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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Decking the Halls: Holiday Decor

Dressing up our house for the holidays was loads of fun—from hanging ornaments on the tree to decorating the outside with giant colorful bulbs. Betty White especially likes her santa mouse friend, which my grandparents always had around during the holidays, so everyone in my family has one to remember them by.

My brother got this Budapest ornament for me when he was on tour for one of his recent productions. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

These old ornaments passed down from my grandparents are pretty hilarious—my grandfather crafted this ninja-looking snowman.

I snagged this Michael Bolton ornament a few years ago from Five Below and was pretty proud of my find…then I felt bad and bought a Miles David ornament too so our tree wouldn’t totally lack music cred.

After my grandfather passed away, I remember going through a box of ornaments and stumbling upon this gem…I guess my grandpa decided to keep the plastic bag over the baby’s head as a joke. I know it’s a little deranged, but it always makes me giggle when December rolls around.

These guys were passed down to me by my parents, who have other mouse/elf duos to keep their tree company. I have always loved their stylish outfits and tend to make them talk in goofy voices whenever I put them on the tree (they discuss the latest love triangles on Gossip Girl mostly since it’s their favorite show).

This satanic looking elf toting a lamb (?) was also from my grandparents. He is absolutely terrifying to walk past at night, but at least there are some cute critter ornaments on the tree to distract me.

It probably comes as no surprise that our angel with unfortunate yellow hair is also from my grandparents’ decoration box. Luckily Pete is supportive of my desire to showcase all things nostalgic and he puts up with our weird-haired angel and the baby with a bag over its head.

I can’t take any credit for the colorful lights, which Pete put up by crawling, army-style on the roof. I did, however, make the little bushes all festive-like with white lights. We both grew up with multi-color lights outdoors, so we wanted to keep the tradition with the large rainbow bulbs.

I like that you can see our Christmas tree through the bay windows from out front…it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when I pull into the driveway.

What are some of your favorite ways to show your spirit during this time of year? Please tell me I’m not the only one with a Michael Bolton ornament…

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?

Currently Coveting: Emily Henderson’s Eclectic Style

I have developed a bit of a blog crush on Emily Henderson, who is from last season of HGTV’s Design Star. I had never watched Design Star up until this week, when I realized last season was available to watch on Hulu. Insert my new obsession. I’ll admit I kind of half-watched it while working, but I paid enough attention to pick up on some great ideas. It’s pretty much like Project Runway but with stylists and designers for the home, and it’s perfect for learning new DIY tips to bring to your own makeover projects.

I am crushing on this card catalogue Emily Henderson found at a flea market and made her own by adding pin-legs and topping with a mirror. Totally simple and definitely do-able, so I’ll continue to scope Craigslist every day for a (reasonably priced) card catalog. Once the weather becomes a little less sweltering, I will bring my search to flea markets and cross my fingers I find something, because I think the older sense of character would go well in our 1940s home. I really love mixing vintage finds with bright, modern pieces…and tiny drawers basically make me go bananas. Where do you find your design inspiration for your home?

{Photos courtesy of Style by Emily Henderson}

Have a fun weekend everyone, hopefully I’ll have more before and after house photos to share once Monday rolls around!

Vintage Tea Length Wedding Dress Needs a New Home!

I don’t write much about being divorced on here (there’s a whole blog for that), but lo and behold, I am selling my vintage tea length wedding dress. All of the measurements and details are on OnceWed, where you can find out more about this 1940s piece. I purchased it for $500 and spent over $100 on alterations and cleaning, but I’m only asking $350 for dress. To those engaged gals out there who are local, we can definitely schedule a meetup to see if it fits properly before purchasing.

I think it’s a sweet wedding dress for an offbeat bride or for a vintage-loving bride who wants to change into a shorter dress for the reception. Please don’t hesitate to comment below with any questions, I’m looking forward to finding this dress a happy, new home.