Finds on Friday—why I thrift, slow decorating and a giveaway sneak peek!

This week I’ve got lots of new finds to share with you and I really mean share.

Today I’ll not only be showing you the wonderful treasures I found for keeps, but also a sneak peak of some lovely vintage pieces that I’ve thrifted to GIVE AWAY.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be scouring secondhand shops to curate collections of items for two distinct and beautiful vignettes that you’ll have a chance to win. Each ‘vignette’ will be a curated collection of five or six small pieces, styled together into one decorative statement. You’ll get to vote on which vignette you like best and simultaneously enter to win all the items in it.

I’ve found a few really special pieces already—here’s a little sneak peek!

Now that you’ve seen some of the goods, let’s talk about why I’m putting together this fun, thrifty giveaway.

Mostly, my goal is to show you exactly the kind of style you can accomplish by shopping secondhand. I don’t live in a place with exceptionally great thrift stores and I promise I don’t have better luck than you—anyone can create exceptional spaces with a little patience, perseverance and experimentation.

Finding your ideal home style is a learning process and your home will evolve throughout it. While I’m not any luckier than you I probably do spend more time thrifting and I understand not everyone is able to hunt as regularly. All this means is that the process will take you a bit longer and that’s ok—slow decorating is a good thing.

Thrifted vase ($4.00, found at Buy the Season in Salem, VA) paired with vintage millinery stems and handmade felt flowers

So often I find that the items in my home that hold the most value to me are the ones that took the longest to find. They’re usually items that have a story attached to them—the story of where I found them, the story of the restoration process, the story of how the item was handed down to me.

A pretty basket corrals napkins on the vintage baker’s rack in my kitchen (basket purchased for $3.00 at the MCEAP thrift store in Christiansburg, VA)

This is slow decorating at its core. Home style shouldn’t be about ‘filling a space’ or matching a Pinterest picture. It’s not about quick fixes, trends or seasonal decor rotation (ok, I am guilty of a *little* bit of that). It’s not about hurrying to finish the next space in your home. In fact, your home and the rooms within it should never really be finished.

So many young adults, women especially, feel this pressure to have picture perfect lives and the picture perfect home to coordinate—and we always seem to be in a rush to accomplish it. Instead of taking the time to explore what really makes us happy in our home style, we pick a pretty picture out of a magazine and try to emulate it.

Brass bird figurine found at the MCEAP thrift store in Christiansburg, VA for $5.99

The problem with copying a photo of someone else’s idea of home is that it’s not going to feel like you. Finding the home style that will make you happy isn’t a process that happens overnight.

This is where secondhand shopping comes into the equation. Trust me—I understand that shopping at thrift stores isn’t for everyone. Luckily, thrift stores aren’t the only way to shop secondhand or embrace slow decorating.

Floral needlepoint thrifted for $0.99 from a Goodwill in Lynchburg, VA

Why does shopping secondhand make a difference, though? Aside from the obvious benefits—saving money, environmental stewardship, supporting charity organizations—thrifting has the added benefit of exposing you to the largest possible variety of home decor styles. We’re talking about decades (and sometimes centuries) of styles all piled onto the same shelves at your local Goodwill (or antique store).

Online marketplaces like Etsy are great when you know what you’re looking for. But when you’re starting out I think it’s really important to see items in person—to feel them and look at them up close. To play with them, arrange them with other items and to imagine them in your space.

Another green rolling pin to add to my collection—found for $9.99 at Buy the Season in Salem, VA

What better environment could exist to explore and discover the items that really catch your eye? To see what pieces make you do a little happy dance inside when you spot them?

Over time, your choices will evolve. You’ll decide that mid-century lines are really cool but you’re looking for something less modern and more cozy. Or you’ll realize that while you find vintage linens to be really pretty, they have no practical use in your home and the clutter makes you anxious. Both of these examples are actual realizations I had after years of curating my home style.

A favorite treasure I found long ago for $7.00 at a roadside antique barn in Upstate NY

If I hadn’t experimented, what would I have learned? And where would my home style be now?

In 2020, I am really happy with my home and most of the things in it. I wouldn’t say my style is perfect and I’ll never say it’s done evolving. I have things I am ready to let go of and at the same time I’ve been starting new collections left and right. Mostly I am just ready for a space big enough for me to actually unpack all the things I love. Overall, my home feels like me and I can honestly say it’s not something I copied from a magazine spread. It’s also something that evolved over time, which brings us back to slow decorating.

The cutest brass ducks that joined my zoo of vintage figurines ($2.00 each from Treasure Trove Thrift in Christiansburg, VA)

When I say slow decorating, I mean slow. This isn’t the first time I am writing about the fact that sometimes it takes me years to find the right piece. Sometimes it takes so long that I end up not needing the piece anymore (because we move to a new house, the space is different, it doesn’t fit, etc) and my list completely changes. Chalk it up to military life.

Remember when I talked about my thrift list last month? Well, I’ve crossed exactly one item off that list. It was a lampshade that I found earlier this week (makeover post coming soon). That’s it—all of the other items from my list are still on it and I’m just waiting for them to find me.

My $1.00 bedazzled lampshade purchased from the MCEAP Home Store in Christiansburg, VA

This is why I love secondhand shopping—to find pieces and become a part of their story. Sometimes a piece is with me for a few months, sometimes a few years, and every once in a while it’s destined to be with me for a lifetime. However long I keep a piece, I learn something from it—either that it is the epitome of my style and makes me outrageously happy or that it served me well but doesn’t quite fit anymore. Then I get to pass it on to someone else and hope it will become a part of their story.

That’s why I thrift.

Giveaway info

I am beyond excited to be hosting my first giveaway here on the blog this fall. It’s so fitting that I’ll be giving away a few vignettes of items that I’ve thrifted especially for you—my readers!

I’ll be making a full post soon detailing the giveaway dates, how to enter and what items are included. Be sure to follow me on the blog or on Instagram so you don’t miss the announcement!

Winners will be drawn at random and the items will be shipped to you free of charge (within the continental U.S. only). Entries will be accepted through Instagram, email and Facebook. Full rules to follow.

Finds on Friday—Pillows, a Picnic Basket + Vintage Books

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.

Finds on Friday—Brass, vintage pottery + more

Hello, thrifty friends!

I had an amazing few weeks of thrifting here in the ‘burbs of PDX.

So many people are donating so many amazing things that apparently don’t bring them joy— so I buy them, bring them home, and keep all the joy for myself!

This week I found tons of brass, a few pieces of vintage art and prints, vintage Christmas goodies, more vintage planters and some amazing hand sculpted pottery. Some of my finds will have to wait for future post, because I haven’t been able to snap pictures of everything yet. But for now, here’s what I’ve got for you!

Vintage Brass Candlesticks

I collected nine brass candlesticks this week, and all for the combined price of $34.33. I usually like to pay no more than $3.00 for one, but this week I splurged because I found some really unusual candlesticks that I haven’t seen before, and some of them were quite large. They were individually priced buys from both Goodwill and The Salvation Army and ranged from $1.49 to $7.99 (and some were 1/2 off the listed price—yay!).

Aren’t they pretty?

I love the look of tarnished brass, but these guys are actually a bit dirty. I might clean them up with some Barkeeper’s Friend this week and then let them re-tarnish.

Vintage West Coast Pottery

This beautiful dish was only $2.00 after the half off sale at Salvation Army this week. Obviously, I couldn’t resist bringing it home for that price.

Vintage Oriental Poppy Print

My mom always find the most amazing vintage floral prints at thrift stores and I’ve been dying to collect some after drooling over hers. I’ve been searching high and low for years.

This week, I finally struck gold!

This vintage floral print is a chromolithograph from the 1890’s, so it’s not only vintage, it’s an antique! And it was only $9.99 at Goodwill. Score!

This is on of my favorite thrift finds of all time, and it’s one of those pieces that I know will be a part of my home for the rest of my life. The colors are so beautiful and poppies are one of my favorite flowers.

It’s so special to find something like this, and I’m such a happy gal this week.

I will be changing out the frame and mat eventually, because I feel the red and green is too Christmas themed. Also, gold frames aren’t really my thing.

Vintage Christmas Icicle Ornaments

This week I ended up at Goodwill Outlet again. That’s where I fished these two boxes of vintage glass ornaments out of a glassware bin!

I can’t believe these sparkly vintage treasures were headed for the trash, what a tragedy! Luckily I was there to save them.

At checkout, I had them weighed separately from my other finds because I knew I’d want to share the price with you. I’m not sure you’re going to believe me when I tell you that all 12 of these ornaments cost me only $0.08.

What a deal! I can’t wait to see how they look on my vintage tinsel tree this Christmas.

That’s everything for this week guys! Happy thrifting!

Finds on Friday—lovely floral finds

It’s only January, I know, but I’m already getting ready for spring here in the Quinlan house.

As soon as the Christmas decor came down a few weeks ago, my apartment felt empty and a bit sad. I don’t decorate heavily for the spring or summer seasons, but I do enjoy hanging a few floral wreaths and placing my bright vintage planters around the house.

This year, I’ve got some really cute new spring-y additions thanks to some recent (and not-so-recent) thrifting trips!

Here are my finds:

Vintage floral coasters; $2.99 for a set of 6; found @ Goodwill in Sebastian, FL last summer while visiting my mom

I’m in LOVE with these cute vintage coasters. They were such a steal at $3 and they look great on my coffee table year-round.

Three-tiered hand-painted floral serving dish; $20.00; found @ a local thrift store in Melbourne, FL last October while visiting

When I saw this cute three-tiered serving dish, I knew it was coming home with me even though the thrift store had it priced pretty high at $20. The thing is, I don’t mind paying a little more for a piece if it’s really special, and I’d rather my money go towards a charity than a big box store anyways.

For me, thrifting is primarily about shopping sustainably and the whole saving money part is just a great plus.

I love the hand-painted flowers and bright yellow color of this server, and most of all, I love that it reminds me of my trip to New Zealand last fall, where my husband and I attended high tea a few times— such lovely memories!

This vintage green planter is my deal of the year so far! I can’t believe I found it for $2.00 at Goodwill. I’ve paid up to $40.00 for vintage pots this size at antique stores— and this one is just my color. It will fit right in with my collection and I can’t wait to pick out the perfect plant to fill it up! I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be able to beat this find in 2019, but I’m up for the challenge.

Small yellow + cement colored planter; $0.77; found yesterday @ The Goodwill Outlet in Hillsboro, OR

This little yellow pot is not vintage, valuable, or fancy. But he is a cutie, isn’t he? I bought an organic basil plant earlier this week and I think it will thrive in this bright little home. It was well worth the $0.77 and I’m always happy to have a new pot.

I actually fished this happy guy out of a bin at the Goodwill outlet center. If you’ve never been to one of Goodwill’s outlets or clearance centers, let me tell you— it’s an experience. Nothing is a better testament to minimalism or a criticism of the consumer lifestyle than visiting one of these giant warehouses. Giant bins of discarded household goods, electronics, and clothes are rolled around and given one last chance at salvation by thrifters like me before being carted off to the landfill. It’s fun to hunt through bins (and sometimes it’s gross, to be honest), but it’s also kinda depressing.

On a happier note, I rescued a bunch of treasures from the outlet center this week, and I’ll be sharing them on some future Thursday post.

Vintage rolling pins, assorted; $2.00 each; found in December @ Union Vintage in Beaverton

My last thrifted finds actually came from a local vintage store, but they were such a good deal that I wanted to share the find with you anyways (and also—they’re still secondhand, so it totally counts!).

Right now I’ve got my colorful vintage rolling pins grouped in a crock on my dining room sideboard, but I’ve got future plans for them in mind.

I’m having a great time using my new finds around the house to brighten things up for the changing season (ok, it’s not changing yet… but when it does I’ll be ready!)

What are some of your latest thrifty finds? Where’s you favorite place to hunt?

Happy thrifting, friends!