Thrift Store Secret: Down/Feather Pillow Inserts

image down feather pillow inserts
I think throw pillows look great with goose down/feather inserts.  The poofy-ness and the squishy-ness scream luxury.  On the other hand, fiberfill inserts fall kind of flat but they are very affordable and readily available. But I need down/feather inserts for the throw pillows in my house and I have figured out a way to find them for less than $5 a piece!  They aren’t that expensive, but I see no need to buy new when I can reuse and save money at the same time while getting the look I love.

Even though the pillow racks at thrift stores might give you the willies, (you know, dust, mildew, etc.) I have learned over the years not to be afraid of thrift store throw pillows.  You just need to be brave and give those dusty old pillows a little squeeze.  You can easily identify a down/feather insert vs. fiberfill.  When you find a pillow with a squishy-feather filled feel, buy it!

image pillow inserts down feather

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You’ve Gotta Be Crewel to Be Kind

When I am thrift shopping I always look for antique and vintage things that are handmade.  Generally, the quality and materials are better than anything you can buy new.  Knit sweaters and mittens, embroidered pillows, crocheted afghans, needlepoint and crewel work and more.  When I was growing up my mom was always working on some such project, in between making clothes, and I know the tremendous amount of time that is involved in each creation.  It is more time than I am willing to put into any one craft but I truly appreciate every one-of-a-kind work-of-art I find.

The other day I found two pieces of groovy 70s Crewel work, which is embroidery with a wool yarn.  They looked very sad lying there along among the teddy bear posters and framed country scenes, they had to be saved.  I am sure both pieces were made by the same person because of the colors and the very unconventional way they were mounted and framed.

image crewel work picture mushroomsThe first one, seen on the left here, is a small piece with mushrooms, a bee and a snail = 1970s cute.  It cost 49 cents.

Once I got it out of the “frame” and removed the layers of ancient tape and staples, I plunged it into cold water to clean off decades of dust.  Then all it needed with a good pressing with some steam to look super crisp and like new.

A simple white frame was the perfect way to keep it looking modern.  I got an IKEA frame from my stash (I always grab imperfect frames at IKEA from their “seconds” area) and it looks great, as you can see below.  It will be a great addition to the playroom walls.

image crewel work picture mushrooms

The second piece will take a lot more work to get it rehabilitated, more on that soon.



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The F Mugs

image mug monogram

If you haven’t learned already, I am a huge fan of thrift store shopping.  A couple of weeks ago I was at a local Salvation Army store with Harper looking for goodies.  I was excited when I stumbled upon 3 mugs with my initial on it – WAIT, that’s not my initial, mine is an E not an F.  Hmmm, what to do.  They weren’t free, at 25 cents each I figured I could take the plunge and see what I could do with them because I really wanted to sip some French Roast out of those babies.

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An Old Clock Repurposed – Before & After

image clock with wood grain face

It was a sad day when this clock broke.  It was just an office clock from Target, but I loved the fake wood and the minimal  font.  Oh well.  Months ago our kittens somehow knocked it off the wall and it couldn’t be repaired.  Steve wanted to chuck it, but I wanted to save it (imagine that!).

I figured that some day, I would have something round that I would want to frame.

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Chest for the Mudroom – Before & After

In our old house we made a great little mudroom.  Last week I showed you the before and after of the bookcase I used for shoe storage.  Well, across from the shoe shelf there was room for another storage piece.  This time I went rummaging in my basement and found this old chest.

image chest unpainted

It was from my grandparents’ bedroom.  When my mom and I were cleaning their house out I was working in their bedroom and right inside the door there was a pile of laundry.  There was always a pile of laundry there.  I never really thought about it because I knew it was clean, folded laundry.  I guess I assumed that the pile was sitting on a table, but it wasn’t.  It was set on top of a chest and the chest was covered with a small blanket.  Total mystery piece.  My mom had never noticed it before either so we have no idea where it came from.  I am not a fan of its style, which I call “pirate-ship chic,” but I guess it’s really “Early American,” I decided I would put it into my storage space with all of the rest of the furniture and “treasures” I found.  Finally it came in handy.

Sanding, primer, red glossy paint did the trick, just like with the bookcase.  I had some Marimekko fabric leftover from working on a girls’ 1980s bedroom for the John Cusack movie “High Fidelity” (I save everything cute!).  I added some poly fiber fill from old pillows and stretched the fabric over the top and the back piece.  Now it’s a colorful and comfy place to sit, perfect for a mudroom.

image painted chest

Hold on to those old, good quality pieces and repurpose them!



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Bookcase for the Mudroom – Before & After

Our former house had a small breezeway/entrance that was created when the back porch was removed to allow for a rear deck.  I knew right away that it was the perfect size for a mini-mudroom.  The previous owner had covered the walls with sheets of “wood” bead board.  Some paint cheered it right up!

I was excited to use some cool vintage hooks I had, but needed some shoe storage.  A quick trip to my mom’s basement brought me to a very dirty old book shelf that had been used to store paint.  It wasn’t pretty – yet!

image unpainted bookshelf

All it needed was a sanding, a coat of primer and a few coats of glossy red.  I really love what a little paint will do to brighten up your world.

image red painted bookcase mudroom

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Valentine’s Day

image crayon hearts

Being out of grade school for so many years, I forgot what an important holiday Valentine’s Day is for school kids.
image homemade valentinesIn 2010, when Trixie was in Pre-Kindergarten, I wanted to find something easy for her to do that was creative and fun for both of us.  I had her paint on watercolor paper and fill the whole page.  After the page dried I cut out large heart shapes.  Then we attached the hearts to pieces of patterned scrap paper I had lying around, added some drips of Elmer’s glue, and dusted the glue with glitter.  The glitter kept flaking off, so I made simple envelopes out of tracing paper and closed them up with a sticker. They were so cute!image homemade valentines

After school that day, we looked through her valentines and I was surprised that they were all store-bought character cards or candies.

What had I missed in the 25 years I had been out of the valentine game?

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