Thrift Tips & Blue Finds For Summer

Over the weekend while checking out the Summer Luvin' shop set at Sweet Salvage (love the visuals!), I did something I haven't done in a while - I did a little thrifting (some people shoe shop - I like love thrifting!) Recently I had restyled our upstairs loft for summer  - more white washed walls + accessories, brought in navy blue panels & pillows (I already had), plus I painted my thrift buffet in Benjamin Moore Old Navy (will share shortly!) But I wanted some more shots of blue up on the walls, similar to the look of the framed fabric project I did for our Spring Dining Room (read my post: How to make a framed focal point) so I decided to hunt for some blue fabrics to frame.  It really doesn't take much money to restyle or create a refreshed look ~ Just a few thrift finds and your imagination... Here is what I found...

LOVE mixing ticking stripes & paisley for summer!

 I didn't only look in the fabric section of Goodwill - Since Goodwill does an awesome job of keeping their thrift store colorized, it was super easy to scope out the blues in every section of the store.  

Tips for thrifting for fabrics for home decor:

1. Keep in mind, more than likely, the fabric will be cut to fit your frame - For example, when looking for cool blues: sift through mens woven shirt racks: sleeves can actually be turned into wine bottle sleeve wraps, so nothing will go to waste.
2. Keep in mind, some fabrics are already perfect for framing as is: for example scarves.
3. While shopping, use your cart as your sample board: layer your fabric finds to ensure hue coordination plus pattern mix and scale.
4. To get more bang for your thrift buck: look for fabric duos: often these can be found as pillow shams or placemats (this way you get two different patterns for the price of one item)
5. For even more savings, check out special sale days, colored tag specials or sign-up for email coupons.

All of these great summery blue prints are a combination of:
1. Scarves + bandannas
2. Placemats + napkins
3. Pillow cases + pillow shams

Besides framing, these fabrics can also help create interesting book-covers for bookshelf style...

Goodwill Thrift Tip: 
Goodwill offers 50% off  a select color ticket.
If the sale was pink ticket, those would be additional 50% off + use your monthly emailed coupon for additional saving on your other thrift purchases.

Washing Thrift Textiles Tip:
Check labels: Some items may need to be hand washed, but more than likely, they can be machine washed. I washed all, but laid the scarves flat to dry, pressed them and clipped all to a pant hanger ready for framing. Two of the shams I was planning on cutting actually worked great to refresh the bedroom paired with navy striped euro shams & white sheets I already had...

While in the "Blue Mode" , I also kept an eye out for any other thrifty blue finds...

Under $2 each...

How's this for summer blues inspiration?
Abstract canvas painting $3...

Another scarf with a fab print from Vera Wang for .99 ...

And while I was at Sweet Salvage, I spotted this simple wicker wrapped vase, that works great paired with my square wicker basket (got it at Goodwill last summer) filled with Florida starfish...

Here is a 'thrifty' tip:
If you live in an area that lacks frond friendly palms (low enough to cut), check out your local Garden Center: Sometimes they have weekend specials (like indoor palms for 8.88 at Home Depot) or also ask to see reduced priced plants. These plants are at the end of their life (due to lack of water) and you can find some palms to salvage (save them!!) or - use to cut what fronds are left as your summertime vase fillers. The reduced plants usually sell from $2.50 - $7, which can be less than a bouquet of flowers (which usually only lasts 3-5 days). Palm fronds last for 2-4 weeks, giving you not only more bang for your buck but add a wow factor & drama into  a space (Read my post: Decorating With Fresh & Faux Palm Fronds)

Here's more of a peek at  my loft summer restyle...

Thrift Styling Tip:
Mix what you have with a new thrift find to create a new look.
Here's how I've mixed old and new - from South Florida to the Southwest:
Wood thrift frame from Faith Farm Thrift (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) with a leopard fabric sample (from my friend Jose in Miami ), draped in shell necklaces (from the FL Keys), an Ikat scarf (from Goodwill AZ) and a petite blue vase I found last summer at Goodwill here in AZ...

Here's a peek at my painted thrift buffet... One of my first thrift finds (back in the 90s!)
She was black (originally mint when I found her) and I had painted her barn red in August 2011 before learning of our move (in September 2011)...

 Gotta LOVE the thrill of thrift!
Now I just need to rummage through my frames to start to create some thrifty summer wall art. Although emerald green is the color of the year, blue is also very on-trend for summer (Pantone's Pick: Monaco Blue). I've always liked using blues for summer, but in our new location, this is also a psychological way to keep cool in a hot & dry - water starved - desert climate! 

Below is another way to create your own thrifty wall decor: while you're out, snap a few abstract photos of objects that work with your color mode: I snapped this pic while at the Salvation Army Thrift store in Phoenix on Saturday...

LOVE the mix of these two blues too - Cobalt glass & MCM mosaic tiles...

What have you thrifted lately?

Thanks for stopping by,


Today is the first day of summer - as well as the longest day of the year. It's also Day 2 of the local monthly vintage pop-up market called Sweet Salvage! I first learned about this pop-up vintage market last year wile learning my way around Phoenix and so glad I did! What a delightful treat of inspirational vignettes, vintage deals and unique visual merchandising. Each month, the Sweet Salvage team re-merchandises the shop with a fresh assortment of vintage finds, based on a theme. Last month was Sweet Retreats and this month is perfectly titled - Summer Luvin'. Local designer & Blogger Jamie Rose wrangled the crowds and line Thursday for the pop-up shop opening -  Last month, I scouted finds for local designer Kurt Miller who's doing a Shabby Chic project. This weekend I'm setting out again to see what gems I find, plus share the local love on Facebook and Twitter. Here is a peek at this month's Summer Luvin', plus a look back at a few other sweet installments...

Summer Luvin'

photo by Jamie Rose 

photo by Jamie Rose 

photo by Sweet Salvage

Here is a tour of Sweet Salvage when I toured last months
Sweet Salvage - Sweet Retreat plus links below to previous posts...

See the other installations in my previous posts:

4648 N 7th Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85013
602 - 279 - 2996

If you're local, hope to see you there! 
Thanks for stopping by...


Re-sharing a simple DIY project I posted two years ago, perfect for summer: Make Your Own Beachy Bottles and displaying them in a summery vignette. Uncork your imagination: Recycle those empty wine bottles into summer coastal decor treasures with some items you probably already have. All you need is  latex or even acrylic paint in Caribbean blue, seafoam green, or any shade of white, water, old mixing bowls, mixing sticks, a funnel and old cookie sheets. After you've already soaked & removed labels from your (wine) bottle collection, play around mixing the bottles into some of your beachy decor for coastal vignettes. If you plan ahead where your bottles are going, then you'll know how many of which color you'll need & where. This is a wonderful way to bring the beach to you, no matter where you're located. Read how to details at:

LOVE this seafoam palette - Perfect for summer, no matter where you are...

After the bottles dry, you're ready to style your vignette...

Color block book stacks for impact. 
Roll up a pashmina for an extra layer of color. Fresh cut palm fronds always add to a tropical feel - if no palms near by, use fresh cut branches with leaves or go faux from a local craft store (like Michael's). Wooden bowls (fun to collect at thrift stores) can display stones, shells, or foreign coins...

 Tie shell necklaces collected from travels around bottle necks - If you don't have any, check your local thrift store. Starfish can make for fun bottle topper finials. Add height to your coastal vignette with tall dried grass in a cylinder plus book stacks - flip dust jackets to create an all white stack. 

Happy Summer!
Thanks for stopping by...

Taking A Step Back To Go Forward

Sometimes, you've just got to stop what you're doing, take a step back... and sometimes just walk away. Last month, I felt the need to do so - I started to slow down and better filter the time I was spending online. In all honesty, I was starting to feel like a hamster in a cage, spinning on a wheel and not going anywhere - so I just stopped. In doing so, I was able to reconnect with family and also do a little mid-year self review. In January, as with many, I made a list of things I wanted to do to organize myself for the new year, along with making resolutions / goals... some of which were to: 

1. Filter time spent online (still stay connected - but not 24/7)
2. Unsubscribe to useless emails & discontinue magazine subscriptions
3. Clean out the office (of the paper clutter, especially since we moved)
4. Update my online profiles (ensure local zip-codes posted for new connections)
5. Make travel plans (someplace new & to see family)
6. Volunteer
7. Learn a new skill 
8. Increase earnings (clients + steady income)
9. Sell some items (chairs, area rugs, decor)
10. Add more physical activities to my routine + adapt a healthier lifestyle (eating smaller portions and drinking more water). 

Well - the inbox has gotten smaller, the office has been purged (what a relief!), I got to travel to someplace new (LA!) and I'm getting to go HOME to both New Jersey and Miami in early October, plus I've definitely been drinking more water (especially with triple digit temps!) and eating smaller portions. As for selling items: I've done some clothing consignment - Since it's too hot for a garage sale and I don't want to deal with shipping, I'll be taking some goodies to sell local through Craigslist.

And although I enjoy interior styling, blogging, pinning, and creating online design boards, I've come to the realization: I just may need to step back into retail to help make ends meet, not to mention: I miss it. I miss the problem solving, I miss collaborating with people (in real life) to make magic happen (and see the results whether it be in sales or a displays that's been shopped) I miss the interaction with people (and getting dressed up!) on a daily basis and I miss the rush of corporate visits. 

One thing is for certain: I know that stepping out of the brick & mortar atmosphere (back in November 2009) opened my eyes and mind to opportunities I would have never grasped had I hopped from one retailer to another ~ not to mention how many wonderful people I've met (IRL & online). Not only do I have 25+ years retail behind me (from customer service, to sales, to training, to visual merchandising and management) I am now also armed with the valuable social media experience: blogging, pinning, moodboarding, engaging & sharing useful information to help people or add value via Twitter & Facebook - which is THE best real-time marketing any establishment could hope for. The added plus: I got to explore & experience my passion for interior design a little more by helping to make a difference in the spaces people live in.

All of this realization doesn't mean I'm giving up on blogging, or sharing thrift or DIY tips here on the blog and through social media. Sharing, creating, and inspiring IS who I am. One of the lessons I learned while being a visual manager at JCPenney for all those years was - it's better to have five of you than one to get all tasks done. I'm grateful for now having the social media platforms and networks to share my finds, what I see in store tours, or how I learned to do something for less, quick, and simple. I will continue posting thrift finds, shop tours, local love, trend spotting, and my seasonal makeovers... so please stay tuned! Special thanks and gratitude to all of the continued & new blog followers...

House hunting here in AZ is on hold for the moment and as for volunteering, I'm still looking for the right (relevant) fit here in AZ. I'll continue to sharpen my saw learning new skills... (I have two in mind - not saying what it is right now, but I'm working on it). 

What would be really great is to collaborate with another designer (I'd love to do the sourcing), or scouting for pieces for the many vintage furniture vendors here in the Phoenix area, or I'd even love assisting a resale store to be better merchandised + help with their social media campaign - all keeping it local. Contact me at to discuss the possibilities!

Thanks for stopping by,


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