Monday, December 10, 2012

Vintage Christmas Card Display

I found a stash of vintage 1950s Christmas cards at the thrift store the other day. The graphics are fabulous and I wanted to figure out a way to display them somewhere in the house. So after a brief brainstorming session, I grabbed a few wooden clothespins, spray paint and a bit of string.
I spray painted the clothespins red, dk green, medium green and yellow. Mike screwed in little hooks for me in the kitchen wall above our vintage stove. I stretched and knotted the string to each end of the hooks and pinned the cards onto the string with the colorful clothespins!

Tada! A quick and easy way to display your holiday cards!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Very Vinyl Christmas - Part I

I'm at the thrift store pretty frequently (so I can keep my Etsy store stocked with goodies) and there's always an abundance of vintage vinyl. So this year I decided to challenge myself and see how I could revamp old records into a fun colorful Christmas decoration. I grabbed a couple of the smaller records - 45s, then headed over to the 99 cent store where I purchased a few packages of tinsel and cheap ornaments.

In addition I used a glue gun, a drill, some scrap ribbon and vintage Christmas light bulbs.

The end result! Super fun Christmas wreaths with a retro feel.



Instructions:
1. Grab your record and an electric hand drill and drill a small hole in the top of the record.
2. String your ribbon through it
3. Grab your glue down and glue the tinsel down first. Let cool
4. Arrange the ornaments and the light bulbs where you want them and glue down. Let cool.
4. Hang it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Party gal

Just a quick post to show my latest assemblage creation. I love old dolls - mostly old doll parts and so I was rummaging through my stash of goodies and honed in on a few items that caught my eye and started tinkering around. I finally ended up with the below - a doll head and body, a scrap of velvet wallpaper, butterfly wings from a Christmas ornament, feather bits and some metal parts from a vintage cookie and candy press.


Now - while I have the creative vision - I often have no clue how to assemble what's in my head. Thankfully I have a husband who is ready and willing to help me facilitate my art. So he gets the construction credit!

She's my Party gal - all gussied up for the holidays.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Got Brains?

This post is dedicated to Zombie lovers everywhere! A few years ago Mike and I decided it was time to come up with a theme to decorate our front yard for Halloween. It came down to 2 ideas - Meat the Cleavers, a gory ode to June & Beaver Cleaver or a Victorian Zombie graveyard. We settled on the graveyard because it was a little easier to flesh out (he he).

 My husband built the Cemetery sign and the graveyard fence from recycled wood we had.


Then I thrifted a few cosmetology heads and Victorian looking clothing. We have talented friends and our friend Karen Sartario painted Mr. Zombie and Aaron Lyle painted Mrs. Zombie for us.


Last year the week after Halloween I found this 1950s life sized doll. She had to hang out in the garage for a whole year until finally I could get her all zombied up for this year's display. She stares creepily out at everybody from the front of the cemetery.
This little one is another addition to the walking dead family.

And that concludes our Zombie graveyard. Hopefully I'll be able to add another ghoulie ghoul
next year.

Last but not least - I had the opportunity to take my 2 boys on a family zombie walk a few nights ago. Both of my sons had a blast - groaning and lurching down the streets of Glendale. I am always amazed at the ability of children to suspend disbelief and just have fun! I highly recommend it if your city has one!




Monday, October 1, 2012

HALLOWEEN - Part I - COSTUME ATTIRE REQUIRED!

I love Halloween! And so does my family. We make a big effort to decorate both the front yard (coming soon in the next blog post) and our house. In the house I like to get everyone involved in dressing up for the season - costumes are mandatory! And that includes our taxidermy, stuffed animals, vintage toys and various artwork that's on display. See below for some of the fun disguises I have used to "spook up the crib."

We love Jesus and thinks he must have a sense of humor! So he gets to sport devil horns for his costume.

I found this painting 20 years ago at one of my first thrift store visits after I moved to Los Angeles. I took a piece of black cardboard paper and cut out a bat mask for her.



Would you believe this is a monkey!??

This is Pancho Del Muerte. Even skeletons need a get-up.

Mr. Deer gets a snappy top hat and a wolf snout.

This is a vintage cosmetology head that we painted to look like a zombie and added an morbid Victorian mourning bonnet.

Stay tuned for our Zombie graveyard in Halloween - Part 2.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hoity Toity Doily

So when you are an avid thrifter (as I am) you see some of the same vintage items over and over at just about every second hand shop. Things or pieces that used to have real value but we just don't tend to use in modern society anymore. One of these items are doilies. I see doilies everywhere - little, big, round, square, blue, pink, floral, multicolored...you name it. I picture a bunch of little old blue hairs getting together every week to partake in their favorite hobby of tatting while gossiping about the 30 year old neighbor's tattoo, complaining about their arthritis, all over a hot cup of tea and a few slices of spam. I had a Great Aunt Ruth who I really adored and she tatted me the most intricately beautiful crisp white tablecloth for my first official dining room table.  But alas I don't know anybody my age who tats. I have friends who knit and crochet, but taking up those teeny tiny crochet needles seems to be a lost art.

So every once in awhile, through the years, I would see a doily I couldn't pass up. I had no real use for it  - but the craftsmanship and the beauty of it just didn't belong in a thrift shop. So I would lovingly take it home and throw it in a drawer (ha). Until one day I realized I had 20-30 something doilies all just hanging out in a dark linen drawer with nothing to do.

So I brainstormed. I wanted to figure out a way I could use them. And below is what I came up with:


A new tablecloth for my dining room table using my lovely hoity toity doilies.

I placed them on the table in a pattern that I liked and attached them together at the corners with small strips of yarn. Easy peazy.


Then I added a centerpiece! I had the green/gold vintage candy holder in my closet and I filled it with a bunch of 60s floral pins.

I'm happy. The doilies are happy. And I bet my great aunt Ruth is looking down from heaven pleased as punch that I'm putting these lovely labors of love to good use.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Single Most Ignorant Thought


DISCLAIMER - this post has nothing to do with design or decorating, but has everything to do with current life events...

My sister used to be an art teacher at Kalamazoo Christian high school. She had the privilege of becoming a mentor to a student named Michael Pinto. Michael took her art classes his Freshman, Sophomore and Junior years and when he got to his Senior year he did a one on one special art study with her. Fours years pass so quickly and Michael graduated – college bound! A few weeks after graduation, for reasons we will never know, Michael left a party with a friend who was drunk and got in the passenger seat. His friend drove that car into a tree and Michael didn’t survive. Michael’s parents knew that Sheila had this special relationship with him and although she didn’t know them very well, she agreed to speak at his funeral when they asked. Michael had one younger sibling - a 15 year old brother named Paul. Paul has Down syndrome. And here it is. The single most ignorant (and to me abhorrent) thought that has ever crossed my mind: “Why did God take the good son?” There it is out in the open for me to be everlastingly ashamed of. I thought that maybe it would have been better if the son with the cognitive disability had been the one chosen to go to heaven first. Not the one with so much “typical” potential.

Through the years following Michael’s death Sheila developed a close and special relationship with Michael Sr. and Susan Pinto (the parents) and Paul. Through Sheila I have gotten to hear about how funny, smart, stubborn and persistent Paul was and is.

Two years after Michael’s death my Mike and I gave birth to Quinn. Almost to the day, 3 years after that, we had our second son – Gideon, who was born with Down syndrome. Two boys, 3 years apart, the oldest typical and the youngest chromosomally enhanced– just like the Pinto family. God works in mysterious ways.

Cut to 4 ½ years after that - to last week and the very untimely and heart breaking death of my friend Monica’s son with Down syndrome – Timmy. Timmy was 12 years old and for me he was a beacon of hope and potential. When you first have a baby with Down syndrome – seeing older kids/adults with DS usually scares the crap out of you. It’s a future you don’t completely understand yet. But Timmy wasn’t scary at all. I loved seeing and talking to him. He was bold, funny and confident. He could read and was a working actor. And I saw Gideon’s amazing future potential in him.

Timmy died in his sleep of heart failure. He had had 2 heart surgeries among other various surgeries and was on his fourth pacemaker. And I suspect in my heart – that
friends might be thinking (just like the ignorant me):

That while this is tragic –maybe it is for the best because Timmy was retarded.

Or that however sad this is now– it’s probably a blessing in disguise because he had heart problems and cognitive and physical delays and this will be easier for his parents in the long run.

Or that at least Timmy is survived by his two typically developing sisters and it wasn’t one of them.

And if you did think that – even for a second – how can I blame you. I did. Society does. Professionals do. The entire flipping world does. Behind closed doors. Locked away in our private thoughts. Or spoken in confidence only to our significant others.

The evidence of this is the 91% abortion rate of babies with Down syndrome after diagnosis in utero. We are taught that anything less than typical isn’t valuable and is easily disposed of.

But the passing of Timmy and the passing of Michael are COMPLETELY EQUAL. Timmy with Down syndrome and Michael – college bound  - are totally and wonderfully fearfully made completely EQUAL in God’s sight, my newly liberated sight and their parents sight.

I want to shout from the rooftops that I don’t care how many surgeries Gideon has to have or how many years it takes him to read or how many diapers I have to change – Gideon’s value is just as amazing as Quinn’s. His diagnosis was not what we expected. And Gideon our little boy is NOT what we ignorantly expected. If we had done what the 91% do and abort out of our grief and ignorance I would have lost the most amazing gift God had ever given to me. Gideon and all kids with Down syndrome are here for a reason. Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic anomaly since the beginning of time. That’s not a mistake. I love and appreciate both my kids for their amazing abilities. But this article is about Gideon. And his abilities are his tenacity, his amazing ability to love without prejudice and the joy in which he approaches his life. Things that are sometimes really hard for us typical people.

So how do we change society’s perception, the unspoken thought that kids who have special needs are worth just a little less? I’m not sure. But the only way I know I can help is to write about my ignorance and the child who cured me of it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thrift Store Mania

So I haven't blogged in 2-3 weeks because I have been busy getting my new Etsy store up and rolling! I've always had 2 life long career dreams and thanks to modern technology and the world wide web I can achieve both without having to invest in brick and mortar! 

My first love is designing invitations and I have been diligently working on adding new party themes to my 1st Etsy store every week.

Here's a sampling of what I have been working on:


My 2nd love is finding goodies at the thrift store and I have finally rolled out my SweetPickinsShop.


And here's a lookie lou of what's in that store!!

In honor of my son Gideon who has Down syndrome - 

I donate 10% of all sales to Reese's Rainbow (www.reesesrainbow.org). In most of Eastern Europe children with DS upon birth are immediately institutionalized. Reese's Rainbow helps fund adoptions so that these AWESOME KIDS can be given loving homes and families!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Arghhhh!

I love having a job where I get to design party invitations and matching accoutrement.
Today I'm sharing a few photos of the design work I did for this amazing Pirate Party thrown by two very talented Event Planners - Jennifer Currier & Karen Snyder of La Soiree Chic! (http://www.lasoireechic.blogspot.com/)


I illustrated a traditional pirate skull and crossbones - but added a feminine touch by changing the eye patch to a heart and swapping out the customary pirate color red for a bright pink.

Party decor using the food and water bottle labels I designed.

Can you believe this amazing tablescape Karen & Jennifer designed?!! I love how the colors explode off the page. I designed the Banner above the table to compliment the original invite - but switched out the background color to a bright sunny yellow.


Last but not least are the favor bags with tags that read "Argghhh Pirate Booty!"

To view and/or purchase other invitations and party packs I have designed:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/sarahtacoma

For MORE amazing photos of this event visit www.lasoireechic.blogspot.com.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Junk Mate


I was lucky enough to meet my soul mate, best friend and husband 21 years ago this month!
However I would have to wait another 18 years before I met my junk mate.

What’s a junk mate you might ask? Well here are a few important characteristics:
  • A  junk mate is a friend who happens by a killer estate sale and calls to tell you about it  - so you don’t miss out!
  • A junk mate will be at the thrift store, see something she knows you couldn’t live without and text you a photo to see if she should purchase it for you.
  • A junk mate will convince you to spring for that item you are wavering on – knowing you’ll kick yourself later if you left the store without it.
  • And a junk mate will tell you not to buy that second hand skirt because you already have a dozen that look just like it.
I met Corinne almost 3 years ago. Every Wednesday after my babysitter arrived, I would hightail it over to Village Thrift for a few hours of kid free shopping and relaxation. I’m not sure when I noticed her first  - but after a few months of my Wednesday ritual – I realized there was this hip chick ALWAYS shopping at the same day/time I was. I didn’t approach her for several months because I couldn’t figure out how to break the ice. Finally after almost a year I decided I was being a ninny and my trepidation was ridiculous – we obviously had a thrift store obsession in common if nothing else. So one Wednesday morning I idled up to her cart and blurted out the best junk mate pick-up line I could think of – “Hey that’s an awesome thing you found. What a score!”

Turns out Corinne & I had a few more things in common besides our favorite hobby. My oldest son and her daughter are only 6 months apart (and get along fabulously). We both love to decorate and re-decorate our houses (her house is insanely amazing). And we both like to wear black, which would really come in handy if I was a size 6.

So today I am going to share a few photos of her house. She has an amazing ability for display and presentation, mixing both modern and vintage. It’s hard to describe her unique style, but if I had to pick a moniker it would be Eclectic Wonderland. I also greatly admire that she isn’t afraid to incorporate her daughter’s toys and artwork seamlessly into the d├ęcor. See for yourself.

 I love parents who aren't afraid to let their kids and house get messy in the happy pursuit of creativity. Corinne generously frames and displays her daughter's art.

Both the living room (above) and dining room (below) harmoniously marry vintage and modern.
Corinne was lucky enough to be able to commission Art & Ghosts (http://artandghosts.typepad.com/) to create one of a kind art pieces using photos of her daughter.

I love the vintage tanker desk sprayed a cool metal pink! But I love even more the photo booth strips placed under the glass as a fun reminder of times past.

  These two photos are of her daughter's room. It has this enchanting woodland, fairytale feel with a pinch of kitsch throw in for good measure. 

 Last but not least a few photos that demonstrate Corinne's super power - displaying objects in a wonderful and eye-catching way.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Romancing the Tent

My husband and I have a special little hobby we've been indulging ourselves in for over a decade now -Medieval Camping. Yes we know the stigma attached - but really and truly it's fun, creative and relaxing! We've spent quite a few years now creating the perfect romantic, bohemian ambiance for our tent. In order to accomplish this we've re-purposed quite a few thrift/retail store finds to "reenact" the renaissance period to the best of our ability. 
But before we go any further - check out the video below for a real feel of what 
Period Camping is all about.

Here are some of the thrift/retail store items we've enlisted to help create our bohemian environment.
Throw rugs
Sheets used as tent decor
Old steamer trucks for storage & seating
Pier One / World Market wooden bowls
Lots & lots of yarn tassels (link to tutorial below)
Vintage wood folding chairs
Sari fabric - curtains and tent decor
Metal & Glass Chandelier - Ikea
Sheepskin - for bedding (keeps us warm!)
Small Vintage Turkish Rugs made into large throw pillow covers
Tons of lanterns

And now for the photos!
My husband made our bed! It folds down totally flat for storage. Hanging above the bed along the left tent wall is this amazing Ralph Lauren sheet that I found at the thrift store. The large throw pillow at the head of the bed was an old Turkish rug that a backing was added to - so we could slip a pillow in it.
The rug on the floor belonged to Mike's great grandmother. It is one of the most beautiful turn of the century rugs I have ever seen - but alas too threadbare to use in our house anymore. However we still get to enjoy it's beauty every time we camp. 

Here's a broader view of our tent. We have old steamer and handmade wooden trunks doing double duty as seating and storage. I found vintage wood folding chairs with leather seats at the thrift store that are perfect at our "feasting" table. And don't forget the 50+  multicolored yarn tassels that I made to embellish our tent canopy. (link to tutorial below)

Our tent illuminated at night! I can't tell you how enchanting it feels when the dark descends upon us and candles & lanterns light up the entire campground.

These are tents of friends that we camp with. The yurt on the right was handmade by my friend Pixie and the tent on the far left was also handmade by our friends Nick & Robin.


Last but not least -  my boys love it when we go camping! 

If you ever have a chance to visit or camp at a SCA War event - don't hesitate. While it may not be your cup of tea to regularly participate in -  it's still a unique event to observe and experience!

Here's a great link to a tutorial for tassels. I just replaced the embroidery floss with yarn.
http://sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/386-how-to-make-a-tassel

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thrift Store Thursdays!

I love a good thrift store! And there's a few that I haunt on Thursday mornings while my boys are in school. This week I've been trying to find storage solutions for my bathroom counter. I wanted to find something for my toothbrushes, hair accessories and various toiletries. Check out below and see what items I scored and then "revamped" to fit my needs.
 

I already had the shabby looking soap holder - but was excited to find this matching gold ceramic swan! It had the perfect patina with bits of pink and green paint showing through (matching the colors of my art deco bathroom). The swan was originally used as a planter with fake flowers, but I took out the green floral foam and gave it a good scrub. It fit my face lotions and toners exactly. I also found the vintage Avon pink powder puff. Exactly what I needed for a pop of color. The little clothespin doll my son Quinn gave me for Christmas last year. He personally picked it out at his school's Christmas fair.

Now to solve the storage problem of my toothbrushes and hair accessories! There was this little piece of sparkly something shoved behind a bunch of ceramic cups. I made a grab for it and was thrilled when I found it was a 1950s lipstick holder! We have four people in our family and the toothbrushes fit snugly into this beautiful piece covered in jewels and rhinestones.
Last but not least I found this very colorful tin that was large enough to store my hair accessories.

I can't wait to see what I find next Thursday!