Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday's Find: From Wrinkled to Wonderful


Do you remember this wadded up tablecloth that I bought for $5 at Housing Works?


Here's how gorgeous it turned out after I washed and ironed it -- all ready for many more years of fun in the sun!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Frugal Fun: Design on a Dime Surprises



Housing Works annual fundraiser Design on a Dime is always full of surprises. Kicking off tonight and opening to the public on April 27 and 28, the event is New York's premiere gathering where interior design experts show off their skills at reviving vintage and thrift finds.

HGTV's Genevieve Gorder, above, teamed up with Valspar paint to put a novel twist on items gleaned almost exclusively from the stock at Housing Works. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:


Paint and Stitch: Gorder put a cheery coat of Valspar paint on this chair and decoratively stitched up holes in its woven back.


Pick a Pattern: High Falls Mercantile's Larry Ruhl -- who, by the way, I've never met, but feel like I do because of our lively conversations on Twitter -- brilliantly covered the walls of his booth with old sewing patterns.



Reuse the Unusual: Pincones formed an eye-catching vase for these springtime flowers in Foley & Cox's space.


Unexpected Dazzle: Why am I not surprised but delighted that my pals Randall Beale and Carl Lana of Beale-Lana placed a vintage starburst in a fireplace and covered the walls with metallic paper?!



Fill With Fun: Got an extra, gigantic beach ball just taking up space? You could take a tip from De La Torre Design and turn it into a festive decorative object by hanging it from the ceiling.

Gotta' bounce!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,


The Elegant Thrifter 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reuse & Repurpose: Spring Time


Since Housing Works Design on a Dime starts tomorrow, here's one of the repurposed creations by James "Ford" Huniford that I saw at the annual fundraising event two years ago. By taking various colored springs of different shapes and sizes and affixing them to the wall, he came up with an unexpected, artistic creation

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,


The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Find: Panning for Gold



Even though I've told the story of how Mark Ciolli of Carl & Co. discovered a hidden treasure at an East Side  Housing Works, finding a photo taken on the day of its discovery gave me reason to repeat it. I would never have noticed the metal structure hidden by a leather chair, two dinette chairs and a pile of Mediterranean-style accent pillows stacked upon its glass top. The price? $45.

Then the transaction that took place reminded me of an undercover operation that only takes place in spy films. I told it best in The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details:

"I couldn't understand why Ciolli would get so worked up over what looked like garbage to me," I recounted in The Find. "I leaned against an upended tacky, ruffled floral sofa as he flipped open his mobile phone and started dictating specific pickup instructions to his delivery service, ending his conversation with 'and leave the glass top there.'"

I didn't quite get it until he explained later: "Honey, those were two Maison Jansen gueridons holding up that horrible glass, and they alone are worth at least a thousand bucks a piece."


Photograph by Jim Franco

Here's how one of them looks once Mark incorporated it into his apartment, which was featured among the pages of The Find. The moral of this story? When thrifting, keep your eyes open for you never know what you'll find.

What treasures have you stumbled upon lately?

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,


The Elegant Thrifter

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reuse & Repurpose: Dig In!


Made from reclaimed pieces of metal and a shovel handle, this inviting stool caught my eye at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.  

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrfiter

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Find: It's Garage Sale Weather!

Photograph by Bob Greenspan

It's that time of year when stoops start to burst with tossed out goodies for sale and yards become filled with fabulous wares offered for pennies on the dollar. Yes, garage sale season is happily upon us, bringing my pal Ruth Handel, garage sale thrower extraordinaire, to mind.

In this outtake from The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details, I revel in the color-coordinated displays set up on the lawn of her Gregory Ain tract home in Mar Vista, California. And I continue to be amazed  at the crowd she and her cohort Johanna Went drew on that day, thanks to their  their reputation for selling top-quality good at  way-more-than-fair prices. Not only did folks walk away with thrifty treasures, but they also helped raise money for LARC, the Los Angeles Residential Community  for the developmentally disabled.



As for my souvenir from the event?  I brought home this gigantic PoppyTrail strawberry chip and dip bowl. Now I call that a really sweet deal! 

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,


The Elegant Thrifter


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Object of My Desire: A Tisket, A Tasket

Photograph by Stan Williams

I'm not one to force the season. No, I really don't like to wear shorts unless it's June, July or August or I'm on vacation in a tropical locale,  sport white pants  before Memorial Day or don flip flops to walk anywhere other than on the beach. But thanks to Mother Nature's response to Global Warming, we're experiencing AC weather in NYC, and yes, I'm barefoot and wearing shorts.

The unusually high temperatures has me already thinking about the bounty of summertime -- the array berries that come along in late June and early July, and the home-grown tomatoes that are at their peak in mid August. And of course watermelon --  of which I'm extremely picky. Nothing seems to taste as good as a melon grown in the clay of Arkansas and southern Missouri, and here, I can only find ones that come from Mexico or Texas.

As I was consolidating my vintage treasures over the weekend, I emptied this peck-sized basket that my pal Ruth Handel used to cart home vintage goodies from an estate sale we visited back in January. It reminded me of the summers when I was a kid that we picked most of the vegetables we ate. During summer months, my folks would keep an eye open for the days that local farms opened up to customers who could save a few cents by picking their own produce. We picked everything from green beans and corn to strawberries in the summer months. As autumn approached, we'd visit the peach and apple orchard to fill our baskets with fruit that Mom would put away for winter. 

Today, the orchard where we used to pick apples in Independence, Missouri, is about to be cleared for a Quick Trip, and I'll probably use this basket to hold crafting items or organize something or other. In the meantime, I'd better put on my flip flops and get to Whole Foods to pick up something to cook for dinner.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Gift of Thrift: Spring Specials

Photograph by Stan Williams
When it comes to offering a gift certificate in a memorable fashion, I always reach to my cache of vintage goodies for one-of-a-kind wrap. This time when I looked into my trunk of treasures, I spotted this white vintage leather handbag made for Saks Fifth Avenue in the 1960s and this cheery blue and white scarf -- both perfect for creating what I like to call a Hooch Bag. Along with the gift certificate, I filled up my springy gal with a ton of funny money and a few nips of booze, all tied up in a feminine bow for a special birthday gift that transformed into a real looker!


Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,


The Elegant Thrifter

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reuse & Repurpose: Oh Say Can you See?


Do you have a stack of "holey" jeans that you're not sure what to do with? Why not cut them into state shapes and spread them from coast to coast!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,


The Elegant Thrifer


Monday, April 2, 2012

The Object of My Desire: For Kings...or Queens


If you've been wondering what I've been up to for the past two days, where here is a hint. I'm helping Swarovksi create its "Kingdom of Jewels" for its fall editors presentations.  And yes, it required me to rent a throne. There's a first for everything!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,


The Elegant Thrifter

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