Category Archives: Thrifting

Phoenix is being very shelf-ish

It’s an age-old conundrum – once you are seeking something specific, you cannot find it.  The universe hides it from you (or something).  Well universe I need a set of shelves for my kitchen and you can stop playing around now, okay!

Here’s what I’m blabbering about:


Why leave such a random hole in such a random place.  Run the counter top to the corner.  Put in a few more cabinets. You’re killing me Smalls.

What’s really killing me is Craigslist.  I think I may have taken St. Louis offerings for granted but the general style in Phoenix seems to be too much money, not enough good taste.


Above is what I have been finding when I search “baker’s rack” on Craigslist Phoenix.  Not quite our style here at Living Analog.

So, like my “Dreaming Of” post, I thought I’d be more proactive in this needle-in-a-haystack search and tell you guys what I am looking for.  For starters something like this gorgeous industrial bakers rack via Hudson Goods.  This one was listed for $1089 . . . .


Or the amazing Decker Bookcase from Anthropologie at a mere $798 . . .


And one runner-up – the Emerson Bookcase from World Market as styled and lived with by the lovely Jones Design Company.  Getting better on price at $349 but still too wide for my weird little space.


I did find something to buy on Craigslist under my search term “shelves” . . .


Really stunning but at $850 and with nowhere to put it, someone else is going to have to buy this beauty. (Pretty please and let me visit it.  Thanks.)

So that’s what I’m searching for.  A three-foot wide set of shelves that is maybe around seven-foot tall.  With glass or metal or wood or whatever combination of those makes sense.  I know it’s out there and I’m going to keep on keeping on until I find it.  What are you searching for?  Any particular item that just eludes your grasp?  Let’s commiserate.  Cheers – CT

Marble makes everything better

Well I have picked up a few household goods on my thrifting expeditions.  When I was out at Goodwill and grabbed up the sandals, I also saw a little piece of marble looking for a new home.


For $2.99 I saw it and immediately formulated a plan.  How my brain can rationalize a purchase while I stand in the aisle of the thrift store and look at something is a special talent I appear to have honed.  At any rate, here’s the plan:  Cake stand makeover.


This one.  It has a dirty secret.


This poor little cake stand (a Pottery Barn wedding gift) was broken somewhere around the vicinity of 8 years ago.  I managed to glue it back together fairly cleanly, but the crack line was still visible.  So to hide it, I would use double-stick tape and cute scrapbook paper over the top to match whatever color scheme of whatever party/event I was using it at.  However this is not the most cleanly of uses for daily life.  Sub in marble for scrapbook paper and we have a much more permanent and beautiful solution.

The marble round had little ceramic feet attached to it which I vanquished in 5 minutes with the help of a heat gun and a scraper blade.


When I was standing in the aisle at Goodwill, I was thinking the marble trivet would probably be a tad larger than my cake stand but it turns out they are dead on the same size.


So far it is working out well and my little cake stand is really more of a produce stand.  There’s a place around the corner called “Summer’s Fruit Barn” that I visit usually at least twice a week.  The produce here in AZ is all so fresh and cheap, it’s great for a veg head like me.  Today’s tangerines looks so cheerful on their new (old but revamped) marble throne.

(Sorry for the tight shot here – there’s something going on back there that I’m saving for a later post . . . anticipation!)

Fashion (Turn to the left)

I am by no means, any means, a “fashionista”.  I am however, most definitely a thrifter.  I love the hunt and I can go hanger-by-hanger through miles of racks searching for that one piece of clothing that looks like it just might work for me.  (And then I try it on.  I try everything on.  Everything.)  Sometimes you have to dig . . .


So this is not a post about what is in fashion (whatever that means) but more a post about how I go about acquiring my “fashion” in a thrifty way.

1. Donate.  It seems counter-intuitive to give away clothes when you feel like you have nothing to wear but it’s good to clean out some closet space and edit out the things you’re not wearing.  I keep two bags in my closet (our new oversize walk-in closet, so the lap of luxury!) for quickly sorting items.  Bag #1 are clothing items that need to be recycled – things that are stained or torn beyond repair.  Bag #2 is a donate bag for things that don’t fit right and/or I just looked at 500 times and realized I will never wear it.  Probably because it doesn’t fit right.  And for me, that’s why the bags have to be IN the closet – I have a tendency to just drop something into the hamper that I wore and pulled at all day and/or felt uncomfortable in.  Who wants to feel self-conscious or uncomfortable in their clothes?  Not this girl.  (Then when the bag is full I give it a quick launder for good measure.) Donate it and get something you LOVE to wear.


Also, on my last trip to Saver’s, I got a 30% off coupon in exchange for my donation.  Another plus in the donation column.

2) Shop on discount days for higher savings.  In Phoenix, Goodwill has 50% off days two Saturdays a month and Saver’s has them for major holidays (like MLK Day.)  Get on the email lists of thrift stores near you and find out when the savings days are.  I received a 20% coupon to Goodwill for joining their email list.  But be prepared for the discount days to be hectic in there.  If you can’t deal with crowds, you’ll have to pay full (thrift store) price.  Not sure what thrift store are near you?  Check out The Thrift Shopper for a search by zip code directory.  You’re welcome.


(Note: I  am not crazy about how I look in this picture but it’s the only one we took and I’m trying to get over my camera phobia so here it is.)  This dress I found at the half off day at Goodwill and was only $2.  It’s the Inc. brand from Macy’s and I’m totally a blue girl so I knew I could accessorize it up.  I wore it out with JT when we went out for a belated 9-year wedding anniversary dinner a few weekends ago.

3) Know what you’re looking for.  Thrift stores can be overwhelming so go in with an idea (albeit loose) of what you are looking for.  I’ve targeted different ideas: cute layering sweater, loose hang-out-around-the-house-but-still-look-cute Tees, work-appropriate skirts or a new pair of sandals.  You get the drift.  And sometimes having multiple targets can help make your mission a success.  My favorite thing right now to buy at the thrifts is belts – they make a huge impact to an outfit for usually around $1.


Not sure how long navy blue and brass will be in style?  A $1 belt means you can be in on the trend and not be sad when it goes out again.  These are all belts I have found at the thrifts.  The black and natural one was at the Goodwill on Watson near Crestwood Mall (is it still Crestwood Mall?)  Goodwill actually gets a lot of Target items that have never been worn – this is one of those and it was more than $1 (I think I paid $4) but still way less than it would have been at Target.

4) Shop ahead.  The thrifts require digging and a little persistence.  If you have an event that evening, you’re probably not going to find what you need at the thrifts.  I’m anticipating that now that we live in Phoenix, I might want to add a few more sandals to the mix.  It doesn’t hurt to start looking in January!  I found these cute little Old Navy numbers at the Goodwill nearest our new house.  For $2 and looking brand new, I think they’ll do.  (I also tried them on to be sure.  Try everything on.  It’s a pain in the ass but it’s worth it.)


5) Get creative.  I had on my “to hunt” list a maxi dress – I’m anticipating hot weather in my future (duh it’s the desert) and so it seemed like something I might get some use out of.  On my trip to Saver’s during the 50% off MLK bonanza, I found something with potential but it wasn’t quite right . . . So I took a $4 chance and brought it home . . . 


Sorry for the weird, in-the-mirror selfies.  Fashion blogger I am not.  At any rate, I had checked it out in the store and it looked like the two small slinkies were removable so when I got it home, I pulled them off, recycled them (sorry slinkies) and accessorized the dress with my thrifted belt.  I have a feeling I will be wearing this a lot come June.

6) Check it over & try it on.  There’s a lot of sub-components to this one but here’s the gist – make sure it fits well everywhere.  Make sure there’s no stains, rips, missing buttons, etc.  Someone donated it for a reason, sometimes the reason is a stain or a weird stretched out part.  Thrift stores don’t have laundry facilities so be sure to fully launder and air out any purchases when you get home – don’t put it near the rest of your wardrobe until it’s been washed.

7) Know when to say no.   I’m still learning this one but sometimes you have to put the thrifted clothes back on the rack and call it a day.  And if you make it home with something that ends up not being the right fit, put it into the donate bag and start again with Step One.

So that’s been my life lately, digging in at the thrifts and coming home with a few gems. Do you have an all-time favorite thrifted piece of clothing? Mine was a full-length immaculate red wool coat that fit me like a glove but considering the high today could be in the low 80s, I might need to add it to the donate bag …. Happy (feisty) Friday! Cheers – CT

What is this?

Ideas for blog posts have been percolating in my head this last week, sentences forming and reshaping themselves, ideas growing new ideas.  The strangest part is what has emerged – future posts about fashion (gasp), beauty (double gasp) and health (WTF, I know).   But not to worry – today I wrote up a list of things to be done on the kitchen and guest room and we’ve been doing a few things to our outdoor living space as well.  So all is not lost.  I might even get extra crazy and do a video tour of the new house since I haven’t motivated myself to photograph the darn thing yet.

And I’m still out thrifting, I just haven’t brought home any furniture finds just yet (they’ve all been clothing related, hence the looming “fashion” post).  But I did find this guy on the curb in our new neighborhood with a “free” sign taped to his oblong forehead.


So I did the normal thing and dragged his concrete ass home.  Actually he doesn’t have an ass.  Love him or leave him?

(He’s really heavy too – solid built and has someone’s phone number written on the bottom.  867-5309.)

Vacation Finds Part 1

Hey everyone.  It is September and that is mind-boggling to me.  And also exciting because I like September, being the Libra, sapphire wearing girl that I am.

Something else mind-boggling AND exciting is one of my vacation finds.  (See how I transitioned there?  So awkward and great.  Yeah.)  At any rate, back in July I was dreaming of many things and one of them was a vintage tri-fold vanity mirror.  At the beginning of our week off from work, I grabbed JT and towed him along with me to the Green Shag Market.  There in one of the corner booths almost immediately upon entering was my vintage tri-fold vanity mirror.  And the price tag said (only) $22!


Something about the crazy light in my eyes or the way I clutched at the mirror tipped JT off to the fact that I intended to purchase this thing, stat.  He immediately carried it up to the front desk so I could finish making my rounds.  There were a few other things that caught my eye but in the end we only left with the mirror.  Once I showed JT my now-prophetic post with such a similar image of a tri-fold mirror did he understand the insanity he had just been witness to.

And now it’s home, living on my dressing table in our bedroom.  I had this paper lantern light fixture hanging out in the basement of shame.  I’m pretty sure I bought it at Pier One in high school to decorate my peach, pink, green and teal awesomeness of a bedroom.


Still need to hem those curtains though!  Also I’ll probably work on getting the cord rigged up a little better and probably painting the part that shows up against the grey wall.

Methinks I need a cuter alarm clock — any ideas?


The little lightning bolt on the desk I found on the ground in front of the Green Shag on my first visit there.  Since then I have found one other random lightening bolt in the parking lot on my way to work (it’s red vinyl).  I think they keep showing up like little love letters from Elvis, king of TCB and lightening bolts.

This week on Mister Modtomic I am rounding up Panton S chairs.  Wouldn’t one of those look nice at my dressing table?  I do love my little lucite and white vinyl stool though.  And seriously, any suggestions on a working alarm clock that would round out my vignette is much appreciated (and preferably not one I have to wind every day.)  Cheers – CT

Hittin’ the Thrifts

Hey everyone!  JT and I took the last week off work and made a quick jaunt up to the Twin Cities and back.  That may not be considered the world’s most glamorous destinations but we’ve been enjoying ourselves.  The only thing I’ve used my smart phone for these last few days is navigating around the cornfields of Iowa and so it’s nice to be back at the keyboard again.  I thought I’d fill you in a little on what we’ve been up to.

First thing first (this girl has her priorities in order!) – thrifting!  I set a goal for myself of visiting a thrift/junk or antique store every day of our vacation and so far I have done just that — even if it meant a few (only slightly) dangerous driving maneuvers when I’d spot a sign along the side of the highway and holler for JT to pull over.   I haven’t always bought things though — I found the offerings of rural Iowa and Minnesota a little different from what I am used to (and perhaps a little spoiled by) in STL.

Here’s something I did drag home last weekend before we began our road trip — a piece of granite demoed out of someone’s kitchen and broken up to be disposed of at the Des Peres Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Granite centerpiece

Since the tulip table is white and a lot of my serving ware is white, things were starting to get a little too monochromatic for my liking.  I stuck some felt feet on this slab, and threw together a little vignette that has been gracing our dining table ever since.   I like the rugged edges on the granite – it provides a nice contrast to all the smooth white ceramics.  I’m working on putting together a round-up post of all my thrift scores but really we’re still on vacation so there still may be a few more things to find in the next few days . . .

The other thing we’ve been hard at work on is the back porch and then the back deck that extends off of it.  There is a bazillion more pictures and stories and budget breakdowns and furniture finds and other things that go into this one — more for me to work on . . . after vacation!  I also have to get caught back on my Style Cure.  I foresee a late finish for us . . . I figure a late finish is better than no finish at all!

Have a great Labor Day holiday!  Maybe I’ll see you at the pool.  After all, I’m on vacation!  Who am I kidding, I’m much more likely to be swimming around in one of those big bins at the Goodwill by the Pound than a pool.  Cheers – CT

Not the Momma! (Moma)

At our house growing up we used to watch the show “Dinosaurs” and all I really remember is the baby dinosaur (whose mischevious antics reminded us of our own baby of the family) beating the dad dinosaur on the head and saying “Not the momma!”  Like so:

In this case instead of “Not the Momma!” I’m angling towards “Not the Moma!” – as in the New York Museum of Modern Art.  Here’s the back story after that painful transition — JT and I decided to check out a new Savers that opened up in Crestwood a few weeks back.  I was strolling the art aisle when I saw an interesting piece that had a nice plexiglass wrapped frame.  I flipped it over to see the price and was struck by this:


A MOMA sticker?  In the Savers store in Crestwood, Missouri?  For $5, a cool acrylic frame, an interesting composition on the other side and the mystery of a MOMA sticker, we paid up and scampered out.  There were some screws holding the whole assembly together so we got home, cued up the Elvis Costello and began playing history detectives.


According to the sticker and our friend Wikipedia, this is what the front should be.


A gold chloride toned print by the French photographer Eugene Atget.  However Wikipedia also told me that this is also in the Yale University Art Gallery.  I guess that could refer to just the original and maybe there are prints out there.  However,  New Haven is a long way from STL so . . . here’s what was paired up with the MOMA tag:


I’m not good with art terms but it appears to be an assembled paper and ink/paint piece.  The mystery deepens — when I turned this piece over, there was some writing on the back:


“Ciulei (chew-lay) Dancing for the Grey Female” and signed Rev Sullies (?).  Google has not been kind to me on this one.  Anyone have any ideas?

At any rate, I like it and the frame it came in so I  think I’m going to display it on the back porch — there is one little sliver of wall between the kitchen door and the kitchen window on which to hang art.  I still wish it could have matched the tag and I could have had a crazy story to tell on Antiques Roadshow about how I ended up with a French photograph from the 1920s  . . . . Anyone else ever find something so bizarre at a thrift store?  I’m sure there’s some good stories of crazy thrift finds out there.  It’s all about the thrill of the hunt.  Cheers – CT