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).
Today feels like a bright and happy Friday inside despite the stormy weather outside. And I’m guessing it’s got something to do with the recent addition of pretty vintage artwork in my apartment.
My kitchen is *approximately* a thousand timesmore cheerful and warm (not to mention cluttered with green, vintagey goodness) than it was just a few days ago.
I’m quite in love with it now.
Well, I’m as in love with it as I can be considering all of the contempo vibes and stainless steel. I know I’m a bit weird for hating the modern look (stark white cabinets, dark grey countertops, stainless steel—barf!). I just want a kitchen that smacks of an 1880’s rural farmhouse (like a real, working victorian farmhouse guys, not that Pinterest/HGTV/faketiques crap)—is that too much to ask?
For a rental apartment in Roanoke, VA, it obviously is too much to ask, so I will stop complaining about it now and move on to more important subjects like my gorgeous VINTAGE FLORAL PRINTS!
I’ve finally finished framing and hanging these beauties after building up my collection over the last two years. The kitchen was already feeling a bit busy and full, so it’s hard to believe that hanging some artwork could make such a big impact—but these prints surly pack a punch!
I really can’t decide what’s my favorite—the vibrant florals, green frames, or the cluttered shelf of vintage pottery?! I love it ALL!
The tops of cabinets are a notoriously difficult and frustrating place to decorate—in fact, I’d prefer not to have upper cabinets at all. But somehow, in this apartment it seems to work—the wide open space above the cabinets make them a feature. I used a 1″x12″ pine board on top to function as a shelf and to build cohesion with the other wood elements in the kitchen (like my antique breakfast tray and English plate rack).
My vintage vase collection (mostly McCoy) stands out against the warm tones of the wood shelf and the bright white walls and cabinets. The mirrored shades of green between the pottery and prints create a layered look that adds enormous charm to the entire space. The prints also help to draw attention to the enormously high ceilings.
I delayed hanging these prints for a while because I was a bit worried it would be too busy—would it look too flea market-ish? But, the flea market look has really been growing on me lately, and I think I am learning to embrace the clutter. I am really, really thrilled with the way this project turned out. The kitchen isn’t such a modern monstrosity anymore, huh?
Now that the project is complete, I can admit: a bit of madness was involved in the hanging of these prints. They’re hung about 12 feet high on that wall, so it took some acrobatic work to get them up there by myself on a Wednesday afternoon. I worked crazily and used a truly scary telescoping ladder (ten out of ten, do not recommend) to get the prints hung so that I could surprise Sam before he got home (you know how deeply he cares about these things…)
I did also surprise him with a homemade-from-scratch banana cream pie that same day. It was pure torture for me to bake this pie because—having just embarked on another round of Whole30—I was unable to taste test the vanilla pudding as I whisked away at it for a solid 25 minutes straight. Luckily Sam does care deeply about pie, especially the banana cream variety.
Back to my vintage floral prints, how pretty do all those flowers look?!
(Also, did you see my rolling pin wall? Ohhh it’s SO GOOD!)
More kitchen goodness is to come, as I recently purchased a gorgeous wood antique piece that will be replacing that little purple side table—I can’t wait to show you!
That stack of beautiful vintage linens up there all have something interesting in common—I purchased them all secondhand. I’m a huge fan of ‘thrifting’ for home linens like bedding, pillows, table runners, curtains and more.
If you’re new to thrifting, you may be a little skeptical—understandably. But if you believe that purchasing linens secondhand is a nasty and germ-filled affair—I’m here to reassure you that it’s not. And to try to coax you over to my side of the fence. It’s very cozy over here.
I’ve been shopping secondhand for items like blankets, towels and throw pillows for many years now. At this point I would guess that about sixty percent of the soft goods in my home have come from secondhand sources. Most from thrift stores specifically.
How I started thrifting for linens
For me, thrifting for linens started as a way of finding the vintage and antique styles that I loved, but weren’t available new in stores. Reproductions have become common over the last five years or so. But back in 2010, no companies were remaking vintage styles (especially not in my price range). I loved 1950’s chenille bedspreads and a good tattered vintage floral quilt. So shopping secondhand wasn’t about saving money or creating sustainable habits. It was simply the only way to accomplish the style I wanted in my home. This is why thrifting for linens never seemed like an odd or gross thing to do. When you’re looking for vintage bedding, you kind of expect it to be used, ya know?
Over the years, I found a lot more than just vintage chenille throws in the Goodwill bedding section. From down duvets to entire bedding sets, vintage towels to throw pillows, there have been some real treasures.
Some of my best thrifted finds
Some of my favorite bedding has come from thrift stores, like this beautiful floral quilt and sham set. I purchased it at a Goodwill for $20. It’s 100% cotton and was in perfect condition when I found it. I’m pretty sure it was never used. How gorgeous and comfy does my summer bed look?!
In fact, most of the soft goods I buy from thrift stores are in perfect condition—they’re basically brand new. This beautiful Toile de Jouy duvet and sham set was $40, also from Goodwill. And, it came with a Ralph Lauren down duvet insert inside of it. That’s a heck of a deal if you know anything about the cost of authentic down.
I’m not saying that I find these linens on a daily or even weekly basis. But if you ask me, it’s well worth a wander over to the linens section the next time you’re out thrifting. It does take patience to find the treasures, though. When you’re hoping to find a complete set of bedding in a specific size, you sometimes have to wait.
I don’t aim to meet all of my linen needs via secondhand sources, as that’s obviously a bit unrealistic. Sometimes, you just need a new set of sheets. But, by keeping an eye out on a regular basis, I’ve been able to grow my linen collection and have found some really beautiful pieces in the process.
But seriously, aren’t thrifted linens gross?
Nope. No, they are not.
If you’re still caught up on the idea of thrifted linens being gross, think about it this way. When you stay at a hotel, you’re sleeping with linens (and a mattress!) that hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other people have slept in. In contrast, thrifted linens likely come from only one previous owner an are lightly used. And YOU control how much they’re washed before you sleep in them.
There may be a limit to the types of linens you want to find secondhand, and that’s ok too. For me, vintage decorative throw pillows are ok, but I won’t buy any other type of pillow secondhand. Likewise, I have a lovely collection of vintage towels from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, but they’re just for display and the towels we actually use are all purchased new. This is really just a matter of personal preference as we love oversize fluffy white towels for everyday use and the pretty vintage ones tend to be small.
Items to start thrifting for NOW
Thrifting for table runners, cloth napkins, tablecloths and curtains is an easy place to start if you’re a bit apprehensive. These items are all abundantly available at your local thrift store and are fun to change out seasonally. I found this cute, vintage-inspired runner at Goodwill for $5.99 last year.
Pro tip: Target actually donates overstock, clearance and returned goods to Goodwill on a regular basis. This table runner was a new-from-Target item that I found at Goodwill off-season. I’ve also found brand new organic sheet sets, quilts, entire bedding sets, rugs, throw pillows, etc. Target donates a LOT of brand new linens to Goodwill, so be on the lookout. (I’ve seen this in OR, WA, FL, and VA, but I am not sure if they do this in every area, so ask your local Goodwill.)
Where to thrift for vintage linens
So, I’ve obviously convinced you by now, and you’re ready to hunt for some new-to-you linens. If you want vintage specifically, where should you look?
Aside from thrift stores, antique stores are also a great resource—for throw pillows and quilts especially. I have a growing collection of vintage linens like needlepoint pillows and cotton tablecloths. Most of these items have come from antique stores. I do occasionally find them for a really great deal at a thrift store, though. My best deal ever was a cute mid-century needlepoint pillow for 10¢ at a rummage sale eight years ago—score!
When you’re looking for something very specific, online marketplaces like are a great place to search, too. Think Etsy, Mercari, and Facebook Marketplace. Last year I scored the Pottery Barn buffalo plaid duvet set that I’ve been eyeing for years. I got it for less than half price from a seller on Mercari. It was brand new and still in the original packaging! Total steal compared to buying new at Pottery Barn. These marketplaces are a great place to test the waters if you’re still iffy about ‘thrifting’.
Are you ready for the bins?
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re a seasoned thrifter and want a real challenge, I urge you to give the Goodwill Outlets a try. Yes, the BINS!
Linens are the item I most commonly find there. I’ve found a few antique quilts in perfect condition (along with lots of tattered ones, which I also bring home to love). The bins is also a great place to find antique rugs.
If you’re a total newbie to Goodwill outlets, please watch a Youtube video of someone hunting at the bins so that you know what to expect, because it’s not a normal thrift store and honestly, your first time will be a bit of a shock if you’re not prepared.
Do bring your own gloves, hand sanitizer, and a bottle of water that fits in your purse. Speaking of your purse—bring an older the shoulder option so you have both hands free for rummaging. You’ll want to go earlier in the day and plan to stay for at least an hour or two to make the trip worth it (items are priced by weight, so you usually want a full cart—it’s cheaper than a half-full one).
Tips for caring for vintage, antique and secondhand linens
So, you found some pretty soft goods secondhand and excitedly brought them home. Now it’s time to wash them. And I have some tips to share with you about washing secondhand linens—especially vintage ones.
For most items purchased secondhand, a quick wash cycle with oxyclean will have it feeling fresh in no time. For delicate or vintage items, special care may be needed, so read on.
Removing stains from linens (or any fabric items)
I have a few tips for getting stains out of vintage (or any) fabric. My number one tip is always baking soda and an old toothbrush. Lightly dampen the item, pour a liberal amount of baking soda on the stain, and scrub away.
Recently I bought a large brimmed white hat from the San Diego Hat company for $2.00 from Goodwill. It had a huge tomato sauce stain on the brim (let’s hope it was tomato sauce). Two minutes of scrubbing with the toothbrush and baking soda and poof! The stain disappeared.
This trick is magic. It’s removes tough stains from everything including vintage tablecloths, clothing, shoes, carpets and more. Plus it’s all natural, ridiculously cheap and easy to rinse off after treatment. There’s also no harm if it doesn’t work—it’s not like the stain will get any worse by trying this method.
Borax is my other stain removing secret weapon. For light colored fabrics, washing on the warm setting with some Borax usually removes any minor stains. For darks and brights, you’ll obviously have to wash on cold but the Borax can still make a big difference.
Always air dry vintage linens
My last tip is to always air dry vintage linens—especially items like printed tablecloths, napkins or runners with lace details or anything made of cotton or linen. The heat of modern dryers is really harsh on these items and air drying with lengthen it’s lifespan.
What tips do you have for finding vintage linens secondhand? What’s your favorite thrifty linen find? I’d love to see them, please share!
It’s that time of year where summer days are getting shorter and we’re anxiously awaiting changing leaves and crisp air. It’s always a struggle for me to make it all the way until September before indulging in fall splendor, so I thought I’d better snap some photos of my cozy apartment before it’s transformed with pumpkins and plaid.
We currently live in a little one bedroom apartment in the city of Hillsboro, Oregon. It’s one of the smallest spaces we’ve called home and it’s also one of the best. The small footprint has been a great change of pace— it took almost no time to get it feeling cozy and homey.
In summer, I try to keep decor simple and fresh. I love to crowd bookshelves with knick knacks and secondhand finds, but otherwise keep the house feeling as minimal as possible (unlike my philosophy during the holidays, when I’ve got every surface covered with something festive).
My favorite corner of the house is the living room. For ages I’ve been on the hunt for a few antique pastel or oil paintings of English cottages and this year I finally got my hands on a few. The big pastel painting in the center was a gift from my mom. She’s had it hanging in her house for years and I’ve always been in love with it. I’m still on the hunt for a few more cottages because I’d love to do a larger feature wall someday. But for now, I’m so cheerful looking at my small collection of paintings in their classic gilded frames.
I’m also quite proud of this little vignette above my fireplace— I love the subtle greens and natural elements. The little wood “trees” are actually antique spools from a factory in Upstate New York, and the candlesticks I purchased secondhand after a months-long search to find the perfect pair.
We purchased that “TV stand” from the Goodwill Clearance center for $20. It’s actually a metal office credenza from the 80’s. I gave it a quick coat of green paint and added those wooden drawer pulls. The feet still need some work, but I’ve never loved an entertainment center more than I love this guy, which has taken me by surprise because it was only intended as a temporary storage solution. It’s so sturdy and offers a ton of storage. ALL of our video game consoles and accessories fit in this piece of furniture, and I love that it’s a mix of industrial structure with cottage finishes. It’s the perfect TV stand (and now we’ve got another ridiculously heavy piece of furniture to pack and move when the time comes— oops!)
Please ignore that bit of fall decor creeping into my living room on the TV stand. I told you— I can’t help it!
Earlier this summer, we took a trip to a local u-pick lavender farm and came home with several different varieties and bunches of lavender. After drying it, I got to work arranging vases, hanging bunches and filling baskets. It’s been a wonderful way to deck the house with florals for summer while keeping to a budget. We don’t mind the beautiful scent either.
The dining room makes for another beautiful and cozy corner of the apartment. We get great natural light in summer, but my favorite lighting comes from the antique box spring feature light that I made years ago and have had hanging in every home since. The dining room is usually my favorite spot to hang it— I love to sit down to a meal under the warm light.
Our apartment has these amazing built-in book shelves in the dining space— it’s actually one of the reasons we chose to rent here. Having space to display my collections is a huge bonus— from vintage ceramics to cookbooks and all the tchotchkes in between.
I finally gave the base of my mom’s vintage enamel top table a coat of off-white paint. It looks so fresh and it makes me so giddy to eat in this cheerful little spot every day. I still remember my mom bringing this table home from an antique store when I was very young (maybe 10 years old or so?) and I’ve been in love with it since that day.
Eventually all of those mismatched chairs will be painted in that lovely light green color— it’s a work in progress.
I’ve been trying since the spring to keep that poor String of Pearls plant alive. It’s not going so well. The plant has been slowly dying since I bought it. Maybe it just didn’t take to the transplant well? (Let’s just blame it on that.)
The kitchen in this apartment isn’t my favorite, and I don’t really have much to show for this space. It’s got my least favorite feature that a kitchen could possibly have— that dreaded space above the cabinets. I never know what to do with this space. The kitchen looks so empty if you do nothing with it, and so kitschy not matter what kind of decor your throw up there. I’ve given up on decorating rental kitchens and I am looking forward to the day I can design the kitchen of my dreams. It will not have awkward space between the cabinets and the ceiling.
Here is the cute little hallway to the bedroom and bathroom. I love that mirror— it’s from Ikea and it’s my favorite shade of green. This isn’t the largest of hallways but in an apartment this compact we try to put every corner to use, so I keep a narrow bookshelf here. It’s packed with books, and the table lamp is a much needed fixture in this hallway, which is otherwise very dark.
Another mirror hangs between the kitchen and living areas, reflecting the apartment’s entrance and keeping the space feeling open and bright.
I’m not going to show you my bedroom or bathroom. Neither is styled very well and I still don’t have a king bed or headboard because I haven’t come across the right one while secondhand shopping over the past few years (yes, sometimes it takes years to find the right piece when you’re committed to shopping secondhand. To me, it’s worth the wait!)
The last space I’ll give you a peak of is our little patio. We love this space. We moved in during winter when it didn’t get much sunshine, but with summer in full swing we’ve gotten plenty and it’s been the pups’ favorite spot to hang out.
Thank you so much for stopping by and taking a photo tour of my little apartment today. I hope you enjoyed it!
Can I decorate for fall now?
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As I write this it’s snowing outside here in Portland. The weather has been so weird lately and although we’ve had flurries, hale, and freezing rain this week, there’s been no snow accumulation, which makes me very sad.
I mean, if it’s not gonna snow pretty, it might as well warm up outside, right?!
In the spirit of spring, I decided to bring home a new houseplant this week. I have managed to keep all my current houseplants alive for almost a year now, and I’ve had lots of growth, so I think I can handle some more green friends. I’ve even managed to propagate a handful of succulents— something I’ve tried many a times in the past without success— and my little babies are all thriving and doing well. In fact, I gifted a few to some gals from work last month because I just had too many! So that’s progress and my thumbs are looking slightly more grey-ish than black these days.
My new plant is one I’ve been longing after for quite some time, and I know I’m not the only one, as it’s quite a popular little succulent. It’s a String of Pearls! I bought it at a local plant shop in NE Portland and found the beautiful terra cotta pot there as well.
Eventually I want to hang my new plant, but until I find (or make?) a cute hanger, he looks great on the sideboard in my living room and gets a good amount of sun from the large window.
While I’m showing off my new succulent, I thought I might as well introduce you to my other house plants. I’ve got a decent collection going these days, although they’re all succulents.
I’m going to be transplanting my Burro’s Tail soon, because after reading a bunch of info online about Sedum Morganianum care, I’ve realized he’s getting way too much light in his current location (from my grow light) and is too pale. I think he’d be happier in the indirect sunlight coming through my living room windows. Hopefully that will help him take on the deeper, blue-green color that the Burro’s Tail is known for.
As for my “Sticks on Fire” plant, I’m at a loss for what to do! He’s alive and healthy, but ever since the cross-country trip in the back seat of my SUV, he just hasn’t been thriving like he did in the hot Florida sun last summer. I purchased this grow light specifically for this plant, thinking it would help him survive the terribly dark PNW winter. Even with 8 hours of “light” a day, he’s growing slowly and hasn’t recovered any of the red coloring that Firestick plants are meant to have.
He does have some new growth, which is a definite positive, but I really hope he comes fully back to life soon. I wonder if his pot is too small or if he doesn’t like the rock mulch I added? These are the questions I fret over as I try not to kill my most beloved plant.
I do wish I had a picture of him from last summer. He was so gigantic and beautiful.
I should add a disclosure to this post: I am by no means a plant expert, and you shouldn’t take any advice from me on the care of plants, because I am in fact a house-plant-serial-killer at large. There, I warned you.
To end on a positive note, I do have some very cute and very empty vintage planters that need filling. I was thinking of hunting down some non-succulent type indoor plants that do well in low light, so that I can have a few green friends to brighten up other corners of my apartment. Please recommend any that you think would be happy in a north facing Oregon apartment— it’s a challenge, I know.
I’m hoping to fill that large green planter next, as I’ve got the perfect spot picked out for him. You’ll have to wait to see where he ends up!
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