Friday, April 12, 2013

The Gift of Thrift: Dolly, Dolly, Dolly


I ran this post a while back, but since we're on the theme of party planning this week, here's an idea for a fun hostess gift. 

When Michael Quinn and Heather Kerr hosted an indoor tailgate party to be photographed in The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details, I found out in the planning process of our shared adoration of Dolly Parton.

So when it came time to give them a hostess gift, I used my country music muse as inspiration to craft separate host and hostess gifts that didn't cost much, that I would enjoy making and that they would like receiving!

For both, I found two jelly jars that I would pack with candy, and put some sort of Dolly memento of which I have plenty. For Heather, I chose this pendant that was once part of a key chain I bought at Dolly's "Alive and Well. " I chose this for Heather since she is a fabulous jewelry designer and might be able to refashion it into a Dolly-riffic piece to wear once she finished off the Hot Tamales that filled the container.


As for Michael, I made a photocopy of the cover of Dolly's "Jolene" album, and placed it among multi-colored Mike and Ike's. Since Michael is such a fashion plate, I found a coordinating bow tie in my closet and wrapped it around the container like a ribbon -- one that Dolly herself might have tied around one of her wigs in her younger years.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter




Thursday, April 11, 2013

Reuse & Repurpose: Nuts to You!

Photograph by Jim Franco for The Find

Repurposing what you have on hand can help you create party one-of-a-kind party decorations that guests will talk about for years to come. Here's one of my favorite images from The Find -- one that Michael Quinn crafted for an indoor vintage tailgate party. Here, an illuminated globe and a garden ornament transform into a whimsical centerpiece that delights the eye and accents an evening full of fun.

Today, you can win a personalized event-planning consultation from Michael and me. Tonight, The Sustainable Classroom Project, is auctioning off our services to help raise funds for the Advancement for Rural Kids, an organization that promotes getting kids get back to school in developing parts of the world. You can buy a ticket to the event, hereor join in on the silent auction to win Michael and me for a few hours and receive a signed copy of The Find.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter





Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Frugal Fun: Quick Tips for Party Planning

Photograph by Jim Franco from The Find

Planning a party on a budget should be fun and memorable. Follow these five steps and your guests will never want to leave your next celebration

1. Set your budget. Even for the smallest home gathering, knowing how much money you can spend frees your mind to get creative. It is also a good way to help you prioritize the what you can live without and what is a must-have.

2. Pick a theme. This theme --  a color, a person, a time of year, a place a type of dog a TV show, or whatever --  the invitations, the menu, the music, the decoration and the dress for your  affair.  I once threw what I called a Dolly-Rama,  a celebration of all things Dolly Parton.  My good pal Michael Quinn is infamous for his  Christmas celebrations with themes that range from "Mexican Christmas" to "Christ-mystical."

3. Use what you have for unexpected décor. Raid your kitchen cabinets, closets, bookshelves and friends' and neighbors' cabinets, closets and bookshelves for interesting objects that will personalize your event  Mix and match your dishes and flatware for an eye-catching tabletop. Use a crazy piece of art or statuary as a centerpiece. Decorate your space with miniature floral bouquets in juice glasses. Let your imagination roam, but stay within your theme.

4. Plan your music. Everybody know that when the liquor is flowing and the music is just right, then that's half the effort of having a party that nobody wants to leave. Select music to complement your evenings' theme. Music that pops up randomly from a playlist can ruin the mood of all your hard work.

5. Offer a parting gift.  I often keep a set of mismatched vintage dessert plates on hand for guests to fill up and take home. I don't worry about getting the plates back, and party goers gain  a memento of our time together.  Michael often creates handmade jewelry in the theme of his parties that guests wear right out the door!

Now's your chance to win a private event-planning consultation from Michael and me. Tomorrow night, The Sustainable Classroom Project, is auctioning off our services to help raise funds for the Advancement for Rural Kids, an organization that promotes getting kids get back to school in developing parts of the world. You can buy a ticket to the event, hereor join in on the silent auction to win Michael and me for a few hours and receive a signed copy of The Find.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter







Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Find: Win a Party Planning Consultation

Photograph by Jim Franco from The Find 

This image of a vintage tinged tabletop from The Find remains one of my favorites. I love the mix of unusual objects -- a weather-beaten squirrel, an illuminated globe, a dollhouse and a peeling dresser -- that serendipitously come together to celebrate an indoor tailgate party thrown by Michael Quinn and Heather Kerr.

If you've ever wanted a private event-planning consultation from Michael and me, now's your chance.   The Sustainable Classroom Project, an event on April 11, is auctioning off our services to help raise funds for the Advancement for Rural Kids, an organization that promotes getting kids get back to school in developing parts of the world. Buy a ticket to the event, here, or join in on the silent auction to win a signed copy of The Find, a perk for the top bidder of Michael's and my sure-to-be-unique and most-certainly-entertaining party consultation.


Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Object of My Desire: Guilty As Charged



I admit it. I have a lot of stuff. While some people pride themselves in their minimal, stark sensibilities with bare walls and barren surfaces, I like my things around me, not because they have some kind of monetary value, but they do remind me of people and places I love.

Take, for instance, my crowded china cabinet -- the one that came with a dining room set that my sister bought me for $140 at a garage sale in Independence, Missouri. Oh, yes, it's pretty full with objects, but each one has a story that I will remember forever. I found the Little Red Riding Hood cookie jar on the top and the Old MacDonald pitcher below it at a pair of  Santa Monica garage sales; the bright yellow tureen came from the Community Wide Garage Sale in Point Pleasant, New Jersey; there's a copy of my labor of love, The Find, on the bottom shelf right next to a handmade, ceramic bowl from Croatia; and there are two identical bean pots. Two, you might ask. Isn't that excessive? Maybe, but I'll tell you how that happened.


Photograph from The Find by Jim Franco

A few years ago, my mom mailed me the bean pot that she and my dad received on their wedding day more than 50 years ago. Wrapped in a couple of paper towels and packed in a flimsy box, it's a miracle that ceramic pot made it to my door without being smashed to bits. I have treasured that bean pot over the years, so much so that it appeared on the pages of The Find in a tablescape created by Michael Quinn and Heather Kerr. I kept the bean pot in my kitchen underneath a kitchen shelf overburdened with stuff, which, cause it to come loose from the wall and smash into my beloved bean pot, breaking its lid.

I was crushed. I collected the pieces of my broken pot then immediately went to Etsy where I quickly found a pot with the same markings. The plan was to take the lid from the new one to replace the broken one, which I would glue back together and place on the one I found on Etsy. After a few days, my package arrived and when I picked it up, I heard the heart-sinking sound of broken pottery.  I held my breath as I carefully opened the package, only to reveal a pot that was cleanly broken in three pieces. Rats! But the good news? The lid only suffered a tiny nick, and the seller felt so bad about the damage that she refused to let me pay for it.  

I put my new lid on Mom and Dad's bean pot and glued all the broken pieces together to "Frankenstein" another entire pot, leaving me with two identical bean pots that hold in them a memorable story. 

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter









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