Archive for the 'thrifting' Category

Pants Thrift

After some quality time at the Salvation Army on Little River Monday, I finally have pants.  It is a glorious feeling.

new pants

I also found a sweater that is covered with alpaca, and also probably made from alpaca.

alpaca sweater

I will wear it and dream of the day I have my own alpaca farm.

I also found: some stripy shirts appropriate for impending spring; a green fleece for me with elastic cuffs to keep me warm on the bike; a thin black fleece for V (he’s really into layering); an orange sweater that I might wear, or maybe it will fit V, or I will make it into something else; a couple of skirts; and a large green thing that might be a dress.  Not pictured are a necklace for me and one for a friend.  Big album of all this is here.

purple and green skirtsgreen dressstripy shirtsorange sweaterblack and green fleece

Day Off

Good thing I goofed off this morning, because the boss gave us the day off on the basis of sunshine.  I took my bike ride anyway (the gears and brakes survived the snow and cold, though remind me to check brakes before I get on that hill down Mt. Ida to Commonwealth next time).  My tires could use some air, it would appear.

Now, on to the Salvation Army, to obtain pants, and perhaps a small table.  I had another only-pair-of-jeans-rip debacle this winter (will she finally learn this year, and obtain more than one pair of nicely-fitting pants?  stay tuned to find out!), and substituted three pairs of poorly fitting, ludicrous pants from a rushed weekend visit to a Unique.  I’ve been gritting my teeth and wearing them since, but today, that changes.

The weather is tempting me to pay attention to my garden, also.  Hm.

Oh, and my passport came today!  Way to be early, State Department.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

The Coats are Thrifted

They’ve got the cold-weather stuff out at the Salvation Army on Duke Street, and Wednesday was (is always) Customer Appreciation Day, so I got 25% off. Check it out, got them all for less than $55!

This thing is just awesome. It’s a leather overcoat, and in it I will star in a western, hopefully set in outer space. Once I remove the hideous buttons and replace them, of course. One must dress well in space, too.

Then I got a few presents, because I like other people.

The rest are in the gallery, of course. Hurrah for fall.

Why Yes, I Have Been Thrifting

And it’s been so long since I posted a trip that you get three in one. I think I spent about $60 all told. Yes, I did, because I can check that in my online banking now! More on that to follow.

But here you are. The big album, and the selected thumbnails.

When I am thrifting, I occasionally find myself buying items simply because no one else will love them for their own ugly selves, like I do.  For instance, my new bowling outfit:  you see it to the left of a button down printed with a topographical map, which the GF wears handsomely.  Poor shirt.  I will give it closet space, and find a 70s party to wear it to occasionally.  It is safe with me.

It gets classier, though.  I found a Banana Republic blouse with a back-button detail, and a blouse that appears to have frilly gills.  Plus, I got a (second) pair of pants- navy Dockers.  My jeans thanked me.

Then there are the wonderful things.  My skirt with polka dots!  I will wear it with boots.  Plus, a boxed set of Italo Calvino’s novels- I’d been reading If on a winter’s night a traveler on loan from the library, and it’s the kind of book I need to own.

Thrifting makes me ask myself the hard questions.  Why do I not wear more sequins, for instance? How come I haven’t worn a belt in 10 years?  How many colors can I combine and get away with? Most retail stores have one style that they sell, and you might as well wear a cookie cutter (unless it is cold).  Thrift stores have everything from nice to ludicrous, and you get to pick your combos. It’s an odd sensation, having clothing that I enjoy wearing, and it causes all sorts of irrational exuberance when I get dressed these days.  For the longest time, my personal style has been “does it smell clean? is it pants? ok”.  It is high time to shift that to “I do feel happy in whatever this outfit is”.

Green Design, In My Basement: Part 2

Back to eco-lovely ways I decorated my place:

The New Stuff:  New room, new configuration, so I went shopping on Craigslist.

I had my eye on a large open bookcase from Ikea for a room divider, and it turns out Craiglist is an already-asembled-Ikea outlet.  Type in any of their odd product names and there are probably four or five people in the area selling one.  This works with Crate and Barrel and whatever other brands you might be looking for, also.  I got my gigantor bookcase/room divider, delivered, for less than the cost of picking up the flat pack down in Woodbridge.  Then I sold an old chair, and bought a rug. I also bought a microwave from my officemate, who was about to list it on Craigslist.

If you haven’t used the site before, take a look around.  You can search all kinds of wants- cars, furniture, clothing, jobs, apartments, dates- and list anything you have to offer, for free.  Put up pictures of your stuff and everything.  It can be frustrating, since some listings are gone sooner than you’d think, and some sellers and buyers are flighty- but ask for cash and meet in public places or take a friend to exchange items, and you’ll save yourself a good deal of trouble, plus get cheap nice stuff.

I have two rugs I’d like to put up for sale, but they both smell like dog right now, so I’m trying to fix that to raise their asking price (from $0 to anything.  Old dog smell is awful, and I would not wish it on any but my worst enemies, or maybe Stephen Johnson, head EPA obstructer).

I love shopping second-hand: thrill of the chase, thinking of ways to refashion old things to make them awesome, finding bits I never expected.  If this does not sound thrilling to you, get thee to a brand-specific search.  Or, at the least, sell the stuff you’re replacing, and keep it out of a dump.  People like me want it.

Last Installment: Big Decisions, Little Fridge

Green Design, In My Basement: Part 1

Moving is a gigantic hassle, but I really enjoy rearranging all my stuff.  I did a mostly good job keeping my last move as recycled and eco-friendly as possible (minus the trips back and forth with a pick-up truck, but that is the whole point of moving, I guess).  Here’s a tour of my new place, with green features:

The walls: My ceiling is low, and the lights are fluorescent, so I painted the walls to make the space more liveable.  Sherwin Williams has a store nearby, and their zero-VOC paint comes in a nice big range of colors. They have a really neat web tool where you can “paint” rooms in colors you like, trim and all, to test the combo- worth at least a half hour of play time. Plus, with a 20% discount that week, it was a good deal.  Typically their gallon cans of flat paint are $35, and there’s a 15% discount for signing up to be a “preferred customer”, which I understood to mean they send you coupons sometimes.  But the 20% was better, and so I got a can each of Osage Orange and Dill Green.

“VOC” is shorthand for volatile organic compound, which is a substance typically used by paint companies to dissolve pigments in their mixes.  VOCs are way toxic though– they’re the smell of paint drying, and why you should paint only in well-ventilated areas.  Inhale too much and you can get all sorts of damage to your central nervous system.  So, while zero VOC paint is a few bucks more expensive, and doesn’t come in the deepest colors offered (since other solvents can’t dissolve as much pigment as VOCs), it’s the way to go if you want to minimize indoor air pollution. It’s safe to paint during the day and sleep in the room that night, with this stuff. Even Sherwin Williams isn’t a chemical free, totally earth-friendly paint, though. I used it because I’m in a moldy basement, and the biocide aspect of the paint is appealing.  Plus, the store is close-by.  Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company sells a milk-based paint in a large range of colors, and it’s available at Woodcraft, down in Springfield.  It comes in a powder, you add water and mix it up, and it’s a lot harder to match colors across batches that way.  But still, it loves the planet, and is a safer alternative to chemical paints.

The curtains: I folded an old window hanging that had gotten sun-damaged, and hung it on extra picture wire behind a reed blind from Ikea (purchased 6 moves ago, languishing since that apartment).  I sewed a curtain for another window out of a fabric remnant and an ill-fitting thrifted skirt.  I could have donated it again, but it would have looked pretty bad on anyone, so I put it out of our misery.  It looks great as my curtain.

Another curtain was created from hanging all my scarves over a rod, and securing them with extra hair clips.  Inexpensive, keeps the scarves from getting obscured on the coat hooks, and looks pretty fantastic, what with all the color and texture.  It was the GF’s idea to do it- one of a couple great ideas he had for my room.  I shouldn’t have been so surprised about those, he’d done a great job setting up his own apartment.  Curtain rods were made possible by the donation of five long bamboo stalks from GF’s mother, because she has awesome ideas about moving-in gifts.  So far, we’ve cut curtain rods for the window, closet, and a strange recess in one corner that exposes the mechanical equipment.  I’ve got about 40 ft left, if anybody needs any.

The welcome mat: I now have an outside door, so I found a 100% recycled rubber doormat at Target.  Small victory in a Big Box.

Next time: Craigslist Shopping and New Appliance Guilt!


For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be posting more sporadically than usual.  I’m in the middle of another move, but it should be finished and I should be settled by the first weekend in August.  It’s a bummer that my current place didn’t work out, but I found a new spot in Del Ray with a bit more space, a courtyard for my container garden, and even a 20 ft sq. patch of grass, so I might try growing something in the actual ground.  I’ll be much further from work, but at least my bike will get used again.  As a bonus, my new housemates said they’d been thinking about starting a compost pile anyway, so my unit is welcome.

I’m excited to be there, but for now I’m still looking for boxes and trying to remember where I put my hairbrush, post-Wisconsin and mid-packing.

All of this hasn’t stopped me from the urge to visit second-hand stores, unfortunately.  I’ll spare every detail, but I found some awesome stuff at a flea market in Wisconsin, some basic clothes at the Goodwill at Arlington and Glebe (they also accepted my computer monitor at that location, which I can count as a moving/downsizing activity) and Spanish and Russian books at the Colombia Pike Goodwill.  I hadn’t been to any of the Goodwills around here until yesterday.  The Duke St. Salvation Army has a much larger selection, and I typically find a few things I like- the Goodwills were not so productive.  Of course, I went on a Saturday evening, and it appears they had been very well picked over.  Among the clothes was a nice orange wool sweater that someone had washed, to pre-felt for me.  So now I can cut it up and make something out of it (now it’s too small for anyone but a baby).  Oh, then today I might have spent a few minutes in the “Not Too Shabby” consignment and antique store on Mount Vernon.  Most of their stuff is pricey and highly-breakable, but I found two Horatio Alger books and my birthday present to me.

So enough with the rambling, here’s the highlights:

I found the flowered tray for a dollar- a dollar!- and the blue sparkly clip earrings (3$, bargained down from five, and goodness I love bargaining, even when one calls it “haggling”) at the flea market in Wisconsin.  It’s a great flea market- I also got a scarf and embroidered apron, and a few old books.  My birthday present, the penguin cocktail shaker, was $16 at “Not Too Shabby.”  I was just going to get myself a credit check for my birthday, but then I realized I liked me better than that.

Anyway, once I find boxes and get back to the office tomorrow, I won’t have so much time to spend looking through other people’s old stuff.

Long Weekend Thrifting

My Memorial Day holiday started early. I picked up a shelf to take my garden partially vertical, and stopped by the Unique Thrift Store on New Hampshire Ave. The haul was prodigious:

purple teeshirtturquoise dressflower blouseblue shirtpink jacketpr teeshirtpenguin pindino pinknot earringsbrass bowlgreen planterswan plantermetal planterdinosaur cufflinks

A purple tee shirt. A turquoise tunic that looks to be the upper half of an Indian outfit, and handmade. The picture doesn’t show it, but the material has a purple sheen, and it’s gorgeous. It feels like cotton. I’m going to insert some fabric into the slits at the side and make it a dress. A white blouse with blowsy green and blue roses that was designed for a person without hips, so alteration is needed. A navy blue blouse. A pink jacket that should do nicely if I have to hang out with any grandparents this summer. And a green tee shirt from Puerto Rico that I’m going to do something exciting to. Then the jewelry- a rhinestone penguin! And a dinosaur pin- no tag on that guy, since I’ve been wearing him since I left the store. I also picked up a little pair of earrings shaped like knots. To top off the frivolity, I got a little bronze bowl with a teal and red dyed pattern- you know, since all the other bowls I have aren’t cool enough for my rhinestone penguin. I very rarely pick up knick-knacks at thrift stores, but this one called to me. Oh, and I got three planter pots, since I’d planned a huge garden overhaul this weekend, and since I found one shaped like a swan. The long boxy one was a splurge- 12$! But perfect for carrots.

My favorite find was for my Gentleman Friend. It’s a pair of T Rex cuff links! Nothing says “I Love You” like roaring cuffs. All together, I spent $60.

More photos here.

Post-Exam Thrift

Who knew that the SA on Little River was open until 9pm?  Not me.  But it’s the last time I’ll be over that way for a while, so I took the chance to look through again on my way home from my final exam.

green flower thinglotus blouseplaid dressgreen silk

As you see:  A gigantic, broken blouse, $4.  Perhaps it will become a skirt.  A top with lotuses on it, $4.  Very, very plaid dress, $5.  It has pockets!  Green silk classy thing, probably a bit too large, $7.  In case I have to do anything classy this summer.

Fare well, Little River SA, until next semester.

Celebratory Thrift

cotton print wrap skirtcotton print skirtpurple skirtpink skirt

grey blousesleeve pocketwhite blouseblue shirt for MYMblue guayabera

I did pretty well on my Construction Management exam today, and rewarded myself afterwards with thrifting. (If I’d done poorly, I would have consoled myself with thrifting. So’s we’re clear.) It’s getting hotter out, and I need skirts and short sleeve blouses. Thus:

Cotton wrap skirt with colorful print (detail shown), $4. I’ll need to pin it closed- it’s basically just a big bit of cloth with a waist tie. But it’s wonderful, and has pictures of five kinds of animal and two different people on it. Shapeless, huge purple skirt, $5. It’s a very light, swishy fabric, so I’ll take it in and make a proper waist band instead of the elastic mess. Pink Linen skirt, $7. Extravagance! Grey blouse, $4. Soft and light, plus a functional sleeve pocket. For…what? I might get the urge to add something to the bottom hem, but it will work nicely as-is. White cotton blouse with blue and purple threads, $4. Has some small stains, which will hopefully wash out. Navy and white plaid button-down for my darling guy, $4. Oddly dirty, so half of it is darker because I was soaking it. Needs a good washing. Former owner had a dog and some fine white powder? A blue-green guayabera with white embroidery for my ookle dumpling, $5. Guayaberas are so snazzy. Even when they’re made in Korea, and a have a little frayed seam. The latter, I can fix, and the former, I can ignore.

About half of the stuff I find at the Salvation Army is something that needs to be resized, or sewed on to make it truly cool. I’ve been getting ideas and inspiration from the newest link, Wardrobe Refashion– a group blog of people who challenge themselves to buy nothing new, and remake old and used stuff into awesome other stuff. Goodness, my project plans just keep piling up.

Also, I need to suggest to the Salvation Army-Little River people that they not staple price tags tot he clothes, especially in collars and other places where holes are noticeable.

Update: an album.

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