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

TEN MINUTE WREATH PROJECT
Things have been unusually calm this Christmas season so far. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I’m setting the bar super low for holiday craft projects. In past years I would have started nearly a dozen random projects by now. 
Last year, for example, I carved a linoleum block to print my own wrapping paper, made three different types of ornaments, sewed A-frame tents for each of the kids, baked ten dozen cookies for a school fund-raiser, burned myself out and ended up with the flu two days before Christmas.
I didn’t intentionally limit myself this year, I simply haven’t felt as inspired or energetic. The only real project I’ve done so far has been this wreath that took all of ten minutes. I picked up the metal frame at the thrift store for $2, clipped some holly from a tree in front of our house, and tied on a simple bow from a spool of thrifted ribbon. Done. 

Fewer projects has meant more time to enjoy my family and I get to be a more pleasant person to be around this Christmas. 

TEN MINUTE WREATH PROJECT

Things have been unusually calm this Christmas season so far. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I’m setting the bar super low for holiday craft projects. In past years I would have started nearly a dozen random projects by now. 

Last year, for example, I carved a linoleum block to print my own wrapping paper, made three different types of ornaments, sewed A-frame tents for each of the kids, baked ten dozen cookies for a school fund-raiser, burned myself out and ended up with the flu two days before Christmas.

I didn’t intentionally limit myself this year, I simply haven’t felt as inspired or energetic. The only real project I’ve done so far has been this wreath that took all of ten minutes. I picked up the metal frame at the thrift store for $2, clipped some holly from a tree in front of our house, and tied on a simple bow from a spool of thrifted ribbon. Done. 

Fewer projects has meant more time to enjoy my family and I get to be a more pleasant person to be around this Christmas. 

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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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[ HAUL OUT THE HOLLY ]
I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting all week to pull out all the Christmas decorations. We always cut our own real tree, and typically we get it Thanksgiving weekend. Since there is an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, we decided to hold off until this weekend to avoid a dead tree by the big day. Tomorrow is the day, and we’re all pretty excited around here to deck the halls.
I thrifted this sweet little santa this morning for a whopping 30¢.  He was made in East Germany, or “Germany East” as it says on the bottom, and the condition is amazing. He’ll be a welcome addition to our decorations.

[ HAUL OUT THE HOLLY ]

I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting all week to pull out all the Christmas decorations. We always cut our own real tree, and typically we get it Thanksgiving weekend. Since there is an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, we decided to hold off until this weekend to avoid a dead tree by the big day. Tomorrow is the day, and we’re all pretty excited around here to deck the halls.

I thrifted this sweet little santa this morning for a whopping 30¢.  He was made in East Germany, or “Germany East” as it says on the bottom, and the condition is amazing. He’ll be a welcome addition to our decorations.

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[ THRIFT WRAP ]
Yes, I’m one of those crazy meticulous people who like to have all of the wrapping paper coordinated under the tree, but the cost of fancy wrapping paper and trim can add up quickly. This year I came up with some inexpensive gift wrap—thrift wrap, if you will—that I think looks pretty great.

Here’s what I bought:
5 yards of kraft paper in both brown and white from Paper Zone; $3 total
15 doilies (red and cream) at the thrift store; 75¢ for all
Giant spool of bakers twine (this thing will last for years to come); $10
1 sheet of scrapbook paper that I cut into gift tags; $1
Grand Total: $14.75 (and most of that was the twine, but seriously, I plan to use this for quite a while)

[ THRIFT WRAP ]

Yes, I’m one of those crazy meticulous people who like to have all of the wrapping paper coordinated under the tree, but the cost of fancy wrapping paper and trim can add up quickly. This year I came up with some inexpensive gift wrap—thrift wrap, if you will—that I think looks pretty great.

Here’s what I bought:

5 yards of kraft paper in both brown and white from Paper Zone; $3 total

15 doilies (red and cream) at the thrift store; 75¢ for all

Giant spool of bakers twine (this thing will last for years to come); $10

1 sheet of scrapbook paper that I cut into gift tags; $1

Grand Total: $14.75 (and most of that was the twine, but seriously, I plan to use this for quite a while)

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[ GARLAND ALTERNATIVE ]
I have been wanting to trim my tree with wool felt garland (like this) for at least the last three Christmases. I’ve looked into buying it and making it, but neither option is very affordable, and I just can’t justify spending that kind of money on trim. 

An idea occurred to me while I was at the fabric store picking up some halloween costume supplies— red pom pom yarn! While it’s not an exact replacement for the wool felt, it still has a similar feel. I paid $6 for 50 yards of "Pomp-a-Doodle" yarn (enough for two trees!). Compare that to $15 for 8 feet of felt ball garland at west elm, or $38 for 15 feet on Etsy, and I think I found a pretty good deal.

[ GARLAND ALTERNATIVE ]

I have been wanting to trim my tree with wool felt garland (like this) for at least the last three Christmases. I’ve looked into buying it and making it, but neither option is very affordable, and I just can’t justify spending that kind of money on trim. 

An idea occurred to me while I was at the fabric store picking up some halloween costume supplies— red pom pom yarn! While it’s not an exact replacement for the wool felt, it still has a similar feel. I paid $6 for 50 yards of "Pomp-a-Doodle" yarn (enough for two trees!). Compare that to $15 for 8 feet of felt ball garland at west elm, or $38 for 15 feet on Etsy, and I think I found a pretty good deal.

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[ MERRY CHRISTMAS ]
It’s almost Christmas, and I promise this is my last holiday post of the year. I just wanted to share a few last pictures and thrifty Christmas decorating ideas. Remember these vintage wood coasters? I think they look great on the tree. 

I also threw together some quick ornaments and a super fast mod tree topper. The ornaments were derived from a project that my sister was trying to describe over the phone. I think mine turned out different than hers, but same basic concept. I used craft picks (like long flat toothpicks) that the kids and I painted green, and glued them to a wood disc (they’re actually pieces from a game we picked up at Goodwill called Bottle Tops that we never play). Lastly, I glued large sequins (99¢ for a bag at the craft store) to the ends of every other stick. The star tree-topper is just rolled up pieces of the vintage wrapping paper I bought last summer, sandwiched between two more bottle tops.

Yes… that is another tree. We went out to a tree farm this year to cut our own tree and decided to get a little one for the kids’ playroom. Patrick and I both have collections of ornaments from our childhood, and our kids each get an ornament every year from my in-laws, so it was easy to fill up a second tree. I know, it’s a little overkill, but we really love Christmas.
I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!

[ MERRY CHRISTMAS ]

It’s almost Christmas, and I promise this is my last holiday post of the year. I just wanted to share a few last pictures and thrifty Christmas decorating ideas. Remember these vintage wood coasters? I think they look great on the tree. 

I also threw together some quick ornaments and a super fast mod tree topper. The ornaments were derived from a project that my sister was trying to describe over the phone. I think mine turned out different than hers, but same basic concept. I used craft picks (like long flat toothpicks) that the kids and I painted green, and glued them to a wood disc (they’re actually pieces from a game we picked up at Goodwill called Bottle Tops that we never play). Lastly, I glued large sequins (99¢ for a bag at the craft store) to the ends of every other stick. The star tree-topper is just rolled up pieces of the vintage wrapping paper I bought last summer, sandwiched between two more bottle tops.

Yes… that is another tree. We went out to a tree farm this year to cut our own tree and decided to get a little one for the kids’ playroom. Patrick and I both have collections of ornaments from our childhood, and our kids each get an ornament every year from my in-laws, so it was easy to fill up a second tree. I know, it’s a little overkill, but we really love Christmas.

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!

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[ DISPLAYING CARDS ]
Every year I try to display the Christmas cards we receive in some other fashion besides haphazardly taping them on a door or sticking them to the refrigerator with magnets—I usually fail. This year I scoured the web trying to come up with modern way to accomplish this seemingly insurmountable task, but didn’t find much beyond the hang-over-the-door suggestion. Then it occurred to me that we have two fantastic wood panels mounted (and floating an inch from the wall) over the couch that would be a great spot.
I picked up some ribbon at Birch Paperie and the bulldog clips at Paper Zone. I was hoping to find the cute little circle paperclips to attach the cards, but I didn’t want to have this project get any more expensive, so I settled on a cheap box of butterfly clips from the office supply store.

The great thing is that I can keep reusing this system each Christmas… until we get sick of the boards, I suppose.

[ DISPLAYING CARDS ]

Every year I try to display the Christmas cards we receive in some other fashion besides haphazardly taping them on a door or sticking them to the refrigerator with magnets—I usually fail. This year I scoured the web trying to come up with modern way to accomplish this seemingly insurmountable task, but didn’t find much beyond the hang-over-the-door suggestion. Then it occurred to me that we have two fantastic wood panels mounted (and floating an inch from the wall) over the couch that would be a great spot.

I picked up some ribbon at Birch Paperie and the bulldog clips at Paper Zone. I was hoping to find the cute little circle paperclips to attach the cards, but I didn’t want to have this project get any more expensive, so I settled on a cheap box of butterfly clips from the office supply store.

The great thing is that I can keep reusing this system each Christmas… until we get sick of the boards, I suppose.

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[ 2010 FAMILY CHRISTMAS CARD ]
I was thrilled to find that our cards came a day earlier than expected, so I spent Monday evening thumbing through my address book and licking envelopes. We might have even set a personal record this year for the earliest we’ve ever dropped our cards in the mail (sad, I know).
This year we made our family into a little paper doll set. I know most people probably won’t spend the time required to cut them out and assemble them, but we’ve been having fun with them. We made the front panel of the card work as a stand-alone piece, so it can be cut off and hung up with the rest of the cards without having the paper scraps hanging off the back.

We had to order something like a million of them as a minimum order, so the kids have been coloring and embellishing them. I’ve also been cutting a few of the “Merry Christmas” banners out and using them as tags on gifts. What do you think?  Would you cut them out and put them together if you received it?

[ 2010 FAMILY CHRISTMAS CARD ]

I was thrilled to find that our cards came a day earlier than expected, so I spent Monday evening thumbing through my address book and licking envelopes. We might have even set a personal record this year for the earliest we’ve ever dropped our cards in the mail (sad, I know).

This year we made our family into a little paper doll set. I know most people probably won’t spend the time required to cut them out and assemble them, but we’ve been having fun with them. We made the front panel of the card work as a stand-alone piece, so it can be cut off and hung up with the rest of the cards without having the paper scraps hanging off the back.

We had to order something like a million of them as a minimum order, so the kids have been coloring and embellishing them. I’ve also been cutting a few of the “Merry Christmas” banners out and using them as tags on gifts. What do you think?  Would you cut them out and put them together if you received it?

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[ THRIFTY TOYS ] 
There have been a lot of good conversations this year about giving gifts from the thrift store. If you’d like to sound off on the issue, there are some great spots where you can do so. If buying thrifted gifts isn’t something that you’ve considered before, you should read this article. Then let me show you some of the great toys we’ve purchased for our kids over the years at thrift stores.
Wooden Toys (pictured above):
I found a pretty good sized collection of Plan wooden dollhouse furniture (several more pieces that aren’t pictured), and I think for all of it together I payed under $5. Plan toys are really good quality, and have great resale value for when the kids have outgrown them.
The wooden push toy is an Ikea toy, so it probably didn’t cost that much originally, but we bought it for $1.99 in pretty new condition. 
We already had a few Automoblox that we purchased new, but this one was found at a garage sale by my father-in-law in a $1 bag of cars.

Games:
Sure, you can almost always find an old chess set, Operation, and Clue on the shelves, but look at some of the higher quality games we’ve found. I always scan the shelves for Ravensburger games. Their thick boards and clever game play make them instant classics that can be played for years to come. 
The Eeboo matching game is one that I picked up for Tula’s third birthday for $2.99. The illustrations are so sweet, and the cardboard tiles are thick enough to withstand a preschooler’s frustration about losing… ahem, not that my sweet girl would ever throw anything when she loses.
This Christmas we will be giving the kids Haba’s Pete the Pirate game that we purchased at Goodwill’s 99¢ toy sale (which goes for the entire month of December). The pieces to this game are adorable, and I can’t wait to play it with them.

Plush Toys:
The ugly dolls actually came from a garage sale, but that doesn’t make them any less thrifty. We bought them for 50¢ each, which is a total steal! The stitching on the mouth of the gray monster has started to come off. It’s an easy fix, I just haven’t gotten to it yet. 
Malfi, from Friends with You toys, was $2 at Goodwill. The kids don’t play with him all that much, but we like having him around. It’s probably a good thing that they don’t throw him around like they do with their other stuffed animals because he’s weighted at the bottom and could easily break a window (or nose).

[ THRIFTY TOYS ]

There have been a lot of good conversations this year about giving gifts from the thrift store. If you’d like to sound off on the issue, there are some great spots where you can do so. If buying thrifted gifts isn’t something that you’ve considered before, you should read this article. Then let me show you some of the great toys we’ve purchased for our kids over the years at thrift stores.

Wooden Toys (pictured above):

I found a pretty good sized collection of Plan wooden dollhouse furniture (several more pieces that aren’t pictured), and I think for all of it together I payed under $5. Plan toys are really good quality, and have great resale value for when the kids have outgrown them.

The wooden push toy is an Ikea toy, so it probably didn’t cost that much originally, but we bought it for $1.99 in pretty new condition.

We already had a few Automoblox that we purchased new, but this one was found at a garage sale by my father-in-law in a $1 bag of cars.

Games:

Sure, you can almost always find an old chess set, Operation, and Clue on the shelves, but look at some of the higher quality games we’ve found. I always scan the shelves for Ravensburger games. Their thick boards and clever game play make them instant classics that can be played for years to come.

The Eeboo matching game is one that I picked up for Tula’s third birthday for $2.99. The illustrations are so sweet, and the cardboard tiles are thick enough to withstand a preschooler’s frustration about losing… ahem, not that my sweet girl would ever throw anything when she loses.

This Christmas we will be giving the kids Haba’s Pete the Pirate game that we purchased at Goodwill’s 99¢ toy sale (which goes for the entire month of December). The pieces to this game are adorable, and I can’t wait to play it with them.

Plush Toys:

The ugly dolls actually came from a garage sale, but that doesn’t make them any less thrifty. We bought them for 50¢ each, which is a total steal! The stitching on the mouth of the gray monster has started to come off. It’s an easy fix, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

Malfi, from Friends with You toys, was $2 at Goodwill. The kids don’t play with him all that much, but we like having him around. It’s probably a good thing that they don’t throw him around like they do with their other stuffed animals because he’s weighted at the bottom and could easily break a window (or nose).

Comments