Today I am popping in for a quick post about my recent thrifted finds.
I haven’t been thrifting too much lately—there’s not much I need and I’ve just been super busy with projects for the blog and my little rental company. In fact, most of my thrifting these days is usually in pursuit of inventory for my business.
But this week I finally found a few little things for the house and I am excited to share them with you. I also got the chance to check out a few secondhand shops in VA that I hadn’t been to yet. If you’re in the NRV or Roanoke area, I’m thinking of doing a post about all the best local stores, so stay tuned for that soon.
First up is the most expensive item I bought—a vintage picnic basket. I’ve been collecting these for a few years and am always on the hunt for cheap ones in really good condition. This guy was huge and was only $5.99 (found at Goodwill in Christiansburg, VA) so I scooped him up right away.
He’s in excellent condition and has a riser inside (anyone know what the riser is for? I have a few guesses—to protect the first layer of food stored below it? To place ice packs below it to keep food cold? To put plates and cutlery under the food? All good guesses but I am not sure…).
Next up are two books. The small green book ($2.00 at the YMCA thrift in Blacksburg, VA) is a gardening book about shrubs and I bought it simply for decoration. Green is my color and I’m always looking for vintage books in good condition to add to my collection. The fact that it’s a gardening book makes it even more perfect. The fonts on the spine are so pretty.
The second book is Mary Emmerling’s American Country Classics ($2.00 at Goodwill thrift in Blacksburg, VA).
Mary’s older designs books are still so fresh today and I find her style so inspiring—especially in terms of what I collect. I’ll happily add this book to my collection of home design volumes. One of my favorite things is flipping through them once a year and dreaming about owning my own home again (one day soon, I have to keep reminding myself).
Lastly are my two vintage pillow finds. They’re both pink and floral, so clearly they fit my style very well. The first was $2.00 (also from the YMCA thrift in Blacksburg) and it needs a bit of trimming as the lace is fringing in spots. But I just couldn’t pass up the pink puckered velvet—it’s so cute!
The second pillow was $4.00 (from the Habitat Restore in Roanoke, VA) and is in great shape. I think it’s actually a modern pillow made to look vintage because it’s got a modern looking tag.
That’s all, folks. I am becoming more picky with my thrifting these days and I think my home is looking more cohesive and collected as a result. This makes the hunt more challenging which is actually quite fun.
This weekend we may take a drive through the mountains into West Virginia for some leaf peeping and antiquing—I’ve got my fingers (and toes) crossed for some McCoy bargains because it’s been way too long since I brought home a pretty new vase.
Okay, we’ve still got four days to go until it’s official, but I’ve been busy decorating my apartment all week and we had our first coolish weather day here in VA, so close enough, right?
As I was decorating this week, I snapped some quick photos of my favorite vintage and antique autumn decor items to share with you.
I know from experience that it can be so fun to head to a store like Homegoods or Michael’s and go crazy buying faux pumpkins and autumnal garlands. But, I want you know that there are other options out there for seasonal decor.
My style has been undergoing a major shift recently. I find myself weeding out all of those Homegoods decor items in favor of vintage finds or natural elements. I’m still keeping some modern things—like the collection of mercury glass pumpkins I purchased from JoAnn Fabrics years ago.
But mostly, I find myself wanting to use my limited space to display items that are really special and unique—handmade and vintage pieces, mostly. Pillows that say “Give Thanks” just aren’t doing it for me anymore (although I am still working on transitioning these out, tbh).
So, what fall decor am I loving? Let’s take a look at some of my favorite vintage autumnal things.
This amber glass cake stand was a recent $12 find from a thrift store here in VA. It’s perfect for displaying my scrumptious seasonal bakes!
Ceramic figures are something I’ve been collecting for years—found one or two at a time, usually for $1.00 or less each. These cuties are perfect for placing on small ledges and bookshelves, or for creating vignettes in lanterns. I also have a large collection of brass figurines—deer, birds, bunnies, etc.—that are perfect for fall.
This vibrant leaf dish is one of my all-time favorite thrifting finds. I don’t remember how much I paid—maybe $5.00?—but it was a Goodwill score from when we lived in the PNW. Right now, it sits on my coffee table and collects coasters and remotes, but it’s also beautiful as a candy dish or console bowl for keys, etc. Search “USA Pottery 809” or “USA Pottery Leaf Bowl” if you want to find one on Etsy or Ebay. I see similar pieces all the time when thrifting and they are so fun to hunt for!
I’m a little apprehensive to give away the secret of these gorgeous vintage light covers, but they are too pretty and cute not to share. My mom collected these Old World Halloween light covers in the 1980’s/1990’s, so I grew up with them being displayed for Halloween every year in our house. Old World also made Thanksgiving and Christmas light covers, which I collect as well. Sometimes, the prices for a set of these light covers on Ebay can be ridiculously high—especially for the Halloween ones! Hold out and look during the off-season—I usually spend about $20 to $30 for a set, not $100 or $200! They can be found at antique stores, but I don’t see them often.
My mom found this maple leaf pitcher set at a thrift store in Florida and gifted it to me. How pretty is it? I am sure it was less than $10 for the pitcher and four glasses because she usually gets ridiculously good deals.
Vintage planters and vases are another collection I have been building for a very long time. I mainly collect shades of green, but if I find a really special piece in a different color I will sometimes make an exception. Orange, yellow, purple, teal… all of these colors coordinate gorgeously with floral arrangements for the fall season.
Hello, Mr. Turkey. I decided to start collecting amber glass turkeys after seeing a beautiful table setting in an old Martha Stewart book (her turkeys were Jadeite, though). I’ve only found two so far, but both were from Goodwill and cost about $6.00 each, maybe less. Once I have enough turkeys, I plan to replicate Martha’s beautiful table setting for Thanksgiving. And yes, I also plan to collect the Jadeite turkeys, but they are proving very difficult to find (I think Mosser might still make them?)!
This cute, speckled chips and dip bowl is a Pfaltzgraff piece from the 1950’s. Another thrift store find, it was a whopping $3.99. You can find these easily online by searching “Pfaltzgraff Pear Bowl” and they come in all kinds of cute colors.
Lastly, here is one of my lovely, cozy vintage wool blankets—one that happens to be the perfect colors and pattern for fall. I’ve talked about these blankets many times now on the blog. They were thrift store finds from my vacation in New Zealand a few years ago. But, beautiful vintage wool blankets can also be found here in the US! I’ve found many at thrift stores over the years, usually for $5 to $10 each. Christmas and fall colors are pretty easy to find.
My plans for this weekend include mostly hanging out at home—cooking, baking and enjoying our freshly decorated, pumpkin-filled apartment. But maybe we’ll have time for a quick thrift trip too? I’m guessing we will.
It’s been almost three months since we moved into our little one bedroom apartment in an old converted high school. Our place is basically an old classroom remodeled into a one-bedroom flat. It’s got great historic features—like the brick walls and gigantic windows—mixed with modern finishes like high ceilings, exposed pipes, and faux slate flooring.
This apartment is small, but it still feels like a huge accomplishment to be mostly settled after being here only three months. All our artwork is hung, our things all have a place, and we’re ready to decorate for fall. But before I go pumpkin crazy, I want to give you a quick photo tour of what the place looks like now. To me, it’s so interesting how tastes can change over time and I love having (and sharing!) snapshots of my evolving style.
If you’ve been following along with the blog recently, you may have seen most of the rooms in our apartment already. It’s a very small space, so there’s truly not much more to share!
We’ll start in the ‘entrance’ area, which we ended up using mostly for kitchen storage (because the cabinets are seriously lacking in storage space and I may have too many baking gadgets. Let’s not tell Sam about the Williams Sonoma order I placed today, OK?).
I just found this antique baker’s (or cobbler’s?) rack in NOVA last month while I was antiquing with my sister. They were only asking $225 for it at the antique store. I scooped it up very quickly, no second thought given! The rack was a total steal because it’s gorgeous and is in excellent shape. These baker style racks typically sell for $400+, so I feel very lucky to have found mine for such an affordable price! The color and patina of the wood is just so beautiful and the wheels are really neat too.
I haven’t had too much time to play around with styling the rack yet. Right now it’s just overloaded with kitchen-y things that I thought were pretty. The large Stanley thermos is a recent find too. It’s made entirely of metal on the inside (exactly what we were looking for) and is in really excellent condition. We can’t wait to use it on our next fall camping trip!
You’ve probably seen the rest of our kitchen already, so I’ll keep it brief in here. I built that plate rack when I realized my Royal Doulton 1815 dinner plates were too wide to fit in the kitchen’s upper cabinets. Having a large English style plate rack in my kitchen is truly a dream come true. I am very proud of myself for designing and building it! As an update for anyone who is wondering—it’s been wonderful storage and was totally worth the effort. I love the configuration and wouldn’t change a thing about it.
I’ve been collecting vintage rolling pins for a while now and was happy to hang them up, en masse, for the first time in this apartment. My McCoy collection and vintage floral prints really steal the show in the kitchen. Thank god for high ceilings!
On the way to the living room, you pass by our pantry coat closet. Kitchen storage is such a major problem in this apartment. So we decided to forgo the convenience of a coat closet and just turn it into food storage. We added an adjustable metal shelving rack and some baskets, and poof! It became a pantry. It’s a good enough solution for now. All my cookie cutters, Nordic Ware pans and the baking supplies we hoarded need somewhere to live, right?
The living room and dining room are basically the same space. It’s such a small area that the only place our couch fits is pushed up against the kitchen island. Sigh.
My china cabinet is great for storing more baking tools on bottom and some of my pretty collections up top. That chalkboard above the dining table is actually built into the wall. It may be partially original to the property. They kept a lot of the original features but to me this seems like a very small chalkboard for such a large classroom. It also seems like it may be made of cement board or something—definitely not slate). In any case, it’s pretty. I hung that wreath over it the first week we moved in. It hasn’t moved from that spot, although I’ll probably replace it with a fall wreath soon!
My antique dining chairs are something I’ve talked about before here on the blog. They’re all mismatched, bought secondhand, and super sturdy. It’s an ongoing project to get them all painted green. The kitchen table is a temporary solution—I am actually on the hunt for a really old wooden plank farm table. Something early American that’s all wood—maybe oak, maple or heart pine. I’m very picky (and on a budget) so it may take me a long time to find the right one. So just ignore that 50’s metal top table in the corner—you don’t even see it.
My favorite armchairs
My living room came together nicely and is the coziest little space. Those mid-century armchairs are my FAVORITE pieces of furniture, ever. I found them in 2014 for $12 each at the Impossible Dream thrift store in Watertown, NY. At the time, I had no idea they were so valuable. I just knew they looked old and had lots of potential.
Although the chairs were only $12 each, I did have to pay a professional to completely redo the webbing (it was torn to shreds). I also had to pay for custom upholstery in the form of new cushions and cushion covers for the chairs. It was about $400 in total. This was a LOT of money for me to spend on a couple of chairs back in 2014. But, six years later and I’m still completely in love with them. I love the fabric, I love the teak, and everything is holding up very well. This was my first major furniture investment and I think I chose very wisely.
The couch in the living room is getting a bit old—we purchased it secondhand from a consignment shop a few years ago. I am thinking of sewing a slipcover for it, because although the fabric is showing wear, it’s still the comfiest couch ever. The media console was a $20 find from the Goodwill Clearance Center last year. It’s an 80’s office credenza that we painted green. It’s excellent storage and I still love it.
Our coffee table is a large ottoman I purchased on clearance from Pier1 Imports a few years ago. The tray on top is also from Pier1. I’m really sad that they are going out of business (jury is still out on their ‘new’ website). Although I try to shop mostly secondhand, I’ve always loved the holiday decor at Pier1 and will really miss holiday shopping in their stores.
We have two long-haired miniature dachshunds so I bought a pet-friendly rug from Home Depot that’s really easy to vacuum and clean. It works well in the living room and really ties everything together, decor wise. Vintage wool rugs are seriously beautiful and I would have loved to find one for this space. But the rate at which my dogs shed just makes the vacuuming seem too daunting a task. Does anyone have experience with pets and wool rugs? I still need something for floor in our bedroom—talk me into it!
The old box spring light is something I made years ago when we lived in NY. My husband hated it at the time (as did my realtor! Haha.) But it’s hung in every one of our homes since. Every person who visits our home loves it and ends up wanting one for themselves. Told ya so, Sam (he’s come around and now loves it, too). The antique corbels are a recent find and fit perfectly in that awkward opening in the wall. They really help to age the space too—without them it was a bit too much bright white, right angles and clean lines. We like old and crusty.
Hallway and bedroom
Heading to the bedroom, you pass by all our bookshelves. The orange one is actually built into the wall and was constructed from the bleachers they removed from the high school’s old gymnasium. The other two bookshelves are ours, although one of them is going to be sent back to storage when the holidays roll around. Unfortunately, it’s in the space where our Christmas tree is going to go—obviously tree trumps books.
In the past year or so I have begun prioritizing our bedroom space. Facebook Marketplace finally delivered on the perfect queen bed; I found those beautiful nightstands at an antique store (for $20 each!) last fall; and my gorgeous tattered armchair finally made it out of storage and into our home. I’ve also been busy collecting vintage pillows, bedding and floral artwork recently. All of these small decor items have come together to make a lovely room—one that makes mornings so inspiring and cheerful.
Last month I bought an old oak linen cabinet and organized my prettiest craft notions into it. Extra storage in this apartment is always helpful, especially when it’s so beautiful. The small wood chair is a designer MCM piece, worth about $200. Mine is an original, not a remake, based on the markings and finish color. I bought it at the local thrift store for $15.00—another steal. My large floor mirror was $20 at an antique store years ago.
Closet, laundry and storage
The closet area and laundry room in this apartment share a large space and give us tons of storage. But since it’s all open space with no closet doors it isn’t very pretty. I kept debating wether or not spend time and money adding curtains on both sides to hide all the clothes and stuff. But since we’re possibly looking at buying a house next year I decided not to bother. So instead of showing you our washing machine, clothes and all the other crap we store in this space, I cropped it out and am just sharing my pretty blue dresser instead. That green mirror is from Ikea and I found the last one when it was discontinued a few years ago. Can you tell how much I love green yet?
The bathroom is the last room I have to show you, but it’s really tiny and therefor difficult to photograph. I’ve got lots of cute decor in there—vintage planters and towels, floral prints, embroidered birds and dried flowers. It’s a pretty space despite the ugly plastic lighting fixtures and builder’s grade mirror.
So, that’s the entire apartment. Pretty small, huh? We’re happy and content here for now, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to move again soon. Let’s hope the real estate market picks up next spring and that we find the perfect little fixer upper close to Sam’s job. I could really use a project to work on for our next few years here in Virginia (and also, I want a garden! And a game room, garage workshop, and so many other things!)
Thanks for stopping by to tour our cozy little home! I’m gonna go dig all my pumpkins out of storage now.
If you read my post from a few weeks ago, you may have noticed the quirky, glorious masterpiece that is my rolling pin wall. This display has been in the works for over two years now, ever since I saw a very similar installation at The Rowdy Kitchen Bar & Eatery in Christchurch, NZ (we had a really yummy lunch there, highly recommend if your ever in the area). I’ve been busy collecting vintage rolling pins ever since I returned from my trip and now, finally—they’re up on my wall!
It’s such a pleasure to walk into the kitchen every day and see this little reminder of my wonderful trip to New Zealand. I’ve loved vintage rolling pins (and all vintage kitchen gadgets) for the longest time, so it was lovely to have an excuse to start collecting them.
I am thinking of switching out some of the brightly colored pins for more green and plain wood handled ones. I feel like going overboard with green in the kitchen would be so charming. The reds, yellows and blues might be too much variety and color for me. We’ll see what happens.
If you’re curious how I hung them, I simply predrilled a small hole towards the top of each pin and then used a screw to attach a picture hanger. Most of my rolling pins had chips or flaws in the wood already, so don’t be angry with me for ‘ruining’ them.
While on our campervan road trip vacation around NZ, my husband and I also spotted baskets of vintage wool blankets at many little cafes and coffee shops, especially in the Canterbury region. We spent a few mornings popping into thrift shops during our trip and were able to collect a handful of authentic vintage wool blankets—all made in NZ! Then we paid $200 to ship half of them home, and squished the other half into our suitcases. We looked like total nutters, but it was so worth it. The basket of cozy, brightly colored plaid blankets in our living room serves as another reminder of our time with the Kiwis, and they’re also super warm to cuddle up under during cold winter days.
All of these little reminders of our trip do leave us aching to return to New Zealand for another camping adventure. In fact, we’re already planning and saving for it!
Well my friends, a thrift list is just a shopping list.
It’s a shopping list made specifically for items that you hope to find secondhand. It includes things you can’t buy new, like antiques, or that you don’t want to buy new for whatever reason (budget, environmental impact, etc). The concept of a thrift list probably seems pretty obvious to many people, so I’m not claiming to enlighten you with any great wisdom here. The way I manage my thrift list is what I really want to talk to you about.
My thrift list includes both short and long-term ‘thrifting’ goals, and although it’s called a thrift list, I’m not just casually thrifting for the items on my list (not all of them anyways).
I’ll walk you through my process.
My Current Thrift List
Vintage green rolling pins
Antique/primitive/farm style dining table, no drop leaves
Tall/narrow wood china curio cabinet for the bathroom—(max: 24″w x 26″d x 6’h)
Bolt of sheer fabric for bed curtains (about 20 yards)
Vintage jar/tin/container for dish washing brushes
This is the same exact list I currently have on my phone. I always include measurements and reminders about shape, color, type, etc. if I’m looking for something specific.
Managing the list
I manage this list in two ways. The first is simple—I read it over before I head to a thrift or antique store just to give myself a reminder of things to look out for while browsing.
But I also manage the list actively, on a daily basis, by searching for items on FB Marketplace, Etsy, Ebay, local auction sites (and sometimes the big national ones) and Craigslist.
The umbrella stand is a great example of an item I search for at least weekly. I am looking for a very specific McCoy umbrella stand. So every week I do a quick search on Ebay, Etsy, and auction sites to see if one has been listed. It’s an item that tends to sell quickly, so searching often is really important. Of course, I still hope I’ll run into the perfect one at a garage sale for $50 one day, but in the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to pop online for a quick search.
The antique ribbon display is an item I added to my list only this week—I’ve recently become obsessed with them after seeing one posted on Instagram. From my research so far, I’ve learned these pieces sell for several hundred dollars at the low end of the spectrum to several thousand at the high end. So this is likely a piece I won’t be acquiring for a while—it might take me ten years to save for one, ha! But, I may get lucky and scoop one up locally if I am diligent and keep my eye out. You never know!
I’ve been searching for my vintage aluminum Christmas tree this way for years. I haven’t found one yet, but I know I will eventually.
This is the point of the thrift list. It doesn’t always result in instant satisfaction, but it serves as a daily reminder to actively lookfor those items—both easy and seemingly impossible to find—that you’re most excited to bring home.
Some of the items on my list are always on my list. The McCoy pottery will probably never come off. I look for it automatically when I am antiquing.
That bolt of fabric is something I probably won’t be able to find (not secondhand, anyways). I’ll likely end up buying it new because it’s for a project I’m planning to work on in the next few weeks. Having it on my list just serves as a reminder to keep my eye out. It also reminds me to search on FB Marketplace often—people list bolts of fabric all the time!
An antique oak linen cupboard. Mismatched glass jars. Little vintage baskets and floral hat boxes. Ceramic vintage planters and antique general store fixtures.
Aren’t these the first things that come to mind when you think about craft storage?
That’s just me?
Well, if you don’t trust me yet, I’ve got the proof in pictorial form: nothing makes prettier craft storage than an antique oak linen cabinet.
See, I told you so.
If it were up to me, I’d have a gorgeous antique cabinet (with hand blown glass framed doors) for every room in the house. For towels and toiletries in the bathroom? Yep. For jars of flour, sugar and coffee in the kitchen? You betcha. For stacks of vintage quilts in the hall? Of course. For pinecones and stamps and felt and pipe cleaners? Obviously.
Hopefully I’ll realize this dream one day when I have a home with more than one room (technically, this apartment is just one big loft). In addition to old china/curio/display cabinets, I also plan to have 1,487 gigantic wardrobes in which I will store quilts, linens, and actual clothing, of course (because who needs closets? Not this gal—I hate them. No really, I do.)
Technically this isn’t craft room storage, because I don’t have a craft room. Just a nice, big empty corner in my bedroom that needed filling and was crying out for something very old and very wood-toned.
Now that all my bits n’ bobs are displayed behind those handsome glass doors, I’ve never been more inspired to create. Christmas elves, felt flowers, Santa mice, autumnal garlands— the million crafty projects I’ve been dreaming up for the past few years will come to fruition this year (and next) because all of my crafty things have finally been liberated from their dark, lonely storage box existence. Hooray!
I LOVE using unexpected pieces like this to store all kinds of things around the house—it’s simultaneously quirky and functional.
My particular cabinet is a very old piece—it’s likely 100 years old or more—with really unique legs—seriously, how pretty are those chunky things?!
A few other notes about this space:
That black framed mirror was a recent find. I’m pretty sure it’s an antique. It’s insanely heavy and was only $12.99 at the Goodwill down the road from me. Yay for cheap, pretty mirrors!
2. The artwork for the cottage wall has been shuffled around a few times and I have a few more pieces to add. I am really loving the current layout—what do you think? Not nearly enough cottages, though—gotta fill that whole wall up!
3. Check out the photo below—do you see those giant corbels? They are architectural salvage taken from an old victorian home here in VA. I bought them specifically to help full that void (it’s a big opening in the wall towards the ceiling, between the bedroom and living room—what do you call that?) Anyways, the corbels (or whatever they are) really bring warmth to the space and help age it. Toning down the modern and bright whiteness of this apartment is a constant goal.
4. Lastly—if you see any little eyes peering out at you from inside my craft cabinet, don’t be alarmed—it’s just Santa Claus. Mr. Santa Claus Mouse, that is! I’ll be sure to post all about him this holiday season (and I may even share the pattern for him, which I made myself).