Monday, February 28, 2011

The Object of My Desire: Berry Nice


I've been to the Museum of Modern Art several times in the past few months and continue to visit one piece that is part of the permanent collection on display. Created by Lithuanian artist George Maciunas, the piece displays the packaging of everything he consumed between 1973 and 1974 and is aptly titled "One Year. "

This is just a small portion of the work, which includes everything from cottage cheese containers and Egg Beaters cartons to Crest toothpaste boxes and an array of pharmaceuticals.
But of course, I was drawn to the bright boxes of frozen strawberries, one of my favorite summertime treats -- that, and a really good watermelon!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Friday, February 25, 2011

Found Fridays: Dumpster Delight

The next time I'm in LA, I am definitely booking time with my new Twitter buddy Dabito over at Old Brand New who shares the same passion I do for vintage and thrift. But when it comes to finding objects for absolutely nothing, he made my heart sing last week when he shared this image in his Happy Friday Finds post.

As he tells it, Dabito was on his way to do some thrift shopping when he "spotted this janky, vintage bar cart chilling in a dark alley," he says. "So I pulled over, popped open the trunk, dumped it in and booked it! You would have done the same, right?"

Oh yes I would have!

If you've made some dollar-free discovery you'd like to share, send a photo and your story to me at theelegantthrifter@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reuse & Repurpose: What a Notion!


The creative minds at Anthropologie are at it again with this gorgeous ball gown created out of craft paper, zippers and floral fabrics. In the windows of the Chelsea Market location, this stunner is stopping passersby in their steps with its fairy tale glamour and ingenious use of sewing notions.

Can you imagine this beauty on the red carpet at The Academy Awards? I envision this wonder on Helena Bonham Carter!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Frugal Fun: Music to My Ears


A couple of weekends when we met interior designers Jonathan Legate for brunch at Vbar in the East Village, I had no idea that we would also be in for vintage entertainment of the vinyl kind. But there he was, Jonathan Jacobs, The Vintage DJ , spinning a retro set on his two Audiotronics Classroom record players from the 1950s. And these low-tech electronics continue to emit a warm electronic aroma just like the one I remember from first grade.

Now I know whom I'll be booking for the next Elegant Thrifter gathering! You will, too, once you check out his video at www.VintageDJ.com.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Find: Garage Sale Goodness

There is something about garages sales that I cannot get enough of. But I'm certain that the biggest attraction is the element of surprise promised by every cardboard sign mounted on a street corner or stapled to a telephone pole. I prefer signs that are clearly written and distinctively show the address in extra-large print. And I appreciate a sign that is up-to-date. It's such a disappointment to do a U-turn in the middle of the street to jot down an address, and then show up to see that the big event has already ended.

Here's a photo from Ruth Handel's yard sale that was photographed by Bob Greenspan for The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details. Ruth's sale benefited LARC, a Los Angeles community for developmentally disabled adults, and stood out with cleverly merchandised tables and curated vignettes, like this pretty tropical gathering.

While here on the East Coast, garage sale weather remains a few weeks away. But in LA the climate is almost always garage-sale-friendly.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Object of My Desire: 'Tis the Season


As the days start to become slightly longer and we start getting teased with springlike temperatures, I start thinking about going to garage sales. Here in New York City, we don't have garage sales. But in my my hometown of Independence, Missouri, and in Santa Monica, California I find that the sales are, simply, out of this world! While people are shocked that I can still find a bargain on a treasure in Los Angeles, I kid you not, it happens every time I hit the streets there.

Take this Little Red Riding Hood cookie jar, for example, that I bought in Santa Monica. I spied it from another yard sale across the street, just lying under a card table. The seller seemed more concerned with moving old clothes, so when I asked her how much she wanted for the cookie jar, she said $5. Huh? I quickly reached in my wallet and handed her the cash. I had no idea the value of this piece and bought it because I really liked it. Once I got to Ruth's house and did a quick search on the Internet, I discovered that my little lady was an original piece of Hull Ware worth much more.

While the seller told me her grandmother used to put oatmeal cookies in this cookie jar, she stands cheerfully empty in my living room reminding me of all the thrifty adventures that warm weather always brings.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Gift of Thrift: Have a Heart


I know that for some people, the idea of baking a cake can cause them to quake in their shoes. But for me, it's one of the easiest gifts I can offer that doesn't cost a lot of money, and I like to offer it on a thrifted plate that the receiver can keep and not worry about having to return.

So when I decided to make a heart-shaped yellow cake with fresh strawberry buttercream for a couple of special little girls on Valentine's Day, the first place I went was Goodwill. Not more than 10 minutes and $3 later, I left with this Mikasa crystal platter. (Doesn't it look pretty on top of the hand-tufted rug Gene Meyer made for me?)


But it's even more lovely under this cheery pink cake, which was delicious, by the way.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reuse & Repurpose: In the Round

It's not often that you find practical and gorgeous applications for vintage doilies, other than placing them on coffee tables and backs and arms of sofas. But LeAnn Stephenson, The Vintage Laundress, introduced me to artist Shannon South who revives crocheted wonders by turning them into fanciful lighting pendants.

Created in her studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, these luminous lovelies are sold on her site reMadeUSA, dedicated to upcycling used materials for one-of-a-kind creations. And just look at the wonderful reflections these awe-inspiring orbs emit!

Do I hear Stevie Nicks in the background?

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Frugal Fun: Day Brightener

Even on the gloomiest of days, pop artist Kenny Scharf's gleeful ghouls on Houston Street have been lifting the spirits of East Villagers.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Find: Kitchen Confidential


When we arrived to photograph John Derian's Lower-East-Side apartment for The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details, this renown decoupage artist had just returned from Provincetown and had rushed around early that warm summer morning to get his living space camera-ready. Here's a peak into Derian's kitchen as photographed by Jim Franco. Note the cut-out kitties found at a flea market hanging on a wall that is cracked and mottled, a dreamy imperfection that only adds to its charm.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Object of My Desire: Tokens of Love

Robert Warner is a man about his paper. Known for breathing new life into pages from discarded books and ephemera scraps from a bygone era, this master printer and collage artist was offering his Love Tokens at the New Amsterdam market on the South Street Seaport yesterday, all under a theme dedicated to the sweetness and romance of Valentine's Day.

His bouncy Turners are quite characters, with bodies made of elegant dancers and heads lifted from mugshot photos. (Robert told us that the wonderful John Derian is now selling them in his store! )And then there are badges of love with a heart right in the middle of a background created from vintage ribbons.

May you be the target of much love on this Valentine's Day!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter



Friday, February 11, 2011

Found Friday: Another Heartfelt Wish

With Valentine's Day around the corner, I was reminded of an image I took on a frigid, frozen day last year, one very much like the ones we've experienced throughout the winter. As I passed a pile of melting, sooty snow, I looked down only to spy this metal, heart-shaped box lying on the curb as if it had blossomed like a spring crocus from the concrete beneath, reminding me that, happily, warmer weather is on its way.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Reuse & Repurpose: Heart to Heart

Last week I showed you some of the raw materials I had gathered to start making Valentine's Day cards, and here are the results. The goal was to use what I had on hand, so I cut and pasted hearts cut out of scraps of wrapping paper, accented them shapes out of stiff ribbon and photocopied images from Pairs, et voilà, heartfelt postcards almost ready to drop in the mail!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrfiter

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Frugal Fun: A Stitch of a Sale

Who doesn't love a sign announcing a sale, especially one that's all stitched up as if it were the product of a sewing bee. I saw this threaded wonder in the window of the Diesel store on Union Square. Note the menacing scissors arriving on the left and the gigantic needle looming from above.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Find: Window Wonders

As I passed the windows at Housing Works, I spied a scenario that made me think of two of my favorite images from The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details.


The first photo by Jim Franco is from set designer Peter Frank's home. Now doesn't this bentwood chair look exactly like the one in the Housing Works window?

And then the pitcher's glove used as a cushion made me reminded me of another baseball artifact that John Derian placed on a green metal chair, also a photo by Franco from The Find.

Don't you love stumbling on unexpected treasures?

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter


Monday, February 7, 2011

The Object of My Desire: Knit Wit

I love the idea of a cozy.

When I was a kid, we used to laugh at all the different kinds of crocheted cozies my relatives made and acquired. There was a cozy for the toilet paper (a plastic doll whose hoop skirt covered the roll), a cozy for the facial tissue, a cozy for the toilet lid, a cozy for the blender, an embroidered cozy for my grandma's stand mixer.... I mean, if you could think of something that needed cozying then there was someone out there with a crochet hook, a set of knitting needles or some embroidery thread ready to whip something up.

For this contemporary I-cord cozy hanging in the windows of ABC Home, it appears that someone picked up his/her knitting needles to form this winding wonder. It snakes gracefully through this wintery scenario as it warms with a single lightbulb nestled within its crafted coat.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter


Friday, February 4, 2011

Found Fridays: I Heart the Weekend


Seen lying in the street on a wet, gray, New York City day. I'm sending you heartfelt wishes for a lovely weekend!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reuse & Repurpose: Yes to Wire Coat Hangers

Just when you thought there were no uses for wire coat hangers other than for angling to get your locked car door open or using it to coax a wooden spoon out from under the stove, the creative folks at Anthropologie took a fantastical swipe at that perception.


When I first saw these windows of the lower Fifth Avenue location, I literally stopped in my tracks to marvel over the way a bunch of lowly closet rejects had been transformed into fluttery flights of fancy.

Sorry, Joan!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Frugal Fun: A Valentine Challenge

Using the same philosophy as I did when making my holiday cards, I'm using what I have on hand to create my Valentine's Day wishes. Here's a selection of items that I'm about to start cutting and pasting today, hopefully resulting in a little something to show you in the coming days.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Find: Tied in a Bow

When I find vintage ribbons, you can bet I'll pick them up, especially if they are as gorgeous as this one that I found at an estate sale in Independence, Missouri. I especially like the way this pretty green ribbon looks wrapped around The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details.

If you have a copy of The Find that you'd like personalized, email me your details to theelegantthrifter@gmail.com, and I'll pop a bookplate in the mail just for you!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter
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