Wedding Stuff: Our Hunt for Vintage, Mismatched China

Sorry if it’s been quiet here lately, between my full time job, wedding/honeymoon planning and pooch fostering, I haven’t had much time to blog these days. I know wedding planning isn’t the most thrilling subject to most, but I intend on sharing little details anyway. Pete and I are on the hunt for vintage, gold-rimmed china for our mismatched dinnerware. Here’s a glimpse of our collection so far, we’re only about 30% complete. I really enjoy going out when we have free time to search for items to add to the table.

Right now we’re mostly focusing on getting large dinner plates, small plates, bowls and saucers. We’ll also have to get tumblers (for yummy alcoholic drinks) and drinking glasses (for water), in addition to teacups/coffee mugs.

We still haven’t gotten any napkins, but at least we won’t be using tablecloths on the wood tables, so that makes things a bit easier. It will be a few more months before we can cross this item off our to-do list, but I think it will look lovely once it comes together. We’re thankful we’re having such an intimate wedding, because I can’t imagine trying to pull this together with more than 20 guests.

We’ll also be having homemade jams of different flavors at each place setting (strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry variations). We did a test run with a ginger peach recipe, but we were less than pleased, so we’re hoping a mixture of berry recipes will be a hit.

We just rented our yellow and white striped canopy tent to dine under, so I’m excited for our yard to become an explosion of color this September. Hopefully we can bring our lawn back to life so there’s some green stuff beneath our feet. I’m looking forward to hanging string lights, paper lanterns, giant balloons, and streamers galore. Hopefully our neighbors won’t think a piñata threw up in our backyard. Cross your fingers it won’t rain…eep!

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Show & Tell: Thrifting Finds

Yesterday you joined me on an average afternoon spent thrift store shopping in the Bucks and Montgomery County areas of Pennsylvania. Today I’ll be sharing my purchases with you and how I plan on incorporating them into our new home.

This vintage radio stood out to me when I saw it on a shelf at the Bryn Athyn Thift Shop listed for $6. It is in need of repair, but even if Pete and I aren’t able to doctor it back to health, I think it works well as a home decor piece for our living room.

I ended up finding a comfortable rocking chair in good condition at ReStore for only $25. I am going to sand and paint it to give the chair a new look (color suggestions are always welcome!). The pink, spaghetti glass jar on the right was $3.50 and goes perfectly in our bright blue kitchen, so I was excited to fill it with elbow macaroni to give the countertop a bit of flavor.

When I saw this owl lamp, I flailed because a few of the illustrations are exactly the same images as the owl wall art we own (which we still need to hang). I love that each side has a different owl illustration, with the formal name of the owl at the bottom. It was too cute not to snag for only $3–it just needs a lamp harp and shade and it will be looking better in no time.

Overall I spent $37.50 and scored a retro radio, rocking chair, owl lamp base and spaghetti jar. If you local readers ever want to join me one day, we should plan a meetup and go as a group!

One Man’s Trash…

About once a month, I devote a lazy afternoon to visiting my favorite thrift stores in the area in an attempt to find items for our home. Sometimes I find things that just need a good cleaning and the price tag scraped off, but I usually have to revamp the thrifted items I purchase to make them a bit more “us.”

Usually my first stop is at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore shop, where my brain always has a lot of trouble keeping up with my eyes. Whenever I go thrift shopping, I usually skip the clothing and go straight to the furniture or housewares. Luckily for me, this place is made up entirely of those two things. This store is perfect for roaming and incredibly spacious, so you never feel like you’re in anyone’s personal bubble. Plus, all of the proceeds go to a great cause, so I feel a lot less guilty than I would at the mall.

I thought the rustic chair on the left was really cute and for $5 it seemed like a steal…but once I tried to sit on it I was a little nervous by how wibble-wobbly it was. I set out trying to find a rocking chair to makeover for our sunroom, so when I saw this cross-stitched number, I kind of swooned a little…but not $60 worth of swooning.

These chairs have been here for the past few times I’ve visited, and at $35 a piece they are kind of irresistible. I know, I have bad taste, but at least I know it…

This dresser is absolutely lovely and definitely something I could see being sold for thousands of dollars at Anthropologie, but here it’s under $50. Most of the ginormous furniture pieces at ReStore are in the $50-80 range, which is kind of a steal.

Rod Stewart agrees.

I thought this watermelon painted picnic basket was kind of cute in a cheesy way and would be fun to use as a prop for engagement shoots. The piece on the right is drool-worthy, but I didn’t want to spend over $40 total and I had three more stores to visit, so I kept on trucking.

These floral cushions are fabulously tacky…if they matched our sunroom I would’ve snagged a few for our patio set.

My next stop was Impact, where there is always a 25% sale, so I usually visit the website beforehand to find out which savings are going on that week.

These bad boys were picked up by a hipster-looking gal only seconds after I took this photo.

I was looking for a cupcake stand and wished this had been able to do the trick, but luckily I was distracted by the wooden bunny art that vaguely resembled my illustrations.

From statement furniture pieces to sad owl drawings, Impact never ceases to amaze me at every turn of the corner.

I’m drawn to tacky bunny/watermelon-related knick knacks like a moth to a flame.

I thought this was pretty and reminded me of intricate Thai furniture I’ve seen sold at Terrain.

The furniture selection is pretty big at Impact, but I mostly go there to browse the housewares and linens. I love me some vintage calendar tea towels with kitties on them.

As soon as my friends start popping out babies, I am going to make impulse buys like the nursery scale above. I seriously have discussions in my head about whose imaginary babies these things would be perfect for, and then talk myself out of buying anything (thank goodness).

Next up was the Bryn Athyn Thrift Shop, which is housed in a beautiful red barn nearby the Bryn Athyn College campus. This has become my favorite stop of them all, and today I finally made my first purchase there. I love how the place is set up, with rare collectables hanging from the ceiling on the top floor. This is where I find the most unique items because it seems to be sort of hidden away and not as popular with the younger crowd.

Who wouldn’t want a possessed teddy bear on a rocking chair or a figurine of a pig screaming his last words? Re-mark-able. The woman next to me pointed to the pig ceramic and said, “Oh honey, that is so photo-worthy,” and I agreed with a quick click of the camera.

I think silhouette art can be really lovely, but screaming birds, not so much…

This is the staircase which leads to the upstairs, full of furniture and clothing treasures as far as the eye can see. Out of all of the stores, the prices here always seem incredibly fair and affordable and I’m never left wondering if the employees messed up and meant to move a decimal point over one.

I’ve never purchased anything at Holy Redeemer Thrift Store, but it’s on my way home, so I usually stop there. Even though I exit empty-handed, I always leave with a smile on my face because the people there are out. STAN. ding. Today an elderly woman was talking to the dolls for sale in the knick knack section and pinching their porcelain cheeks for what seemed like ten minutes. (I lingered pretending to be interested in a vast collection of Christmas decorations.) I can’t wait to be so old that I don’t care when strangers are staring at me having conversations with inanimate objects. I mean, I already do that now, but I can’t wait for the not caring part to hit me more.

This sassy dog cup is kind of necessary. Pete: If you’re reading, Christmas gift, GO! I’m always impressed by the fabric selection at this location, as well as the abundance of doll heads available for the pickin’.

For you engaged gals out there, thrift stores are a great place for finding Mason jars, which are incredibly pretty as centerpieces or hanging lanterns. I am not ashamed to admit, I was half tempted to buy this clumsy, cross-stitched rabbit situation.

Wondering what purchases I did make (mom, this question is directed at you)? I’m going to share them with you guys tomorrow for a show and tell. This is where you pretend to be left in suspense and comment with guesses as to what you think I may or may not have spent $37.50 on.

Before & After: A $10 Seashell Cross Stitched Table

You might remember me talking about this cross-stitched table I bought at ReStore a couple of weeks ago for $10. The seashell look isn’t for me, so I planned on painting it white to match the table in our sunroom and replacing the stitched piece. At first I thought an old page from my grandfather’s Animal Encyclopedia might look cool, but the pages ended up being too small to fit inside the framed area. Instead, I decided to rip out a page from my American Illustration book, where a painting by one of my favorite artists, Jason Holley, jumped out at me. I’ve always loved this illustration and thought it would mesh well with the look of the sunroom.

Here’s a before and after shot of the new side table, which goes well with the bunny pillow less than a foot away. Sorry Pete, but I love me some bunnies.

Speaking of bunnies, ours definitely dig the table revamp, I made sure to get their final approval.

Our chinchilla Maude didn’t really care for the bunny side table revamp (she’s more of a seashell girl), even after I gave her a few scritches to try to win her over.

Overall, this project was incredibly fast to tackle (thank god for spray paint), affordable and it gives our sunroom a bit more personality.

What are some simple DIY projects you’ve attempted lately?

Patio Sets, Sunrooms & Seals!

Like total procrastinators, Pete and I recently began our search for a patio set, since barbecue season is here and we have nowhere to seat potential guests. His mom and I went looking for a set which he would approve of (the boy is surprisingly picky) and didn’t have much luck. Since it’s so late in the season, most stores only had a few options to choose from, if anything at all, so I began my search at IKEA.

I made my way to the South Philadelphia location, where I was able to snag the Ransby table on major sale for $99 and the last two matching chairs for $40 a piece. I was able to find four more chairs to complete the set at the Conshohocken IKEA location, where the same chairs were priced at $70 a piece. Lame. I asked the employee if she’d be willing to match the Philadelphia store price and she scoffed at me. A girl’s gotta try. Seriously though, when did chairs get so expensive? I’ve been scouring thrift stores to see if I could find any wooden chairs to revamp without having to dish out a fortune, but no such luck.

You might have caught a glimpse of the concrete death pool in the shot of our new patio table. Remember what it looked like when we moved in? Terrifying. Since these photos were taken, the circle had filled up with high weeds overflowing onto our concrete patio.

I made it my mission last Sunday to clear out the weeds and take out all of the stones so I could place them in a more organized fashion. Now Pete and I are at a standstill with the new and slightly improved concrete death pool. Should we wait until we can garden some fresh herbs/flowers or save those for our fenced in garden? We could rig some sort of fire pit situation I suppose, but I’m not sure how we’d go about that without it looking sort of awkward with dirt underneath. It doesn’t help that the circle wasn’t cut with the best craftsmanship, but at least it’s a bit cleared out now. If anyone has any clever ideas on how to make it look nice, I’m all ears!

While in Conshohocken, I paid a visit to Impact Thrift Stores, where I have had the most luck with vintage finds in the past. “Bric a Brac” was 25% off, so I went there in an attempt to find glass pitchers for future summer barbecue festivities (I’m dying to try out some sangria recipes). While browsing knick knacks, I walked down an aisle of artwork and gasped/flailed/squealed. My heart pitter pattered when I saw a signed Charley Harper serigraph print from 1975 on the wall. Charley Harper is my all-time favorite artist, so to find one of his serigraphs signed at a local thrift store, seemed a bit like fate. I looked at the price tag. $175. All of the other artwork on the walls was priced from $3 to $30, so the store knew they stumbled upon a treasure. I carefully plucked the print from the wall and brought it with me as I sat on a hideous, olive green and pink floral couch from the 70’s.

As a gal on an unemployment/freelance budget, I am very careful with my savings. I’m comfortable spending $5 on a glass pitcher, but to spend over $50 on a print on a day other than my birthday, seems a bit selfish to me. After fifteen minutes of mulling, I began browsing Charley Harper signed serigraphs on my iPhone and discovered that the print was going for $350 (unframed). With the 25% discount, I would be spending $130. I decided to make the splurge and rationalized my purchase by telling myself that I would sell something back home to replace my wedding photography savings (keep an eye out for a wedding dress for sale post soon!).

Now that we have a much-loved Charley Harper print to keep us company in the kitchen, I am much more enthusiastic about spending time in there. I decided to make black bean burgers for Pete and I, which I’ll be posting the recipe and directions for later. I’m on a vegetable and fruit-infused water kick now that we have pitchers, which has been incredibly refreshing in this painfully hot weather.

Above on the left is a “before” shot of a table I purchased for $10 at ReStore (I kept the price sticker on it to give it an unflattering “before” look). I plan on spray painting the table and replacing the cross-stitched seashell linen with an old page from my grandfather’s Animal Encyclopedia. The white table above is part of the furniture set we inherited from the previous homeowner. I gave it a fresh coat of white paint with the intention of keeping it upstairs with the rest of the pieces, but decided the guest bedroom was too crowded with furniture and brought it to the previously bare sunroom. When our patio chairs aren’t outside for shindigs, we’ll keep them safely indoors in our sunroom…we certainly don’t want anyone stealing our overpriced IKEA chairs (can you tell I’m bitter that the Conshohocken location charged nearly double for the same chair sold in Philadelphia?).

Here’s where I’d like some reader input—do you think I should spray paint the white table a color (like a deep blue teal) or keep the white on white look? I plan to spray paint the mini end table to match, so I need to make a decision to begin the makeover process. The other treasures in the sunroom include a huge Charley Harper book, a mosaic owl from HomeGoods and a vintage tea towel from 1978 with a vibrant bird print.

I figured my grandfather’s old bird paintings would mesh well with the overall theme in the room, which is tied together with the nature-inspired Gislev rug by IKEA (yay to scoring a large rug for under $15!). Even though the Julie Rothman rabbit pillow always manages to poke me with its sharp feathers, I still heart it.

Betty White and I don’t spend much time in the sunroom lately since it is scorching out there, but we look forward to the days when we can people watch with a cool drink in our hands (lets just pretend she has hands for a moment, please). It really is the little things that make a house a home.

House Hunting Part Deux

I’m really looking forward to house hunting this weekend with Pete. It’s hard to fall in love with a house online when there aren’t any photos of the bedrooms, bathrooms or basement, but judging from the interior and backyard, the place above in Glenside is definitely what we are looking for in a quaint, new home. The other house we are visiting doesn’t have any photos online, just a street view on Google maps. I’ll be sure to take photos to document our process…who knows, maybe we’ll be on our way to placing our very first bid on a house.

I can’t wait to have a house that is officially ours. I’ll admit I’ve become addicted to house blogs like Young House Love, but I have to remind myself that I’m not a mastermind when it comes to interior design and we’ll have to take baby steps in the remodeling department. I have a feeling there will be a lot of trips to flea markets and estate sales this summer to furnish our new abode. As much as I’d love to be able to afford to deck out our digs with gorgeous furniture from Anthropologie, I know that’s not realistic for our budget and we can probably achieve a similar look with some elbow grease and creativity. Plus, I think we’ll have more fun working together on thrifty furniture makeovers (and our credit cards will thank us later).

I’m really going to miss our current apartment, it is lovely and it feels like we live in our own little secluded bubble most of the time. But it will be nice to be able to have some more freedom (having guests over after 10pm) and our own backyard. Betty White will be able to bark her little head off if we leave to run errands. I’m hoping by giving Betty more room to run around, she will relax a bit and her separation anxiety will improve. She’s gotten a lot better and being able to take her to work has certainly helped her in remaining more calm. I’m really grateful that things have been able to turn around and she is a happy little pooch again.

*Speaking of Betty White, how many times can you spot her in these photos?