modern thrifter

modern thrifter

Thrifter & designer. Blogging about life in our MCM home & living on a budget. I also design things with my husband. You can see our work at The Mahoney Studio

TURTLE SHELL HIDEOUT
You may have already seen some of the photos of the turtle costumes I made for Halloween this year, but you might not know the back story yet. Tula had her heart set on being a Powerpuff Girl for about six months. Then one day in the car she said, “Mom, I think I’d rather be a turtle for Halloween so that I can hide in my shell and eat candy.” 
Brilliant! How could I say no to such a fantastic idea? I only wish I would have thought of it when I was a kid. After hearing her plan, Alden quickly abandoned his costume idea and wanted his own turtle shell candy hideout. 
I love a good challenge when it comes to costumes—not in regards to sewing, but more in the cardboard construction arena. After spending so much time making their turtle costumes though, I was sort of burned out on them, and didn’t really want to have to edit the photos to show how they were created. But then last week I received the news that I had won third place in Seattle Goodwill’s annual costume contest! 
So, $100 Goodwill gift card to me, and a behind the scenes costume post for you. Nothing like a little cash to motivate me.

I had originally thought of constructing the shells out of paper mache, but I really loathe the mess and the lengthy dry time, so I instead wove long strips of cardboard into the domed shape and secured each joint with a generous amount of hot glue.

The challenge was to make the shells big enough that the kids could actually fit all the way inside. After getting the overall size and structure right, I went back and added more cardboard strips for strength.

I didn’t have a pattern for the fleece suits, I just based them loosely on some of the kids’ sweatshirts and pants. I didn’t really get the fit right on Alden’s pants, and if you could see them without the shirt, you’d think they were something right out of Three’s Company. 
The tummies of the shells were covered with fleece and I wrapped the tops with some vinyl I picked up in the clearance section at the fabric store. Again, there was copious amounts of hot glue used, and several burned fingertips.
After the shells were covered, I used painters tape to mask off a hexagonal pattern which I then painted with gold acrylic paint.

There are a few details that are hard to see in the photos, and I have no plans to drag these back out to take more pictures, so I’ll do my best to describe them. The sleeves had circles (lined with interfacing for structure) sewn onto the ends to close them so that they would look more like actual turtle feet. The seams were cut just above the wrists so that the kids could pop their hands out and hold their treat bags. I also stitched boning at the bottoms of the pant legs to keep them in nice big hoops around their shoes. 
The openings of the shell were big enough that the kids could slip them on and off, which helped a lot while we were trick-or-treating. I put straps inside at the shoulders, too, which made them a little more comfortable to wear.
The kids were really hoping to keep their costumes, but there is nowhere to store two giant turtle shells. So, I’m thinking about posting them on Craigslist. My materials weren’t that expensive this year, but it would be nice to recoup the cost, and it would be fun to share these with other kids.
I have to say, between the $100 gift card, and the chance to see my kids live out their dream of gorging on chocolate while hiding in a turtle shell, it was all totally worth it.

TURTLE SHELL HIDEOUT

You may have already seen some of the photos of the turtle costumes I made for Halloween this year, but you might not know the back story yet. Tula had her heart set on being a Powerpuff Girl for about six months. Then one day in the car she said, “Mom, I think I’d rather be a turtle for Halloween so that I can hide in my shell and eat candy.” 

Brilliant! How could I say no to such a fantastic idea? I only wish I would have thought of it when I was a kid. After hearing her plan, Alden quickly abandoned his costume idea and wanted his own turtle shell candy hideout. 

I love a good challenge when it comes to costumes—not in regards to sewing, but more in the cardboard construction arena. After spending so much time making their turtle costumes though, I was sort of burned out on them, and didn’t really want to have to edit the photos to show how they were created. But then last week I received the news that I had won third place in Seattle Goodwill’s annual costume contest! 

So, $100 Goodwill gift card to me, and a behind the scenes costume post for you. Nothing like a little cash to motivate me.

I had originally thought of constructing the shells out of paper mache, but I really loathe the mess and the lengthy dry time, so I instead wove long strips of cardboard into the domed shape and secured each joint with a generous amount of hot glue.

The challenge was to make the shells big enough that the kids could actually fit all the way inside. After getting the overall size and structure right, I went back and added more cardboard strips for strength.

I didn’t have a pattern for the fleece suits, I just based them loosely on some of the kids’ sweatshirts and pants. I didn’t really get the fit right on Alden’s pants, and if you could see them without the shirt, you’d think they were something right out of Three’s Company. 

The tummies of the shells were covered with fleece and I wrapped the tops with some vinyl I picked up in the clearance section at the fabric store. Again, there was copious amounts of hot glue used, and several burned fingertips.

After the shells were covered, I used painters tape to mask off a hexagonal pattern which I then painted with gold acrylic paint.

There are a few details that are hard to see in the photos, and I have no plans to drag these back out to take more pictures, so I’ll do my best to describe them. The sleeves had circles (lined with interfacing for structure) sewn onto the ends to close them so that they would look more like actual turtle feet. The seams were cut just above the wrists so that the kids could pop their hands out and hold their treat bags. I also stitched boning at the bottoms of the pant legs to keep them in nice big hoops around their shoes. 

The openings of the shell were big enough that the kids could slip them on and off, which helped a lot while we were trick-or-treating. I put straps inside at the shoulders, too, which made them a little more comfortable to wear.

The kids were really hoping to keep their costumes, but there is nowhere to store two giant turtle shells. So, I’m thinking about posting them on Craigslist. My materials weren’t that expensive this year, but it would be nice to recoup the cost, and it would be fun to share these with other kids.

I have to say, between the $100 gift card, and the chance to see my kids live out their dream of gorging on chocolate while hiding in a turtle shell, it was all totally worth it.

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VINTAGE CHRISTMAS
Last week I thrifted this very fun macrame Christmas tree. I’ve already picked the perfect spot to hang it, but I’m making myself wait until after Thanksgiving to put it up.
I’m an early up, early down kind of decorator when it comes to Christmas. We like to get our tree Thanksgiving weekend, and I love to deck the halls right after the leftover turkey is in the refrigerator. But I can’t wait to pack it all up by about December 27th.
Is anyone else getting excited to pull out their Christmas stuff? 

VINTAGE CHRISTMAS

Last week I thrifted this very fun macrame Christmas tree. I’ve already picked the perfect spot to hang it, but I’m making myself wait until after Thanksgiving to put it up.

I’m an early up, early down kind of decorator when it comes to Christmas. We like to get our tree Thanksgiving weekend, and I love to deck the halls right after the leftover turkey is in the refrigerator. But I can’t wait to pack it all up by about December 27th.

Is anyone else getting excited to pull out their Christmas stuff? 

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A TASTE OF MID-CENTURY ECLECTIC
I have the privilege of being this week’s Taste Setter guest pinner. I’ll be sharing my take on the theme "A Taste of Mid-Century Eclectic" over on their Pinterest board. 
Also, In anticipation of their first themed flash sale this Sunday, Taste Setters is giving away a pair of Sanpei Yamanaka kokeshi dolls. Enter here to win.

Taste Setters was born in 2013 among six shop owners and friends, spread across the US and Canada, who share a passion for mid-20th century design. Taste Setters is defined by a team of dedicated researchers providing buyers with historically appropriate, distinctive decor. The mission of Taste Setters is to offer you fresh and iconic designs that celebrate and inspire.
Photo Sources: 1. DWELL 2. Home Adore 3. iiiinspired  4. The Nest 5. Mi Casa 6. Adelto

A TASTE OF MID-CENTURY ECLECTIC

I have the privilege of being this week’s Taste Setter guest pinner. I’ll be sharing my take on the theme "A Taste of Mid-Century Eclectic" over on their Pinterest board

Also, In anticipation of their first themed flash sale this Sunday, Taste Setters is giving away a pair of Sanpei Yamanaka kokeshi dolls. Enter here to win.

Taste Setters was born in 2013 among six shop owners and friends, spread across the US and Canada, who share a passion for mid-20th century design. Taste Setters is defined by a team of dedicated researchers providing buyers with historically appropriate, distinctive decor. The mission of Taste Setters is to offer you fresh and iconic designs that celebrate and inspire.

Photo Sources: 1. DWELL 2. Home Adore 3. iiiinspired  4. The Nest 5. Mi Casa 6. Adelto

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WEEKEND IN PICTURES - COZY OCTOBER
The kids are finally old enough to do the bulk of the work on pumpkin carving night.

The finished turtle costumes (more details on how I made them coming later this week) on route to the fall festival at our church.

Homemade miniature chicken pot pies and a warm fire made for a super cozy Sunday. Patrick and Alden spent some time working outside, too. 

WEEKEND IN PICTURES - COZY OCTOBER

The kids are finally old enough to do the bulk of the work on pumpkin carving night.

The finished turtle costumes (more details on how I made them coming later this week) on route to the fall festival at our church.

Homemade miniature chicken pot pies and a warm fire made for a super cozy Sunday. Patrick and Alden spent some time working outside, too. 

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HOMEMADE HALLOWEEN: LAST YEAR

I have been knee deep in cardboard, hot glue, and fleece for the past two weeks, which can only mean one thing: costume time. I’ve been trying to document my process a little better this year, and you may have seen some previews on Instagram recently. I will share the kids’ final costumes as soon as I put the finishing touches on them. 

In the meantime, I realized that I never shared their costumes from last year. Tula chose to be the tooth fairy, and Alden wanted to be a pirate. Two pretty straightforward costumes for once. 

For Alden, I used an old rain jacket that I embellished with gold buttons and some fancy upholstery trim. I hacked up a thrifted blouse and made ruffles out of the gathered sleeve cuffs. I couldn’t find solid black boots at the thrift store, but I did find a black pair with a yellow stripe at the top and around the sole, so I covered the stripes with electrical tape.Thrifted belts worked great for the shoulder and waist straps, and of course we finished it off with a classic tinfoil and cardboard sword. The hat, earring, and eye patch were bought from Goodwill’s halloween section, and the hook was borrowed from a friend. 

While Alden’s costume was mostly comprised of thrifted pieces, Tula’s costume was made almost completely from the fabric store. She really wanted to be involved in the designing of her dress, so she picked out a lot of the fabric. We used this simple tutu tutorial for the skirt section of the dress. The only part of the costume that we didn’t make were the wings, which in my opinion, are totally worth buying. I found these ones at Goodwill for $1. In the past we have tried to keep them on with elastic arm bands, but they never really stay where they are supposed to, so this time I sewed them right onto the back of the dress.

Is anyone else working on costumes right now? I’m guessing I’m not the only person with hot glue blisters on my fingers this time of year.

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SUNSET & SCOOPS
I can’t believe that I haven’t shared this yet. I know it’s already fall, and we’re all thinking about pumpkin everything, but back in August Patrick and I threw an end-of-summer ice cream party for a bunch of our friends. 
Do you see that flavor list? We had Ice Cream Social, one of our favorite clients, come up from Tacoma to serve their delicious made-from-scratch ice cream, and I got to choose all of the flavors. I seriously wanted to eat all of them, but as it turns out, I discovered this summer that I am allergic to whey, so thankfully they make a delicious dairy-free chocolate coconut. 

The weather the day before the party was beyond awful. I think it rained over an inch and the space we had reserved was completely uncovered. Surprisingly, we woke up the day of the party to glorious sunshine, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening. 
We had live bluegrass music, happy, sticky children everywhere, and a breathtaking view of the sun setting over the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. I’m already thinking this should be an annual event.

SUNSET & SCOOPS

I can’t believe that I haven’t shared this yet. I know it’s already fall, and we’re all thinking about pumpkin everything, but back in August Patrick and I threw an end-of-summer ice cream party for a bunch of our friends. 

Do you see that flavor list? We had Ice Cream Social, one of our favorite clients, come up from Tacoma to serve their delicious made-from-scratch ice cream, and I got to choose all of the flavors. I seriously wanted to eat all of them, but as it turns out, I discovered this summer that I am allergic to whey, so thankfully they make a delicious dairy-free chocolate coconut. 

The weather the day before the party was beyond awful. I think it rained over an inch and the space we had reserved was completely uncovered. Surprisingly, we woke up the day of the party to glorious sunshine, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening. 

We had live bluegrass music, happy, sticky children everywhere, and a breathtaking view of the sun setting over the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. I’m already thinking this should be an annual event.

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INSTAGRAM
I’m a little late to the game on this. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’ve had an Instagram account for a couple of years, but I’ve kept it private since I take a ton of pictures of my kids.
Balancing my blog and my private life is always a bit tricky, and there is obviously a fair amount of crossover, but I wondered how many pictures of thrifted dinner plates/vases/tables did my friends and family really want to see. Likewise, sharing my daughter’s preschool graduation photos with the whole world seemed a bit intrusive to her.
I finally switched over the name of my original account so that I could start a public Modern Thrifter Instagram account to share my thrift finds, home projects, and design-related photos. I hope you’ll join me there.

INSTAGRAM

I’m a little late to the game on this. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’ve had an Instagram account for a couple of years, but I’ve kept it private since I take a ton of pictures of my kids.

Balancing my blog and my private life is always a bit tricky, and there is obviously a fair amount of crossover, but I wondered how many pictures of thrifted dinner plates/vases/tables did my friends and family really want to see. Likewise, sharing my daughter’s preschool graduation photos with the whole world seemed a bit intrusive to her.

I finally switched over the name of my original account so that I could start a public Modern Thrifter Instagram account to share my thrift finds, home projects, and design-related photos. I hope you’ll join me there.

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WEEKEND IN PICTURES
Last of the tomatoes from the garden.
First big storm of fall. And sadly, a leaky chimney.

New Mighty O Donuts shirts for the kids (a gift from their grandparents), and a hand-me-down wool sweater for Patrick from his great-uncle. 


Date night at an out-of-the-way, unpretentious spot. We brought board games and drank coffee, and were surprised to discover there was a live jazz band all night with a lot of dancing happening by the seniors in the room. It was fantastic.

WEEKEND IN PICTURES

Last of the tomatoes from the garden.

First big storm of fall. And sadly, a leaky chimney.

New Mighty O Donuts shirts for the kids (a gift from their grandparents), and a hand-me-down wool sweater for Patrick from his great-uncle. 

Date night at an out-of-the-way, unpretentious spot. We brought board games and drank coffee, and were surprised to discover there was a live jazz band all night with a lot of dancing happening by the seniors in the room. It was fantastic.

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ALDEN’S SHOW

All this month Alden has had his art up at Mighty O Donuts in the Greenlake/Tangletown neighborhood. He worked really hard this summer putting nine pieces together, and in the end I think they all turned out pretty great. In fact, he’s sold all but two of them so far! 

It has been a great experience for him, and we are so grateful to the folks at Mighty O for giving him such an amazing opportunity. They did a little interview with him over on their blog, too. The show will be up through this weekend, so stop in for a donut and take a peek if you are in the area.

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ORGANIZED
We are one week into school, and I’m trying my best to keep the kids’ school papers, backpacks, lunch boxes, and all the other thousands of little school related things organized. Last year we implemented a wall filing system in the kitchen for the papers, but inevitably everything else would end up strewn about in two or three rooms everyday.
This little spot is in our family room and it’s still a work in progress, but so far, I’m happy with the way it’s been functioning. We built it mostly out of things we already owned.
The bookshelf was in the family room already, but it was flipped on its side. It holds books and a few toys, but the bottom two cubbies have buckets with the kids’ shoes. 
We’ve had an extra Lack shelf, that was given to us, stored in the closet for years. We mounted it flush between the shelf and the wall to give it a little more of a “built-in” look.
I bought two Variera boxes from Ikea (mine are solid white, which I can no longer seem to find on their website) to hold hats and gloves. The globe is an old thrifted one with terribly outdated countries, but I still like the way it looks.
The Enudden hooks were also a new purchase from Ikea. I love the all of the hooks and shelves in the Enudden collection and I’d love to get a few more things for around the house. 
Eventually, I’d like to build in a bench seat so that their rain boots could fit underneath, but for now we are using two of the beanbag stools that we scored off of Craigslist. I’m also thinking of lowering the floating shelf a little so they can reach the bins a little better and adding one more shelf above that would be even with the top of the bookshelf.

ORGANIZED

We are one week into school, and I’m trying my best to keep the kids’ school papers, backpacks, lunch boxes, and all the other thousands of little school related things organized. Last year we implemented a wall filing system in the kitchen for the papers, but inevitably everything else would end up strewn about in two or three rooms everyday.

This little spot is in our family room and it’s still a work in progress, but so far, I’m happy with the way it’s been functioning. We built it mostly out of things we already owned.

The bookshelf was in the family room already, but it was flipped on its side. It holds books and a few toys, but the bottom two cubbies have buckets with the kids’ shoes. 

We’ve had an extra Lack shelf, that was given to us, stored in the closet for years. We mounted it flush between the shelf and the wall to give it a little more of a “built-in” look.

I bought two Variera boxes from Ikea (mine are solid white, which I can no longer seem to find on their website) to hold hats and gloves. The globe is an old thrifted one with terribly outdated countries, but I still like the way it looks.

The Enudden hooks were also a new purchase from Ikea. I love the all of the hooks and shelves in the Enudden collection and I’d love to get a few more things for around the house. 

Eventually, I’d like to build in a bench seat so that their rain boots could fit underneath, but for now we are using two of the beanbag stools that we scored off of Craigslist. I’m also thinking of lowering the floating shelf a little so they can reach the bins a little better and adding one more shelf above that would be even with the top of the bookshelf.

Comments