the mixture recommended on the bottle for “sink dyeing”, as I couldn’t do the washing machine method if I only want half of my pillow blue.  It was half a bottle for a gallon of water, so about 8 ounces of liquid dye.  It also recommended adding a cup of salt, so I did that too.  The directions said to stir constantly, but I couldn’t really do that while having the pillowcase half resting in the dye.

Overall, I let the pillowcase sit in the bucket for about 45 minutes.  I pushed it further down into the bucket for a while, then pulled it up to just let the bottom soak to try to get that layered effect.  I didn’t stay very precise with it, but occasionally looked to see how it was layering.   After all that I rinsed it a bit and threw it in the washing machine.

The result:

Side A, gradual fade

Side B, more of that wave shape rather than a soft gradient.  Chris said it looked like a stain.  Thanks.

Here is Side A again, but with the dye on the bottom.  I like it best like this.

It is much more subtle, and definitely doesn’t have the level of saturation that I was hoping for.  I might try diluting the dye with less water than recommended and take it for another dip.  When I dip you dip we dip!

Nifty Gifty-s

Did you get any home-y things for Christmas? I saw this throw pillow on Emily Henderson’s blog and entered to win it. Of course I didn’t, so I told my brother to get it for me for Christmas. He is so obedient.  Land’s End has it on mega-sale right now too!

The pattern seems vaguely Japanese to me – you know, like those repeating wi-fi signals.  Or like this (lifted from

I digress.  Here’s another shot of the pillow working its magic on the futon.  He is nice and fluffy too, so good for squishing on if I can bear to risk it.  The husband thinks my desire for pillows is silly, as they are largely decorative.  Then he gets huffy when I squawk at him for leaning on them in an inappropriate manner, leaving them deformed and squashed.  So it goes.

Moving on.  I’ve been collecting depression glass for a little while to satisfy my irrational lust for pretty colored glass.  My mom has found me these little treasures.

Its just a little coffee creamer, but I think it deserves to look larger than life.  See how nice this photo is?  Yeah, Chris got me a new point-n-shoot camera for Christmas that is making a good impression so far.

And a schmancy candlestick.  Speaking of candles… I found something I couldn’t resist while pre-holiday shopping at Target.

Its faux mercury glass votives, and only $3 each, I couldn’t resist.  I did resist buying all the ones left on the shelf (they’re on sale?!  must snatch them all!!) because really, they aren’t necessary in life.  After all, I only want them in the first place because Pottery Barn decided they were the next big thing in shabby chic.  If you’re curious what mercury glass even is, look what Wikipedia has to say.

They are way, way better than my attempt (failure) to follow a tutorial for faking them.  They seem to have a warm golden glow rather than a pewtery silver finish.

So those were my little Christmas gift to me.  I’m sooooo happy!

If you’re feeling the post-holiday blahs rather than New Year’s motivation (and you’re in a place where you can watch a video) go here and pay close attention to the HD monitor.  You should laugh a lot if you are the type of person who likes humorous things.

Candlelight Dinner

You could probably say I’m not really “into candles”.  At least, I never seem to get around to lighting them.  Most smelly candles are overly smelly, and one should never use scented candles for a dinner party.  But they are oh so cozy. When people come over I rush around frantically lighting candles to make a groovy mood, and every time I do I wonder why I don’t light them more often just for my own enjoyment.

I started saving wine bottles last year for a little project for Christie’s wedding and just kept going.  Now they’ve found some new life as candlestick holders.


They aren’t serving any particular purpose in these photos.   I just wanted to show you.  I’ll definitely be breaking them out for a little Christmas shindig at my house (ladies…).


I admit that it can be a hassle getting the labels off cleanly.  I use a combination of peeling them off, soaking in hot water, then using some dish soap and scrubbing, then finally using a razorblade to scrape off the most stubborn pieces.  I tried a few things I found by googling, like olive oil, nail polish remover, WD 40 etc.  I hate to waste good olive oil, and all of these options worked to some extent, but in the end you’re still going to need a razor blade to completely get the residue off.


I did have to (recruit a friend to) whittle the ends of the candlesticks so they would fit in the tops of the wine bottles. The candlesticks were $1 each from World Market.

I’ve never been one for elaborate center pieces for a dinner table.  Maybe because I don’t host a lot of dinner parties, but the main reason is that they seem to get in the way of the Food sitting on the table.  Priorities, people.

However, this little tablescape from Anna @ Take the Side Street has me inspired:

I might get a little “mossy enchanted forest romantic bohemian” for my partay.  Watch out ladies.  Now where do I find some bits of tree trunk?

The Walls Have Eyes

Have you noticed this trend in decorating?

Apparently its cool now to find old portraits, often badly painted ones, at thrift stores and use them as cheap art.  The idea is that its eclectic, quirky, and intriguing.

Personally, I can appreciate it from here, but there is no way I would ever do it in my house.

You know why?  They would all be looking at me.  All the time.  And that really freaks me out.

For example, when I was little I had this painting on my wall.

I know there is nothing inherently creepy about this painting by Fragonard.  But I could have sworn that at night, she would look over at me.  Don’t even get me started on buddhas.  Why are their eyes always closed?!  I expect them to open their eyes and look at me at any moment.  When its just a disembodied head, that creates another level of creepy too.

That could bring me to a whole discussion on mannequin and doll heads in home decor, but I’m out of time.  Hey, if you love it, why not take it home?

So while I can appreciate it in hipster home tours, I am just not cool or brave enough to buy cheap portraits (even classical, well-painted ones like “The Reader”) and hang them in my home.  And no, I won’t be doing any buddhas either, as I believe they would bring me more anxiety than zen.

There are some interesting discussions about these trends here:  Buddhism as Decoration and Strangers’ Portraits in the Home

photos courtesy of apartment therapy, sf girl by bay, and emily henderson

Etsy Favorites – part 2

Happy Monday! No? Ok, well here’s some more of my favorite Etsy swag and stores to brighten your day.

Lots of kisses for this quirky little store, the big harumph.  These are handcut and handpressed prints, with lots of funny and creative little quotes and images.  Only $20 for an 8×10 print, sure to make you smile.

I suppose I think any and all housewares should have a sense of humor.  Got a tea fiend who needs a Christmas present?  Or perhaps someone who is simply a fan of 80s tv shows.  This mug would make me smile every time I pulled it out.  Check out Lenny Mud‘s store for even more goofy ceramics.

If you are looking for some kitchen art, Ana at anek has a heaping pile of cute prints about food, drink, and the love of both.  I especially love the quotes about food in Italian.  If you’ve never thought of hanging art in the kitchen, these prints will give you plenty to choose from.

Jen at painted fish studio has handmade notebooks and greeting cards, but I’m a sucker for fridge magnets like these.  Magnets are one of those little things I like to collect, like postcards.  I have family in Minnesota, so these polaroids of Minneapolis are my favorites.

Future’s so bright this doggy’s gotta wear shades.  Shout out to an Atlanta local, Jen Ray and her shop corduroy.  Her funky little hand-drawn creatures dance on coffee mugs and boogie on paper.  I’ve got a weakness for fuzzy animals and oddball quotes, and Jen’s art combines both in a charming, unique way.

Remember how transit scrolls were really trendy for about a week maybe a year ago?  Well take that idea and insert the haunts and happening places of the Bennett family and that dashing Mr. Darcy.  Yes, its a tea towel with a list of destinations from Pride and Prejudice.  Brookish sells mugs, shirts, totes, and prints that all feature quotes from your favorite Jane Austen novels.  If you think your man is a Darcy, you can get him a shirt that labels him as such, and see if he is man enough to wear it.

Well if you haven’t found seen some good Christmas gifts by now, I suggest you head on over to Etsy and surf the thousands of shops full of vintage finds and handmade goods.  There’s something for everyone – I know there’s lots for me!

Etsy Favorites – part 1

I had so much good stuff in my previous Etsy round-up that I thought I would do some more.  What with the holidays coming up, I think its a good time to share some of my favorite Etsy stores.  (Plus I’ve been a sicky for the past week, so if I’m not able to make anything myself, at least I can share things made by other people – cough, sniffle). The thing all these stores have in common?  It was really, really hard to choose just one item to show you.  Please check out their stores to see more!

What a cute lil chickadee.  This comes from Moikka Paper and there are plenty more sweet little animals featured on holiday cards in this store.  Plus Clara is offering 10% off all orders through Novemeber 18th!

There are so many things I could buy from Bottlehood, as I think I definitely have a weakness for glassware.  They recycle wine, beer, soda bottles into glasses, vases, serving trays, and even jewelry.  Lo and behold, they too are having a November sale of 15% off.  See, I told you this is why I stay away from Etsy… its dangerous.

Marnie from Minnesota makes these beautiful topographic paper maps – check out all the lakes and places at her store, Crafterall.  She can also do custom orders, so if you’re looking for something personal and beautiful in the art category, this could be just the thing.

What can I say, I really like bad jokes.  Puncontrollable sells several such bad jokes, screenprinted on shirts, totes, aprons, or even custom printed on anything you like if you mail them your own item.

Oh, and have I mentioned I’m a nerd?  You may have seen this poster floating around the blogosphere.  I’m a sucker for mid-century art/design.  Don’t worry, Handz sells posters for the other 2 Star Wars movies too.  If Star Wars isn’t your thing, there are cute posters featuring polaroid cameras, viewfinder toys, retro teapots, and various “i love you” quotes.

I hope you aren’t on cuteness overload.  Alyssa at penguin & fish makes little stuffed animals and downloadable embroidery patterns.  There’s a whole series of animals with the corresponding letter if you’re looking for an alphabet theme for kid.  C is for cat!

Well kiddos, that’s all for today.  I’ll have another list of great stores later this week.  Mwa!

Flight of Fancy

A while back I saw some white “upcycled” vintage birds for sale on Etsy  – they caught my eye in that special way. (Does the fake word upcycled bother anyone else? Just me?) By the time I got back to them, they were sold, but I searched Etsy for other plastic bird wall art from the 1970s. (If you are looking for some of these, the companies are called Burwood or Syroco.  There are probably a few other major producers too, but those search terms helped me locate them.)  Lo and behold, they were findable!

Not so bad:

Eek – super plastic.

I gave these guys a unified look with, what else, white spray paint. Then I traced each bird and made a paper doppelganger of each so I could tape them to the wall and get them arranged before putting a bunch of nails in the wall and deciding I didn’t like it.

Then I put a nail through the paper bird so that it would hang in the exact same spot.  Basically, I used this principle:

And here’s the finished product:

Oh and see those 2 paintings hiding down in the corner?  Yes, the birds are the first thing to go on our bedroom walls.  Maybe those paintings will make it up soon.

Oh I’m not using any hipster camera filters, something about the lights in my room must turn everything yellow-green.  Hmm.  Clearly I need to figure out how to white balance the point n shoot.  Anywho.

Etsy stores I purchased the birds from:  Tinted Vintage, Retro Chalet, East Tennessee Girl

Did this (hi-larious) sketch from Portlandia ruin bird decor for anyone?  It kinda did for me, but I already committed to these little guys.  And I can’t stop liking the birdies.

Don’t forget to put a bird on it!

Etsy Favorites – Good Buys

I love Etsy, so so much.  I try not to get on it too much these days because I will just find more things that I want to buy.

However, if you are in the mood to do some shopping, here are some of my favorites.

Stuff I’ve bought:

Isn’t he just the cutest, happiest lil guy?  This photo makes me smile too, so I bought the card for $4.50.  Check out even more beyond adorable lamb and farm photos by Junelle at Yes and Amen.

As you may notice, I’m continuing my card collecting.  This gem comes from Julia at The Spotted Sparrow.  She writes in the product description, “There is something about combining Victorian images with 80s lyrics that makes me giggle.”  I have to agree completely. This store is based out of the UK, so the prices are in British pounds.  At our terrible exchange rates, that worked out to a little less than $6 at the time I bought it.  Julia uses eco-friendly paper, ink, and wrapping materials, so think of that plus the bad economy when you consider the price.  Hooray for good design and biodegradable plastics!

Everybody likes graphic tees.  This wasn’t quite my style, but I thought it was hilarious, so I bought it for my brother as a birthday gift.  As they have smartly inserted their brand into the photo, I may not have to tell you this is from Gnome Enterprises.  The shirt is appropriately priced at $25, and if you look at their shop you’ll see they are very proud that Neko Case has been photographed wearing one of their shirts.  If you need a shirt with a picture of a t-rex battling a robot, this is the place.  They’ve also got cute designs with little owls and foxes  for the girls.

Put a bird on it!  Joom has a slew of pillows like this lil guy in lots of beautiful colors with various flora and fauna birdy patterns.  The mini pillows, like this one, are a very manageable $16.  This was a wedding gift for my dear little friend Christie, she’s a sucker for the birdies.  This store is also producing some birdy art prints that have a Danish mid-century feel to them.

Since I’m getting into a bird theme, here’s one of my early purchases.  I normally don’t like chunky accessories, but I finally found a cute (nearly-sleeveless) shirt that works perfectly with this bracelet/cuff.  Let it be noted that Chris said I looked like Wonder Woman, but that’s not a bad thing, right?  I got it for $25, but looks like the price has gone up to $28 now.  You can find this and similar cuffs at Unique Art Pendants.  Molly also does some nice art prints with vintage illustrations on old book pages.  Sound familiar?  (Scroll up).

Isn’t it the cutest little bag?  I’m a little crazy-in-love with the fabric.  This was made by one of my talented co-workers Brianna!  Her store, Tailored by Torrey, has clutch bags and aprons made in fun, unique prints.  Can you believe that I gave this to Christie too for her birthday?  It killed me.  I almost kept it for myself, it was a hard battle.  This was a great deal for $10.  And the minute Brianna makes something else out of this fabric (I’m hoping for a throw pillow cover) I am snatching it up before all y’all even see it.  Then I will brag about it here on the blog.

Well kids, that’s all for now on the past Etsy purchases.  I think I’m going to do more random Etsy round-ups in the future, because that place is a treasure trove of temptation and inspiration.