Saturday, April 18, 2015

Vintage Market Days Finds

Vintage Market Days came to town last weekend and it was amazing!  It was held at the local fair grounds in the livestock barn and the place was filled to the brim with wonderful booths full of vintage goodies, handmade crafts, and all kinds of fun stuff!
If you haven't heard of Vintage Market Days, don't worry, it's a new concept that just got started in 2012.  Two women came up with the concept in Tulsa, OK, and now independent operations have started branching off into surrounding states.  To learn more, click here or to learn more about the Northwest Arkansas events, click here.
The best way I can describe it is like a traveling antique/flea market, but you walk through the booths like a craft fair.  There were all kinds of vintage items, some really pretty furniture, and unique handmade items.  There was also new stuff (I found some really cute shoes for only $12!) like clothes and jewelry.  I have an unyielding love for anything vintage so I was in heaven.  I went after some smaller items and here are some of my favorite finds. 

These dish towels are my favorite!
The lady at this booth was so nice!  These vintage dish towels are screen printed with some cute sayings.  The first one says 'Pass the biscuits, pass the tea, thank you Lord for blessing me.'
The middle one says 'southern as sweet tea.'
And the last one says 'nothing says lovin' like something from the oven.'

 The owner uses real vintage dish towels and I love this one that has a little piece of embroidery on the back.  It was really stained and I didn't think I wanted it until I saw that sweet little mailbox and flowers. How precious!  
I also found this vintage cross stitch that was framed.  I have another one in our bedroom that says 'Life is fragile, handle with prayer' and I think they will look great together!
There is something so special about vintage items like this I think.  Maybe it's because I was so close to my great-grandmother and I can just imagine her using these dish towels, or working on that cross stitch.  I just can't help but thinking about the women who used these items.  I think about the hard work they put in making three meals a day for their families.  I think about the little mouths they cleaned off, and the strawberry jam that was cleaned up.  I think about the tired hands that practiced embroidery and then sat back and admired their work.  I feel like it's living history in my home, and I'm proud to give it new life and a longer story to tell.
But, maybe that's just the romantic in me. :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

After Easter Finds

I've always been a big believer in shopping 'out of season.'  As in, shopping for winter clothes in summer, summer clothes in winter, and buying holiday decorations after the holiday.  You can find some awesome deals that others pass up simply because they aren't in the mindset to buy because the holiday has passed.  Case in point: these 2 super cute Easter pictures!  I found these at TJ Maxx this weekend, sitting all lonely on the bottom shelf, just begging to be purchased.  They had originally been $19.99 (TJ Maxx price- I'm sure much more anywhere else), but I snagged them for $7.50 each!  I love them and I just know they will be super cute to decorate year.  I don't have any problem buying them now, storing them, and then enjoying them later.  Plus, it will be a little surprise when I unpack them next spring!
 So cute!!!!
So, moral of the story: Don't be afraid to buy things out of season!  You will seriously not regret it the following year, plus you'll get to brag about how cheap your finds were! :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Craft Closet Makeover!

A couple months ago I taught a class for the women at my church on organization.  I love organization and having things in order, so I wanted to help inspire others to be that way too.  Some of the ladies joked that I probably didn't have any space in my home that wasn't organized.  It's almost true, pretty much every space is organized, but organization is an on-going process.  You have to keep it up, or you'll end up right back where you started.  Case in point, my craft closet.  
Now, it wasn't horrible, but it was pretty bad.  I had gotten into the bad habit of just laying stuff inside and shutting the door, telling myself I would put it back in it's correct spot later.  But 'later' never came.  I realized that the problem was that I didn't have a clear system of of organization, that's why I was just throwing stuff in.  So, I set out to correct the issues.  I followed the simple 4 steps of organization that I had shared with my class of ladies.  
1. Take everything out
2. Clean it
3. Sort it
4. Put it back (in an organized manner) 

The 'before' picture!
Like I said, not a total mess, but pretty chaotic. 
 My craft closet is in our laundry room. It's actually the closet for the hot water heater, but there is enough room for storage too.  My husband built shelving a couple years ago for his hunting supplies, but after he moved that stuff out, it became my craft closet.  It works great because my craft table is in the laundry room too.  So, everything is reachable when I'm crafting. :)
 I found these shoe box sized plastic bins at Wal-Mart for only 94 cents!  These are much more durable than the dollar store version, plus they're a few cents cheaper.  I bought 10, and ended up only using 7. 
 Like I told the ladies in my organization class, the first step is to take everything out.
 Step 2 is to clean it!  I took the vacuum cleaner extension and cleaned the floor. But you know how glitter is, I couldn't get it all up, no matter how hard I tried. 
 It is amazing what all can fit into such a seemingly small space. 
 As I was pulling items out, I realized that this 1 bin was the source of my frustration, and the reason why I often didn't put anything back.  Most of the small stuff was just thrown in here, in no sort of organized manner, so of course I wasn't putting things back because they were just being thrown in a bucket. 
 Step 3 was to sort it!  I went through everything and ended up with a couple bags of things to get rid of.  It's so hard to get rid of crafting supplies because you never know when you'll need something.  I also put some seasonal items in the attic.  
 Step 4 was to put it back in an organized manner.  I used my new plastic bins to organize all the little stuff and keep 'like' items together. 
 After I had all my items in their organized bins, I made labels to put on the bins so I would know exactly what I had in each one.
I used Microsoft Word to make the labels.  I made a 2 column table and printed it out on bright paper.  Make sure you use a large, bold font so you can see it clearly.  I also made labels for the organization tray on my crafting table that holds highlighters, paperclips, etc. 
I just used clear packing tape to attach my labels, that way in the future if I need to change the label, I can just peel the tape away and be left with a clean slate.  
Now, with the combination of the clear boxes and labels I should be able to find anything I need easily and put it back in the right spot.  
 For my felt, material, and scrapbooking paper I used hanging file holders to keep everything in order.  So now I won't have to dig to the bottom for the 1 piece of blue felt I need. 
 I had file folder I used to organize the paper, but they were just falling over.  The hanging file folders fixed that quickly and made it look much more organized. 

Now my craft closet is much more organized!  I know where everything is, and I can get to it!  I was also reminded of all the crafting supplies I have and it just makes me want to start crafting something new!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Craftin' with Target Finds: Spring Wreath

I absolutely LOVE the $1 spot at Target!  I know there are millions of other women out there that love it too.  I can always find something, and I don't feel guilty buying it because it's only $1 or $3.  Yesterday I went to Target and they had just put out some new merchandise in this spot and I had a hey-day!  I must have made 3 or 4 circles around it to make sure I saw everything.  They had gotten in some really cute Easter items that I scooped up, and some awesome items to make a spring wreath with.  We've had some ugly winter weather and I'm dreaming of spring time, so what better way to lighten up the day then with a spring wreath?  What makes it even better is that it only cost me $8! 

Here is what I bought to make my wreath!

The grapevine wreath was $3, and everything else (burlap letter D, burlap ribbon, crocheted lace, burlap flowers- 2 pack with cute pearls in the middle- and 2 pack of pink burlap flowers) were only $1 each.

I played around with the layout a little bit before deciding on what I liked.
 I attempted to cover up the silver circle on the D from where the string had been hanging.  I decided just to leave the string because this looks silly.  :)
I used the burlap and crocheted lace to make a 'background' (for the lack of a better word).  Just a dab of hot glue secured the lace to the burlap. 
 It looks crooked but it's just because it isn't glued down yet.
  Then another dab of glue to secure it to the wreath. 
 It is well on it's way.
I readjusted the string on the letter D (our last name initial) so it would hang better. 
 I was going to add a bow, but I thought it looked too cluttered, so to hang it on our door I used the string from the letter D. 
 Just a dab of glue to secure the flowers and it is done!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the gorgeous teal/mint color of the wreath!  I think the burlap and touch of pink give it the 'just right' spring time feel.  It looks shabby chic too which I love!
The best part is that it only cost $8! 

I cannot wait for spring time to get here and it better bring some warmer weather quick!  Even if there is snow on the ground and it's below freezing outside, it can still look like spring inside! :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Prayer Boxes

As you all know I lead a book club group at my church.  (Read more about it here)  We recently read a novel titled The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate.  It was an excellent novel about a woman who is hired to clean out a house and finds over 80 prayer boxes left from the home's owner who passed away at the age of 91.  She begins reading the letters in the boxes and soon realizes they are letters written to God.  It is such an awesome novel, I highly recommend it!
After I finished the novel, I had the idea of making prayer boxes for the ladies in my book club group.  I made 11 boxes, and surprised the ladies with them at our meeting.  They were so excited and loved them!  It is such an interesting concept and I'll tell you how I made them and what you can do with them.

I flipped- flopped back and forth with what kind of box I wanted to use for the prayer boxes.  I looked at wooden boxes to paint, paper mache boxes, even tin containers, but I finally settled on photo boxes from Hobby Lobby.  These boxes are usually used to hold photos, and they even came with dividers, but they made perfect boxes for this project.  Of course I bought them when they were 50% off, which helped with the cost.  I also loved that they came with designs, so all I did was add embellishments. 

I made each one different with labels, I typed and printed on my computer, and then added flowers, butterflies, stickers, ribbon, and all kinds of goodies to specialize them for the ladies. You can do whatever you want with yours to personalize it to your style.  

I typed a letter to go on the inside of the box, just explaining how the boxes worked, and praying that they ladies would continue to use them and know God was always listening.  The concept behind the box is that you can write out your prayers, long or short, then place it in the box, and give it to God.  You can write down anything and everything.  If something is troubling you, when times are hard, when life is rough, you can write it all down, and give it to God and let Him take care of the rest.  Or when you want to thank God for the blessings in your life, when you have moments of joy, you can write those down too, and give it to God.  You can then let the closing of the box symbolize you giving the request to God, and then you don't have to worry about it anymore.  When your box is full, you can do anything you want to with the letters.  You can save them, and have them serve as a reminder of God's love and answered prayers; or you can throw them away to serve as a reminder that they have been given to God.  Just let the box serve as a visual reminder to you that God is always there and He is ready and willing to listen to you at any time, day or night, in good times and bad. 

This would be a fun project to complete in a bible study group, or with a Sunday school class.  The supplies are cheap (the boxes were only about $2), and to decorate you can use anything!  The items I used were things I had, from the Dollar Tree, or from the clearance section at Hobby Lobby.  So, these definitely can be completed without spending lots of money.  Cheap and easy, just my style.  :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

$88 top for $2.98!

I love thrift store shopping and finding awesome deals, but what I love most is finding NEW items at thrift stores.  For example, this super cute top I found this past weekend at Value Thrift Store in Tulsa, OK. 
It is from White House Black Market.  I love that store but never buy anything because it's just a little too expensive.  This top was ticketed at $88 and had been marked down twice, once to $49.99, then to $29.99.  Well, lucky for me, it had also been marked down twice at the thrift store.  It started out at $9.98, then it was marked down to $4.98, but I purchased it for only $2.98!   WOW!

Now, it is not typical to find new items at thrift stores, but it is possible.  You just have to dig sometimes.  The Value Thrift Store in Tulsa is large, it took me about an hour and a half to look around.  What I love about this thrift store, besides it's size, is that they mark their items down.  I think once a week they go through and mark down everything before placing new items on the floor.  This not only helps the customer get even better deals, but they are able to have a good turnover on their inventory.  I really wish more thrift stores did this, because I think it keeps the customers returning more frequently because we know there will always be a change of inventory. 

I wish I could say I find good deals like this every time I shop in a thrift store, but unfortunately, I don't.  There are lots of times I walk out empty handed.  This probably happens to you also, but don't be discouraged, next time you might find a whole cart load of items! 

Happy New Year and Happy Hunting!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Crafts: Not so traditional ornaments

This summer as I was doing some cleaning around the house, I found a handful of key chains just sitting in a basket on a shelf.  I hated that these fun key chains were just sitting in a basket, not being seen or used.  Honestly, I hated to use them because I didn't want to ruin them.  Sounds crazy I know, but it wasn't like they were cheap key chains from a quarter machine.  Three of them my sister brought back with her from China.  So, I had an idea....make Christmas ornaments!  But what I ended up doing was sticking them in a drawer in my craft room.  That was six months ago so give me some slack. :)  I pulled them out the other day and made some easy ornaments with them.  That way at least once a year they can be displayed.

Here are the ornaments laid out and some little bits of ribbon I had leftover from other projects.

The first step was removing the chain part from them, expect for the ones from China, they didn't have an extra loop at the bottom to string the ribbon through.  
The Africa key chain was given to me by a Wal-Mart shareholder from Africa when I worked at TJ Maxx.  He had one on his lanyard and when I told him I liked it, he pulled a handful out of his backpack for me to share with the other employees. 
The flamingo one is from a trip my sister took to the Bahamas (weird how it sounds normal to say 'the Bahamas' instead of just Bahamas...anyways).
The New York one is, obviously, from New York, yet another trip my sister took.
The last three are from China, and yet another trip my sister took.  She's quite the world traveler.  At least she brings me back presents! :)

All I did was attach some ribbon to the key chains and then hung them on my tree.  Super easy- just the way I like it! And cheap- I didn't have to buy a thing!
I also hung one of my college graduation tassels from the tree, once again so it can be appreciated at least once a year (I can only find one of three.... they've got to be somewhere). 
I also added ribbon to my chapter officer badge from when I was involved with Phi Theta Kappa in college.

So, not your 'traditional' ornaments but fun anyway.  Like I said, I hated for this stuff to be just sitting around or thrown in a drawer.  Now, they can be displayed and admired once a year.

Another little trick I started doing this year was writing on the back of ornaments what year they reference.  For example, we took a trip to Las Vegas in May and I brought back an ornament, so on the back I wrote May 2014 so when we are old and gray we can remember when we went.  Also, we got a cute ornament in honor of our new puppy, Molly.  It says 'rescued is my favorite breed' and I wrote the date we adopted her on the back.

I hope this gives you some ideas of items from around the house that can make cute ornaments.  Of course this wouldn't work if you have one of those fancy trees where all the ornaments have to match or be a certain color.  We aren't like that- ours is a modge-podge of colored lights and ornaments. But it is a fun way to display those memories.