Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reuse & Repurpose: Hang 'Em Up!

Who would think of spying a lighting structure draped in white boxers on the chic rue Faubourg St. Honoré in Paris?That's exactly what I saw in the footwear store Camper a couple of years ago while strolling my favorite city in the world.

Now if you proceed with attempting this at home, do so with caution! I know that if I illuminated my "collection, " it would end up looking more Beverly Hillbilly than this contemporary French fantasy.

Cin cin for a fantastic New Years Eve!

Always Frugal, Alway Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fabulous & Frugal Fun: Waxing Poetically

This exotic window display in Zagreb, Croatia's most exclusive perfume shop, Institut Parfumeur Flores, so took my breath away that I just had to share it with you again, especially since I found a much better photo than the last.

This ice princess's hair style is created from skeins of rough yarn or thick twine, and her flowing evening gown tailored of silk roses dripped with layer upon layer of white candle wax.

The result is astounding and mysterious, and could easily be recreated for a similar sensation. Imagine the hot romance of red wax trickled upon similarly hued flowers for a sensual Valentine's Day display or the dark, macabre mood of an all-black tabletop. Drip the wax on faux floral creations set in vases, easy-to-clean glass and ceramic figurines, or even on a tower of inexpensive, cardboard, heart-shaped boxes. Add multiple groupings of candles or candelabra in the same color story to heighten the effect.

Rather than relying on a handful of candles to make your wax structure, you might want to buy your wax in bulk and melt it in larger quantities on the stove, for here's a decorating moment where more is actually more!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous

The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Find: A Festive Fiesta

As featured in The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects and Vintage Details, I always hold Michael Quinn, Heather Kerr and their crafty pals as shining examples of how to create a successful party on a budget, established on a theme and unraveled with every element to behold a major event.

Back in May, I told you about a magical evening Michael and Heather crafted for an intimate celebration for my book's launch. So you can imagine the anticipation that mounted the day this invitation arrived in my mailbox.

Here's the exterior, all folded up like a plastic wallet. Note the working button and the zig-zag stitching around the edges.

And then the glorious interior -- handcrafted with multiple layers and textures -- touting a Christmas-Mexican get together and requesting a white elephant gift that started with an "M" and ended in an "O." Veli and I took a mango and a container of Milano cookies!

Here are some amazing scenes from the evening's Christmas festivities, which could easily translate into any party-worthy occasion.

Isn't she pretty as a poinsettia? Heather's all holidayed out, serving shots of tequila from her decorated tray. Note the tip jar!

The decor took traditional reds and greens and mixed in a Mexican twist.

Guests were invited to pick their favorite musical instruments, including papier-mâché maracas and homemade tambourines, all poised in this brightly colored dollhouse...

so they could accompany Michael and Heather playing carols on a vintage organ.

Festive food was plentiful! I was especially attracted to spicy chili bubbling in a bricked-over Crock Pot and the mass of red candles clustered in vintage candelabra.

Don't you remember making festive paper chains like these when you were a kid? These got a South-of-the-Border embellishment of metallic paper cutouts with a flower ball featuring Freida Kahlo's portrait.

And this cheerful holiday piñata star hanging from the ceiling packs a blast of holiday heat!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Object of My Desire: A Wooden Wonder

It's impossible for me to wander into Sharleen Reeder's jewel of a shop, Luticia Clementine's on the historic Independence Square, and leave without a treasure tucked under my arm. Last week's visit with Sharleen not only produced this McGraw Box Co. trinket box that dates back to the late 1920s or early 1930s, but it also provided a memory charged Christmas wrap for the special person I intended it for.

When my sister and I were little, Mom and Dad read us the entire series of Little House series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder before we dropped off to sleep each night. We listened to stories about snow storms, first days of school and dancing to the tune of Pa's fiddle. This whimsical wooden cabin, complete with a cardboard interior decorated with drawings of a roaring fireplace, a bearskin rug on the floor and snowshoes mounted on the wall, brought back all those warm memories from so many years ago.

I packed my little house with gifts I intended for Mom's stocking -- a set of coasters printed with Parisian scenes; a metal bird purchased in Zagreb; some John Derian magnets I bought at Target -- and wrapped it all up in a glittery green bow of Crate & Barrel ribbon I paid 25 cents for 20 yards at a local Kansas City Goodwill.

As this miniature log cabin rested under a twinkling tree, the snow fell outside in frosty veils as the wind whipped up white, sparkly swirls. And like the family in those magical storybook tales, we, too, were all warm and cozy inside our childhood home.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!
The Elegant Thrifter

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Gift of Thrift: A Christmas Wish

On this Christmas day, I'm sharing with you one of my favorite thrifty gifts, once again offered by the generous Sonya at Dime Store Thrift. It's amazing how we've never met, but she seems to know my tastes like few others.

This heartwarming gem was part of a larger gift that included all kinds of French memorabilia, but the Christmas carol book from the 1960s placed temptingly on top of the carefully-wrapped packages reminded me of practicing for grade-school assemblies in the Hanthorn Elementary gymnasium and singing all the old songs in an old country church in Mansfield, Missouri, accompanied by the plunking of an out-of-tune piano and voices that seemed to be crooning in a variety of keys.

Whether you are pitch-perfect or slightly off in your holiday singing, I wish you a day full of music, merriment, family and fun!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Reuse & Repurpose: A Velvety Touch

While visiting Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia earlier this month, I bumped into Saša Šekoranja, a witty artist who also happens to be a wedding and flower designer extraordinaire. Even though Saša seems a shy, creative type of few words, his original vision speaks volumes in his chic Velvet Caffe and its adjoining gallery where he sells pieces of his own art and carefully curated objects for the home among displays that feature imaginative uses for found objects.

The photo above is of the front of Velvet Caffe, which is where those in-the-know sip a cappuccino on a chilly day. It also happens to offer one of the best cups of coffee I've had in Zagreb, second only to Elis Caffe. You know why? Because my new pal Nik Orosi who owns Elis also supplies specially roasted coffee beans to Velvet!

After a steamy cappuccino both at Elis and then at Velvet all within the same hour, my caffeine buzz took me into Šaša's gallery where I was amazed at his ability to take old and odd objects and turn them into focal points within his light and airy gallery.

In the street-side vitrine, a welcoming collection of pastry tiers and cloches are filled with wintery white ceramic pomegranates and pods, silvery pine cones and shimmery orbs.

A simple wooden ladder is the perfect place to display books adorned with holiday greenery.

Even spools of twine become objets d'art when combined with an artistically wrapped pair of scissors.

An old travel trunk becomes a joyful display for a selection of whimsical children's apparel.

And a small bath basin gets a glamorous new look when filled with glistening holiday ornaments.

May your Christmas Eve be shiny and bright!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous

The Elegant Thrifter

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fabulous & Frugal News Flash!

I went shopping at Goodwill with my friends at KMBC, the local ABC affiliate in Kansas City, to discover what I call The Gift of Thrift. Watch it here!

Fabulous & Frugal Fun: A Splash of Flash

If you're like a lot of my blogging pals, you've embraced the mood-elevating virtues of glitter, one that Sonya of Dime Store Thrift has practically mastered as an art form. Just look at this once-grim Goodwill Santa that Sonya gave an attitude adjustment with a healthy dip of glitter, earning her the title that I fondly bestowed upon her: Glitterella.

Sonya's not the only creative talent to have caught the glitter bug. On a recent trip to Rome I spied in a single window display showing off some ideas on what to glitter if what you've got stuff hanging around doesn't seem to have enough shimmer and shine!

Do you have a sad little teapot or a boring alarm clock that needs a boost of energy? Why, glitter it!

Has your coffee pot lost its morning oomph? Zing it up with a zap of glitter!

Did your sunglasses lose their paparazzi powers? Serve them up a dose of glitter!

Is your water bottle boring, your toothpaste tube lost its bite or your box of tissues tearful? Go right ahead and give it all some glitter!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous! (And always ready for a bit of glittering!)

The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Find: A Winter Diversion

There's something irresistible about the simplicity of a beach cottage -- one practically under-decorated with finishes that have faded under the sun's constant caress and textures speckled and splotched by the salty air's kiss.

Since today I'm in chilly Kansas City, I thought I'd share some heartwarming images that I photographed on the Fire Island community of Saltaire while doing research for The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details.

Mary-Ellen Weinrib, a home stylist who has spent her summers on Saltaire for more than 20 year, took me on a tour of her home and I snapped away inspiration that I haven't shown anyone until now -- a framed poppy canvas casually leaned on the mantle of a weathered fireplace, an intimate view through a painted screen door into a crisp-white guest room, or even the
lovely, washed-out family photographs that accentuate the setting of a brilliant sun porch.

As you gaze upon these summery images that influenced The Find, I wanted to share with you the news that Apartment Therapy Boston has named my labor of love the top design book of 2009.

It's because of beautiful places like these that Mary-Ellen shared with me and gracious supporters like you that The Find is an enduring reality.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Object of My Desire: A Bell for All Seasons

One of my favorite Christmas memories involves my childhood next-door neighbor Mrs. Barr. She was an independent, working-gal widow who liked a little nip in the evening and went all out to decorate for Christmas.

Her home was packed with antiques, an endless collection of pewter, and a fireplace that always had a roaring fire inside when the outside temperature dropped. When Dad mowed our yard in the summer, part of my sister's and my task was to gather the pine cones under the tree so they weren't propelled into the air like supersonic missiles. We saved them in bushel baskets and gave them to Mrs. Barr who loved the snapping and popping they made when she tossed them into her fire. They also added a delicious subtle pine scent to her warm and glowing den.

Mrs. Barr always invited my sister and me to help her decorate her tree. (We loved visiting Mrs. Barr, so much so that Mom limited our time with her so as not to annoy. To keep on schedule, Mrs. Barr set her oven timer so when it buzzed, it was time for us to head back home) Before the decorating began in earnest, we first had to choose a theme for the tree, which she had divided into many boxes. Would it be an all-white dove theme, or what about simple red ribbons? And for her fantastic mantle, she removed all the everyday antiques and replaced them with caroling figurines and characters from Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol," all lovingly wrapped in fragrant pine branches.

Mrs. Barr gave my sister and me each a porcelain bell back in 1975, and I have mine with me in New York. Every time I pick it up from the kitchen shelf where I keep it all year long and hear its fairy tale ring, I'm reminded of being home for Christmas.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Surprise! Psssst....Another Giveaway!

As I (barely, possibly, yet hopefully) make my way to Kansas City (via Cleveland, thanks to a cancelled flight), I wanted to tell you about a fabulous giveaway that the incredibly talented and generous Amy over at WhisperWood Cottage is offering.

Since much of the country is about to be blanketed in cold, wet stuff today, it's the perfect moment to stay inside where its warm and pay a little visit to Amy here and sign up for the chance to win a copy of The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details, which will be personalized by yours truly!

You'll love her site as you peruse through charming examples of witty creativity and elegant repurposing created by Amy and her hubby. Tell her The Elegant Thrifter sent you!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous (and hopefully in Kansas City by the time you read this!)

The Elegant Thrifter

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Gift of Thrift: Fresh from the Laundry

As you know may know, LeAnn Stephenson, The Vintage Laundress, and I are like kindred spirits. When we get together not often enough, it's like we're long-lost kin playing a fast-and-furious catch-up. That was the case when I...ahem...worked in her booth during the Texas Round Top market this fall promoting my book The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details. While I was helping her tidy up her booth (with a glass of blush wine in was hard work, I promise!), I pulled together a mix-and-match collection of Christmas napkins and stashed them under the table.

During all of our sweat-inducing hard labor (ie. finding a bottle opener, gossiping about shoppers, eating mounds of Tex-Mex, popping open Diet Dr Peppers), I must forgot to take my special stash with me back to New York.

So when my birthday rolled around in October, what should arrive at my door but a pretty pink box wrapped in an innocent, white satin ribbon. I savored every moment of revealing this gift, for coming from LeAnn, you know it's sure to be packed with many a layer of surprise. Once the paper was removed, I inspected the mysterious box. Oh My Goodness! It was a solid, white container once holding a pair of silicone implants that her father-in-law had reserved for a patient by the name of Jena H, and her name was there in Magic Market right there on the box!

I shook the mystery package for safety and heard nothing but subtle shifting inside. I couldn't imagine what was inside! A boob? A bra? Or was the box a gift in and of itself? I was stumped. I slowly raised the lid and carefully peeled back the tissue only to be absolutely delighted by the holiday napkins that I left in LeAnn's booth.

I've waited until now to show off my fabulous holiday napkins that are the perfect, perky lift for celebrating the holidays!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reuse & Repurpose: Shiver Me Timbers!

Nothing gives me the happy holiday shivers more than spying Christmas trees fashioned out of re-purposed objects. Such was the case the other day as I was walking down Broadway in a downpour and gasped on viewing this book tree in the window of Brooklyn Industries, a retailer that sells cool clothes and always features vintage displays on its sales floor.

Crafted out of colorful old books, this holiday fantasy is built around a frame of re-purposed wood. Each tome is attached to the frame by a screw driven through each book's back jacket. The whole festive creation sits on top of an old air conditioner just in case you need an instant arctic blast.

If that weren't enough, while perusing one of my favorite blogs, Frippery, Pam Kern, the creative genious over there, stunned me off my chair with her fabulous tree decorated with vintage, souvenir ashtrays. What's more, she tempted me with one from the Show-Me-State of Missouri, which happens to be where I'm from and will spend Christmas.

Pam's ashtrays reminded me of buying these little souvenirs on family vacations even though nobody in our family smoked. Her collection strung on a tree adds a subtle shiny patina that on closer inspection tells a state-side story.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous (and still trying to figure out what to do with my tree!)

The Elegant Thrifter

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fabulous & Fun: A Texas Getaway

Looking for a nostalgic Texas getaway next summer? Well I think I might have found one at a retro-riffic cabin on Lake Diversion, Texas, crafted by the extremely talented college student Mickey Jordan over at Everyone Goes to Mick's.

At the age of 14, going on 15, Mickey says he purchased the cabin for a total of $310 and received the deed on Easter Sunday, 2005. Now you do the math.

What was once a dump of a two-and-a-half room cabin with no electricity, a porch that had its screen painted moth-pink and a window that was completely painted over has been transformed into the "Casablanca Hotel & Resort," complete with its own drive-in theater! Thanks to Mickey's loving touch, hard work and a dedication to bringing back injecting a 1950s charm into the derelict abode, it is now a heartwarming sight to behold.

While Casablanca is now closed for the season, Mickey made a slideshow so you can go visit it right now.
Be sure to make your reservation for next year!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Find: A Reappearance!

Thrift karma is magical, and just like I've noted this type of occurrence in The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects and Vintage Details, finding a partner of something discovered in my hometown of Independence, Missouri, at a flea market half-way around the world shouldn't be as much of a surprise to me as it was.

You might recall a pause in the video I showed you last and maybe a photo I showed you in August of a thrifty gift my dad boxed up and sent from home that included a batch of Rice Krispie Treats and a box of multi-colored "Small Forks" from the 1960s and made in Japan.

Well, its all-white version appeared at the Zagreb flea market in Croatia, reminding me of the package my dad sent me from home. The vendor said that it came from the estate of a family that had lived in Canada, and she wanted something like $10 for it. While I snapped a photo to remember these little treasures, the price was a little steep for my budget, so I decided to leave these tiny picks for another in desperate need of the perfect canape accessory.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Object of My Desire: La Tour de Toothpicks

Now why would I be surprised to learn that a woman who just might own a pair of doors belonging to Marie Antoinette would also have a piece of French history in the back of her shop....made entirely out of toothpicks!

While I was in West Palm Beach last month for a fabulous event at Gardenhouse, I strolled into Emilie-Marie's charming shop and was wowed by the the magical doors, but then Emilie parted a curtain and showed me this whimsical Eiffel Tower perched high upon a shelf.

Emilie's elegant eye spotted the tower at the Brimfield Antique Show in Massachusetts where she was lured by this 4-foot tower that has a working elevator that rises from its center with the pull of a string.

Not only did Emilie find a divine wooden object, but she she also uncovered a bit of history, recounted in a yellowed and tattered copy of the Worcester Sunday Telegram from October 25, 1942. A certain Thomas D. Flint meticulously constructed this scale model out of 18,000 picks "and the finest quality waterproof cement."

But the following comment delivered a chill: "Mr Flint's four-foot toothpick model of the Eiffel Tower, the original of which was built in 1889 and is now reported to have been torn down by the Germans for the salvage of metal...."

Today, if a beloved structure like the Eiffel Tower disappeared from the planet, we would be notified in seconds by the media. But I was reminded that back in 1942, daily newspapers and radio broadcasts were how most people received their news. Happily, the real Eiffel Tower still glows above Paris, and another Eiffel Tower commemorates a time when its fate was unbelievably in peril.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous

The Elegant Thrifter

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sublime Sundays: A Country Christmas

Today, I'm sharing with you a page from a very special scrapbook Mom made for my birthday a few years ago. It's filled with images from Christmas of 1972 at my Grandma Churchill's house way out in the country near Mansfield, Missouri. Those Christmases were filled with fun, family and lots of good food. This was the year that I received a super-groovy, homemade fringed vest made out of vinyl. The photos on the top are of me opening my highly anticipated hippie gear, with my dad surveying the scene from the background. On the bottom left is me with Mom in Grandma's warm dining room, where I'm most certainly awaiting lunch, which featurd a huge pan of cornbread dressing and chicken. On the right is my sister, Cheryl, and me with Grandma and my cousin Gayle. Don't you love the handmade, fringed poncho that Cheryl is sporting? And it probably comes as no surprise to you to see that even then, I was a big ham for the camera.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Gift of Thrift: A Bill and a Bow in a Box

A few weeks ago when my pal Marino Krstačić-Furić was in town from Rijeka, Croatia, he mentioned his futile search for the fabled $2 bill, a paper denomination so rare these days that Marino asked me if, in fact, it actually existed. Had he been told some Croatian/American urban myth?

I assured him that the rarely-seen bill did, in fact, show its Thomas Jefferson face on occasion even though I haven't had one in my possession for years. That was about to change in a couple of weeks when I made a purchase at a Walgreen's in Fort Lauderdale and the clerk gave me a $1 coin and a $1 bill as part of my change. When I turned my nose up at the $1 coin, she said that she didn't have any more paper dollars in her till, and all she had was a $2 bill. "I want it!" I almost shouted.

I had just been passed the perfect gift to offer Marino on my own trip to Croatia just a few weeks later. I packaged the bill with a vintage bow tie in its original box that I paid 50 cents for at a synagogue rummage sale in Queens. It originally came from the old Klein's department store in New York and has "Made in the USA" stamped in red in the right-hand corner of its original box.

I always find it frustrating to find gifts for friends outside of The United States because hardly anything that I can afford or that strikes my fancy is made in this country. So I was especially pleased to offer this vintage, state-side goodie that cost me a grand total of $2.50!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reuse & Repurpose: A Cooking Quandry

Tired of cooking, but love your pots and pans? Why not take them along with your tea kettles, your funnels, your oil pitchers and your ladles and turn them into wall décor like they did at a restaurant called Alla Rampa near the Spanish Steps in Rome?

I was transfixed by this marvelous, metal wonder -- all tied together by similar shapes and variable sizes in a coppery finish for a subtle shine. But then I started to imagine attempting this with my own (might I also add....not-so-pretty) pots and pans in my Manhattan apartment. There would be singed bundt cake pans lining the living room, pitiful skillets and cookie sheets hanging out in the hallway, and blackened espresso pots and a dented teakettle mounted in the bathroom.


Always Frugal, Always Fabulous! (and always looking for more space to hide my sad cookware!)

The Elegant Thrifter

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fabulous & Frugal Fun: A Croatian Flea

I've traveled to Croatia several times, and always seem to miss the flea market that take place every Sunday in Britanski trg (British Square) of Zagreb, the country's capital city.

Just more than a year ago when I attempted to take in this flea, I came down with fast and furious case of food poisoning that dashed my hopes of discovery, but this time I was fit as a fiddle as I ventured out on a cold November morning to leisurely stroll through tables heaped with home goods, chandeliers dangling from poles, unusual antiques, and oh yes, postcards.

What I realized about flea markets in Croatia is that while the assortment is somewhat different, there's always something familiar about maneuvering through jostling bodies looking for a good deal and the excitement of stumbling upon a true find -- even if it is nothing more than a handful of printed plates from a tome of traditional costumes or a few, ahem, postcards!

But as you know, I go more for the opportunity to see unusual items that I don't get to see everyday. The experience is like a virtual postcard of memories -- one that I can call up anytime I like.

Why, in Zagreb, I felt right at home.

Here's a little video of my adventure.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Find: One Tile at a Time

Words can be enchanting and encouraging, often helpful and sometimes hurtful. Maybe that's why a random mix of letters like those found on the tiles in a Scrabble board seem to provoke thought and inspire creativity wherever they are gathered.

I featured this photograph by Jim Franco in The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Store Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details because I was charmed by the way Yasmine McGrane from Maison Rêve carefully sorted vowels and consonants to offer welcoming words to a visitor or randomly grouped them in a vintage apothecary jar.

(Recently, though, one critic of The Find noted that bonne nuit wasn't correctly spelled in French. That is true in this picture, but anyone who's ever played Scrabble knows that you can only have seven tiles on your rack, and that there's probably an open ne just waiting for the bon moment!)

Deb over at Proper Prim had no trouble finding the right letters in a set of children's building blocks to set a joyful laundry theme that she displayed in front of a jar teeming with scrambled letters and a jumble of wooden clothes pins.

She perfectly placed the right letters together to turn the idea of a daily chore into a whimsical task full of colors that will never run.

The Los Angeles Times recently printed some funny words about me in its holiday survival guide. Read about how to handle drunk party guests and decline a holiday party right here!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Object of My Desire: Winners Revealed

When I found the Rain-Runner in a Fort Lauderdale thrift store -- the grand prize for my Mystery Giveaway that'll be sent along with a personalized copy of The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details -- it evoked many memories of small-town ladies keeping their hair-dos from wilting in a Spring mist or from shriveling under a full-on downpour.

Of course, my Grandma Williams who lived in Mulberry,
Arkansas, came to mind. She was not a fashion plate, and I can't recall her ever wearing makeup, but oh-my-my goodness, her pride and joy was her hair. Being a preacher's wife, she got her hair done every Saturday so she always looked her Sunday's best. I always think of that funny Southern saying, "The higher the hair; the closer to God." Now I wouldn't go so far as to say she had a super-big bouffant, but it was thick, white and wavy, meticulously coiffed, and never moved an inch even when met head-on with a mighty gust of wind. Toward the end of her life, even though the occasion for her to go out in public dwindled, her hair did not, as she always made it to the beauty parlor to have her hair puffed back to perfection.

So before I get all sappy over a rain bonnet, let me reveal the winners of my first Mystery Giveaway. Since I'm the one doing the giveaway, there are now three prizes.


Someone who follows me anoymously by the name of "Lurky" guessed that the mystery gift was "one of those plastic hair caps that my mother always had in her purse in case a raindrop fell" with the second clue on December 1 at 10:41 PM.

Now "Lurky," you have a choice. You may select the Rain-Runner from Fort Lauderdale OR the red ILGWU rain cap featured below that I purchased for 10 cents at a rummage sale in Independence, Missouri. It'll come along with your personalized copy of The Find. I promise not to reveal your identity, so just email me your shipping and personalization instructions at (I'll give you a week to respond, but then I'll need to pass the choice of bonnets off to the second prize winner.)


LuLu Kellogg at Coastal Sisters chimed in a mere hour-and-a-half later guessing a vintage rain bonnet. Once "Lurky" decides which bonnet he or she wants, then I'll send you the other piece of fabulous headgear along with a personalized copy of The Find. Email me at with your shipping and personalization instructions and I'll have your goodies in the mail as soon as I hear what "Lurky" has selected.


Shara at the Monkey Box guessed on December 3 at 11:25 that the mystery gift was in fact a rain bonnet "folded just right so you can never get it back correctly." I'm going to send Shara a personalized copy of The Find as well. So Shara, just like the others who have a rain-bonnet second sense, send me instructions to and I'll have it out to you in no time.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous....come rain or shine

The Elegant Thrifter

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday Surprise! Bok! from Zagreb

Since I have only had dribs and drabs of Internet access in Zagreb, Croatia, I've been moderating all of your patient comments from afar on my cranky BlackBerry. I return to New York filled with inspiration and ideas that I'll be sharing with you during the rest of the year. I met the Martha Stewart of weddings here in Zagreb, and just to tease you with the emerging in this charming city, here's a photo of an elegant lady made of silk roses and candle wax posing in a fabulous window in a brand new parfumerie.

And yes...I made a video...flea marketing in Zagreb that I'll post next week after announcing the winner of my first give-away. I'm brewing up some consolation prizes, so I'll announce those as well.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Elegant Thrifter

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mystery Giveaway: Let It Pour!

With a vintage flourish and a bit of thrifty fanfare, the mystery gift is revealed: The Rain-Runner rain bonnet made by André Fantasies Originals right here in Fort Lauderdale! While I can't identify the exact era of this lovely mesh nylon mass of protection, being that its style name is the Bouffant, "perfect for any hairstyle," tells me it must have been from the 1960s or 1970s.

Furthermore, the copy on the packaging rings true to that used in the Mad Men decade: "Let it rain! Let it Pour! Your Rain-Runner keeps your coif in perfect shape!" Or maybe this promise: "Your Hairdo Stays Bone-Dry in A Driving Rain!"

Visit me on Monday, December 7 to congratulate the new owner of the fabulous Rain-Runner and a personalized copy of The Find: The Housing Works Boo of Decorating With Thrift Shop Decorating, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details.

Now I would never wish anyone to have bone-dry hair, but a perfectly shaped coif? Why not?

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter


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