UPDATE: Hey, I'm Susie! Thriftables was just a little ol' blog I started in 2012 about thrifting and DIY. When t
he domain thriftables.com got bought up from under me, I decided that I'd let the blog die. It's just a well; I never really updated it anymore anyway.
I will keep the most popular posts up. If you still want to be my buddy, please find me on Pinterest, Instagram, or Etsy. I'll probably start another blog or vintagey project someday soon. When I do, you'll hear about it there.

On a side note, if you find a pin or link that leads you back to thriftables.com, would you mind updating the link to point it back to thriftables.blogspot.com? I would appreciate it, and I'm sure the lost thrifter who stumbles across it will appreciate it, too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Anthropology-Inspired Animal Head Wall Hook

I've been in dire need of a coat hook for some time. I'm the type of person who comes home, throws her coat wherever it lands, then wonders why it's always covered in cat fur. Though I've admired this adorable elephant head hook from Anthropologie for awhile, I am not willing to pay $20 for a single coat hook. 

I found this hook at the thrifts. No, he's not quite an elephant head, but once I got past his cold, dead stare I began to see a project forming. I snatched him up and made a bee-line for my paint supplies. 

Who doesn't love Deco Art Americana Chalky Finish Paint? It makes everything so effortlessly cool, and it doesn't need priming! 

I painted the duck twice with a thin layer of paint, then painted once more with a bunched-up paper towel. This gave me the textured look that the Anthro one has.

Here is a detailed shot of what it looks like dry. No more cold, dead stare! I think the crazing that happened around the eyes makes it look more vintage. Plus, total cost for my version was only $1.99, as I already had the paint supplies laying around. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Maximizing Small Spaces with Clotheslines

When the soulmate and I moved into a new apartment last month, we were pleasantly surprised to find a two bedroom for about the same price as we'd been paying for a single bedroom. Though tiny, we knew exactly what we'd do with the extra space: home office!

My original plan was to hang a gigantic corkboard over the desk to function as an inspiration board. Once I realized how expensive corkboards are (what the heck?!), I settled on a few smaller boards instead. To extend the functionality of the board, I added this little "clothesline" to the bottom edge. Hallelujah! This speedy little craft cost me $0 (I already had everything hanging around,) and it's opened my eyes to a whole world of clothespin organization. Yessssss. 

jute twine + clothespins = that's it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

1940 World Atlas String of Pennants

When I thrifted this vintage 1940s world atlas, I knew it was destined for a craft project. I would never advocate ripping up an old book just for crafting, but most of the pages were already loose and stained. Alas, my 25 cent thrift find became some cute bunting, perfect for adorning my office.  

To make the pennants, I simply made a template out of cardstock, traced around the template on some of the more interesting entries, and cut around the tracing. The paper was very brittle from age and exposure, so I decided to back it with some colorful paper. I used Mod Podge to glue and seal the pennants. This not only adds a nice texture, but it also protects the old paper from further damage. After the Mod Podge dried, I punched holes in the corners of the pennants, then strung some jute twine through the holes.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vintage Coach Purse Makeover

Vintage Coach, though beautiful, is a wee bit boring, especially when you own dozens in a similar style. When I thrifted this purse a while back, I decided I was going to have a little fun with it. I got it for a bargain, so I knew that even if I fudged it I wouldn't feel bad about about my little experiment. It went swimmingly, and now this purse is one of my favorites!

The leather was so dry and sad looking. I consulted my thrifting survival kit, pulled out my trusty Pecard Leather Dressing and went to work cleaning it up. To help bring out the natural patina of the leather, I rubbed harder in places to give it a deeper color. This results in a darker, more lived-in look.

I found vintage brass pyramid studs on Etsy. I got lucky that the color matched the existing brass hardware almost perfectly. When it came time to place the studs, I had no idea what design I wanted. I just haphazardly placed them, hoping for the best (typical me!) Because the leather on vintage Coach is so thick, the studs wouldn't pierce without a little help. I had good luck piercing the leather with the tip of an X-Acto knife. 

If I were to do it again, I'd probably measure and be a little more deliberate with the placement, but for now I think it looks pretty nifty. 

Do you think you'd ever experiment with with re-mixing vintage Coach? Comment below!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Thrift Tips: How to Find the Good Stuff at Thrift Stores

When people find out about my passion for thrifting, the first question I inevitably get is "How do you find the good stuff? Any time I go to a thrift store I find nothing but junk." If you had asked me two years ago when I started this blog, I'd have probably said something like "Oh, I guess I'm just lucky." After doing it for so many years in so many different places, though, I now recognize that I have a bit of a formula. Yes, believe it or not, there is a method to my madness. Here is a peek into how I bring home the good stuff.

Recognize Patterns
I think what makes finding the "good stuff" so hard for a lot of folks is simply the fact that they feel a bit overwhelmed in thrift stores. With so many different things invading your senses at once, it can be exhausting sorting through everything to find the items you love. You know that brief moment after you dump a new jigsaw puzzle out of it's box, when all you see is a pile of colored cardboard? Your instinct is to start looking for the patterns in the mess. Apply the same theory to thrifting. If you can start to recognize the types of things you love in the piles of crud, you can zero right in on them, without even noticing the crud. It's a difficult skill to hone, but once learned, is the most valuable skill a thrifter can have. 

Shop in Passes
I will usually enter a thrift store and immediately make my way to kitchen goods. I do a quick look about, see if anything jumps out at me, then head over to furniture. After doing a brief inspection of the entire store, I'm ready to re-examine the sections in more depth. At this point, treasures will start popping out at me because I'm looking past the stuff I already know I don't want. After years of thrifting I can now do this in a matter of minutes. Between the dust, smells, textures, and visual stimulation, you'll start to feel weary if you spend too much time looking at every single item. Weariness leads to sloppiness, and sloppiness leads to missed treasures

Know Yourself 
Since I was a teenager I've loved the '60s and early '70s aesthetic. I've always been drawn to burnt orange couches, crocheted acrylic throw blankets, porcelain mushrooms, etc. Even as an adult, though my tastes have grown and matured, I'm still drawn to this style. I find that knowing exactly what I like helps me zero in on the good stuff because I'm not hemming and hawing over stuff that I only kind-of like. Train yourself to recognize colors, shapes, fabrics, and patterns that speak to you. Recognizing what you truly love means that you won't waste time fretting over whether or not the stuff you're bringing home will fit in with your current decor. It all fits because it's all intrinsically you.  

Everything in Context
It's easy to recognize something's value once it's put into context, but out of context it can look like worthless junk. Dealers know this, which is why merchandise in antique stores almost always looks much more appealing than the same stuff in grandma's dusty, musty basement. If you're contemplating something at a thrift store, try to visualize how it will look next to stuff you already own. Seemingly mediocre (or downright ugly) bric-a-brac can transform into beautiful art once placed as part of a menagerie in your home. If you have a hard time visualizing stuff like that, my suggestion is, naturally, Pinterest. Making an inspiration board trains your brain to recognize the things you love out in the "wild." For example, I have a board called Thriftable Interiors. I look at it often because it helps remind me of exactly what I want in my home: an eclectic collection of unique finds, anchored with well-designed furniture pieces against a clean, white backdrop. Oddly specific? Yes. Does it work? Absolutely! 

It's all Relative 
I've had plenty of people guffaw at my quirky, colorful style in the past. It's important to understand that we all find value in different things, so what I think is "good" may be downright "awful" to you, and vice versa. That's why I find it so important to understand what you value when thrifting. If you love finding modern, high-end pieces marked well below retail, you can find that. If you love unique, genuine vintage, there's plenty of that, too. Either way, it's important to know what you love, what you want, and ultimately thrift shop with the intention of building around your personal taste. Once you've embraced your true style, thrifting becomes easier, less time consuming, and most importantly, way more fun.

Do you have any thrifting tips? I always love to hear other people's advice!