Goodwill Finds: Brass Bar Cart & Other Goodies

Remember that insanely awesome/expensive brass bar cart that I’ve been obsessing over from Crate & Barrel? Well, my plan was to be practical and keep an eye out for something similar I could spray paint and spruce up at the flea market Mrs. Mercado and I are planning to head to here in a few weeks. But…my friend Sarah and I (you’ll remember her from the fabulous Vintage Circus Baby Shower we co-hosted for BFOTB) took a little trip to a new local Goodwill store the other day and right when I walked in the door, imagine my surprise when I saw this shiny little guy just waiting patiently for me!

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The brass vanity I found waiting for me at Goodwill

And, now for the kicker! Want to know how much I paid for him? (yes, I it’s a him. I think I’ll call him Giles. You know how I get with naming things…remember lovely Jane?)

$10. (!!!) I paid $10 for Giles, my shiny old but new-to-me brass vanity which will be my new entryway table/bar cart. I am so beyond excited! See, our place is small so, it’s hard to buy new stuff because there’s just not that much room to put anything. But the thing with things that are only $10 and such a steal and just what you’ve been looking for is that you have to get them because you can’t pass up something so perfect.

So what you do is you just rearrange your living room. You just make it work.

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Giles, lookin’ good in his new spot in my cozy home!

I was originally thinking to remove the mirror portion of the vanity so it would look more just like a little table, but I actually quite like the mirror. Instead, though, in a moment of pure thrifty genius, I decided that I’ll paint the back of the mirror with chalkboard paint so I can use either side, which should make little Giles super cheeky at parties and when we have people over because he’ll be able to relay messages or tell folks what the signature drink of the evening is. See, swanky, right? Oh, Giles, I adore you already! If I take off the mirror, though, I could also put little caster wheels on the bottom to make him more mobile – but he’s super lightweight as is.

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a nice, bigglass jar and lid from Goodwill – I think it was $2 or some other awesome price.

P.S. I also scored some great, huge glass jars (one big one is there in that photo tucked underneath Giles because I took it whilst rearranging and organizing), another 3-tier glass cake stand (very similar to the one Sarah & I scored while shopping for BFOTB’s Baby Shower at Goodwill earlier this year) and I almost walked out with a classy set of double old fashioned glasses and tumblers to go on Giles but there was a little bitty sticker on them (they were clearly unused! Goodwill is so awesome!) that said they were made of lead crystal. I didn’t know anything about lead crystal but my mind wandered and I wondered if that’s why they were sitting there unused on the shelf. They were pretty, but very traditional and I think perhaps Giles would prefer glassware that’s a bit more modern to complement his vintage look.

Have you found anything great while thrift shopping?

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other little brass goodies I found at Goodwill

Vintage Circus Baby Shower

I am so excited to share this post with you. My fabulous friend Sarah and I threw a vintage circus themed baby shower for my beloved BFOTB (and henceforth I shall be known as BFOTBM: Best Friend of the Baby Mama – talk about a title promotion!). Sarah is probably the best co-hostess you could ever wish for because she is extremely thoughtful, resourceful and crafty (plus she comes with a handy carpenter husband too! be sure to check out her Pinterest page to see the impressive bean bag toss they made…themselves…from scratch. it was wonderful!) so this was a super fun celebration from brainstorming, buying, pinning, and setting up all the darling details. Here are some notes, sources, inspirations, and lessons learned.  As you can see, we had plenty of pinspiration on this one!

Invitations with a whimsical vintage font were ordered from Tiny Prints.  I should digress to say in a mortifyingly bonehead move, I forgot to include the time of the event on the invitation (gah!) but on a positive note, I’ve never received RSVP responses so quickly as guests needed to find out the time! Ha! Clever little trick, I’d say!  To add some layers of glam to the white invites, we ordered blush pink cardstock (on clearance!) from Paper Source and regal burgundy envelopes, each dusted with a gold stamp ink pad along the edges for some gilded charm.

BFOTB’s main request for the theme was centered around a pin she saw of cotton candy in martini glasses.  Sarah and I had a marvelous time perusing the aisles of local Goodwill stores where we found a three-tier cake stand for $9.95 (!) and I later scored a pristine set of 12 martini glasses for $10. (note: Sarah cleverly used this trick to get a dreamy pink seaglass look on the clear glass cake stands to fit with our theme). Here’s the kicker: cotton candy looks playful in martini glasses for all of 18 minutes on a hot day.  Minute 19 and they are a melted, small, sad looking glob of pink sugar.  Bust!  I’m not even including a photo because it just looks like a pink, sticky mess. So, take it from us, folks, leave the cotton candy indoors or, at the very least, get photos of it while it’s all cute and fluffy and fabulous before it melts the happy grin right of your aren’t-we-so-awesome-for-pulling-this-off-face.

In the battle of crepe paper v. ribbon, ribbon wins.  We had grand ambitions for a circus tent-like canopy of crepe paper, which would have been lovely indoors, however, the breeze (thankfully present on this hot day) was a little too swift for the crepe paper to sit still and look pretty. The ribbon, however, rose to the occasion, fluttering like a lovely dream above.

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Tickets are an easy, creative prop and would even make a great backdrop if you had a bunch of lines hanging down or draped haphazardly behind a dessert table (dang, wish I would have thought of that before!). I found large yellow and pink rolls at Smart & Final and Dollar Tree.

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I adored this impressive elephant Sarah bought at Toys R Us… it was on the pricey side, so we let him preside over the food. The gold bookends holding the nakins together were another fun find from Goodwill.

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Boxed white wine sangria from Target (it’s delish, promise) with frozen fruit slices to keep it cool, organic strawberry lemonade from Trader Joe’s, and the classy lady party staple: chillled water with fruit. The bottles of berry lemonade didn’t get opened but I thought they were cute enough to contribute to the decor.

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a parade of animal figurines from Party City freshly painted gold (spray paint would have been quicker but I had a great Martha Stewart gold paint left over from other projects). I also used a sponge brush to water down the gold paint and washed it over vintage looking old bottles to use as decor.

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The centerpiece consisted of a “Guess How Many?” game with tickets for guests to jot down their guesses, paper pinwheels and starbursts, terracotta pots Sarah brilliantly painted to look like a circus stage filled with peanuts and our animals on bamboo sticks, all on top of stripes of ribbon laid across the table.

The gold animal figurines were inspired by this pin.

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organic lollipops, saltwater taffy, circus cookies and animal crackers in matching round boxes were laid out for guests to snack and sample.

In our circle of friends, desserts sometimes constitute full meals so we didn’t skimp here. Our dessert spread included itty personal sized bundtinis in White Chocolate Raspberry, Red Velvet and Pecan Prailine from Nothing Bundt Cakes, homemade (by my Mama) cake balls, and Sarah used her Pinterest prowess to find this divine baked mini cannoli recipe (I’d recommend them to a friend).

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Sarah’s superhero husband made this amazing trellis for their wedding (I know, go ahead, take a moment to gush about that) and she created this super cute set up for an easy DIY photo booth, complete with props to make everyone smile!

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While it’s a darling way to present fruit, these sugar cones can’t fit much in the way of fruit.  But, that wasn’t a problem at our party, seeing as we had waaaayy too much food. (pinspiration found here)

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Another ingenius idea: individual veggie cups with dipping dressing at the bottom, made even more enticing by displaying them in a cupcake holder.  Too much goodness, I tell ya!

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The pennant flag banner was made from a stack of vintage pink scrapbooking paper, hot glued onto twine – quick and easy! – and even found a home in my work office for festive decor following the event.

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Check out the stunning view from Sarah’s in-law’s house (where she and her husband wed). It was such a fun and gorgeous setting for the shower!

Beautiful baby Harper Grace arrived a few days fashionably late (already fitting in with our crowd!) on August 26!  It was such a blessing to have a day to celebrate friendship and family, and shower our dear friend with love and joy before she arrived.

Goodwill good finds for wedding

Now that I’m back from some travels I have some great finds I want to share with you that were used for Dr. Merrett’s beautiful wedding.  [note: must find new name for Dr. Merrett…] On another recent trip to Goodwill I found this awesome retro set of 70’s green frames and thought I’d spruce them up with a modern bright white glossy look. And since I had the spray paint out, I remembered that a while ago I bought this big gold frame thinking it would work well for BFOTB[M]’s baby shower with a vintage circus theme (coming up this weekend!) but seeing the other frames with such crisp newness in white, well, I couldn’t stop myself. I love the idea of bringing a bunch of found items together and unifying them with the same color. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t take photos of them once they were finished – but you know what bright white gloss looks like. Imagine that. It really made the frames look modern.

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I was delighted at another fabulous Goodwill find: this awesome metal scroll birdcage! It has a short chain at the top so it can hang from a ceiling (maybe with candles in it for a romantic room accent?) and the top folds back staying open with a chain, making it perfect to hold cards on the gift table at Dr. Merrett’s wedding. I love it the way it is but I think it would also look fabulous spray painted just about any color. I’m going to hold off, though, to avoid going top crazy on the bright white gloss (do you also find spray painting items to be particularly addictive? Nothing in my house is safe!)

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And lastly, I’d been eying this scroll room divider from Urban Outfitters for months and months but couldn’t justify the purchase until Dr. Merrett showed me a photo of an idea she wanted to use for her wedding – it was a fence with frames hung on it to tell guests their table numbers.  Genius! Luckily I scooped it up on sale for almost half price!  It folds down to half the height so it can easily store away when not in use but I can think of plenty of places and spaces it works in: as a really cute headboard propped up against the wall, standing in the craft room to hang ribbons or as an inspiration board to pin fabric or photos, and even in the garden to maybe let a wandering vine find its way through the scrolls.  Just lovely!

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Have you found anything good lately?

Meet Jane

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in May I was driving on the freeway on my way home. I was tired. Mumbles was away and we had errands to run later that day. While part of me just wanted to be at home relaxing with Baxter, the part of me controlling the steering wheel decided to make a stop at a local Goodwill store to see if anything caught my eye…maybe something but nothing in particular for BFOTB‘s baby shower.  Perusing the store, I found a lovely set of martini glasses (perfect!) and something else I now can’t recall but it’s nonethematter because the real story here is Jane. 

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This is Jane, right where I found her at a Goodwill store, sitting in the back corner next to the fitting rooms, intimidated by a daunting, head-high organizer stuffed full of bras.

 Non-chalantly waltzing my way through the aisles of furniture I might want to pick up on the cheap to paint or refinish (despite the fact that I have no room in our house for any new furniture), I decided to take a gander around the other side of the store just to be sure I hadn’t missed any hidden treasures.  And I had.  There, quietly sitting beside a wobbly stand-alone shelf of bras, somewhat blocked by a rolling wardrobe organizer in front of a wall full of discarded framed artwork, was Jane. At this point, we hadn’t been formally introduced but she was soft and lovely, with a mid-century retro elegance I was immediately drawn to.  Calm but excited I promptly but gently lifted the cushion to inspect – dusty but otherwise clean. Smell? Just the must of solitude, clearly unattended, alone for some time before finding her way here. A match? I thought so. So I sat. Comfortable. Confirmed. My mind, at this point half made up, was only further so decided when I saw her bright price tag sticker on her arm: $24.99.  Underappreciated? Well, yes, certainly here. It was all too easy.  Still sitting, purse in my lap, claiming my prize, smile on my face, I got out my phone and dialed my mother – surely she’d appreciate this event and help me sort through my racing brain’s conversation, which in the span of 4 seconds went something like this:  

“It’s in such good condition!  Well, then why is it here?  Maybe someone didn’t have room for it anymore.  I don’t have room for it anywhere!  It’s so retro and chic!  Is that person eying my chair?  I’d pay hundreds for a chair like this out of a catalog. $24.99? Really?  Something must be wrong. I don’t care. I want it.

I sent my mom a photo of my big find.  She gave the advice of a loving, supportive friend (which she is): “You sound like you love it. Get it. It will make you happy.  And, as your Grammy would say, ‘It’s too good of a deal to pass up!'” She offered to let me store it in my old room at their house so I immediately asked a store attendant for assistance to purchase and take it home.  They put the chair at the front desk where to my bewilderment she received attention from many-a-passing-shoppers.  I hastily and happily made my way to the front to join others in line.  Arms full of other goods, I noticed the woman in line behind me hefting a floor length ornate mirror.  I smiled.  Taking my smile as an invitation to talk, she relished in sharing her delight to find such a huge mirror for an amazing price, a perfect fit for her entryway.  Knowing her joy and beaming in it, I smiled, congratulated her on her score and in return, she gestured toward my arms and complimented my finds. 

“Oh, this isn’t even the best part – I found an amazing chair! It’s right over there,” I exclaimed, gesturing toward my prize. With what I could see was a glaze of tears almost filling her eyes she told me, “that’s my chair – well, it was my mother’s chair – I just dropped it off here a few hours ago.”

The conversation rallied between a solemn appreciation and a delightful enjoyment of this special moment.  

“I’m so happy to be meeting you. My mother loved that chair and she would be so happy to see you with it, such a lovely young woman,” she told me.

I assured her of my appreciation for the chair, told her I fancy myself an old soul, and that my husband and I are coming up on our second anniversary, our first year living in our first home.  Still smiling, slowly inching forward in line toward the register, she shared that her mother had greatly cared for the chair, and after I mentioned it being in such good condition she informed me that her mother had just had it reupholstered. In fact she had helped pick out the fabric; her mother insisting it stay true to it’s original 1960’s look, and then, sadly, that once back in her mother’s home that the chair had not been sat in, her mother soon passed away.  

“May I ask your mother’s name?” I inquired.

“Jane,” she replied with a firm fondness in her voice.

I told her of the coincidence and again of my joy in this moment – having just called my mother to share my good fortune with her. My mother whose middle name is Jane.  Brightly, she smiled and laughed. 

“My mother would be so happy,” she said.

We waited and chatted just minutes more – I noticed a few people passing by the chair, inquiring of its availability for purchase while the attachment I felt already had me panicked, my heart overflowing with sentimental pride of near possession.  I let it go and turned back to Jane’s daughter to say to her genuinely that I was so pleased to have met her, to have learned a bit of her mother’s story, and to have shared a real connection with her that day. When I arrived at my parents’ home just a few miles away, my mom laughed upon seeing the sparkle in my eyes and the chair in her driveway.  

“You are such an old soul,” she proclaimed.  Not new news.  “My family had a sofa just like this when I was growing up, except with a putrid orange color in it.”

Once upstairs, my dad came to investigate. 

“Hey, where’d you find the chair?” he asked, somewhat perplexed, as if my mother had been storing this chair somewhere unbeknownst to him since the late 60’s just waiting for the right time to bring it back out again.  “I had a couch like that when I was little but there was some blue in it.”

“Her name is Jane,” I told them before sharing bits of the story I had just lived, a memory I already cherished sweetly. 

We laughed, the three of us, together in my old room looking at how oddly it did seem to fit right there, matching the decor, proudly at home next to a photo of me with my mother and her mother, in the room I spent some good years growing up in.   

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Jane in my old bedroom at my parents’ house. Looks like she fits right in next to a photo of me as a child with my beautiful mom and Grammy.