Nifty Thrifty. Goodwill Outlet World Review.

Once I added thrifting for vintage Pyrex to my hobbies, I found myself wandering into the book and clothing sections of second-hand stores.  And after I found a brand new pair of Banana Republic pants for $2, it was all over.  I was hooked.

For me, recycling has never been so fun!  Generally, every outfit I wear has at least one thrifted clothing item.  More often than not, my entire outfit is from a thrift store.  What’s on sale determines my style, and I’m just fine with that.

I now have my favorite stores in Denver (skip the Broadway Goodwill and hoof it out to Leetsdale for better selection and prices) as well as the mountains (do not pass up Summit Thrift and Treasure–check it: one pair of Nike running pants for $1 two years ago.  I wear them for every race.)

When my brother first moved to the Bay Area, he talked about this massive Goodwill where clothing and other goods were dumped in rows in a warehouse and folks could pick through them and pay for goods by the pound.  I found out places like this exist in Denver too.  In fact, we have a few locations right in the metro area where items that do not sell at the retail outlets or are unsalable for some reason (grime, major wear, broken parts or items with missing pieces) come to be sold.

Goodwill Outlet World became my Friday afternoon destination last week with a girlfriend.  The first thing we did was read this review.  Then, I read more reviews to my momma over the phone.  We laughed a LOT.  Denver is host to such…descriptive writers.

We arrived around noon.  The small parking lot was full and when we walked in, we were immediately overwhelmed.  Though the space was probably the size of a regular Goodwill or Arc Thrift Store, there was minimal organization.  Basically, five categories existed,

1. Clothes and other fabric items (men, women, children, linens, curtains, covers)
2. Shoes (pairs are zip tied together)
3. Wares (household, toys, game, appliances, tools)
4. Books (99 cents a piece – no bargains here)
5. Seasonal (in our case on Good Friday, Easter baskets, raffia, figurines, candy dishes, candles, tsotchke)


Despite there being a lot of people there, the chaos was generally under control.  True to the reviews, when rolling carts are switched out for “new” items, everyone stands back.  When the locks are placed on the bin castors, the attendants tell everyone it’s okay to dig and they go to town!  There seemed to be quite a few families going through bins together, tossing items to one another and pushing clothing into carts.  They wore masks and gloves and aprons.  I wondered if they were looking for items to re-sell.  There also seemed to be quite a few folks who, like me, were looking to search out a bargain.


Despite the quasi-organization, it was still overwhelming, mostly because there was just so much stuff.

Our visit really got me thinking about the kinds of things we Americans BUY and then throw out.  Yikes.

But we did find some treasures, a beautiful wool Pendleton jacket for my girlfriend.  Score!



And here’s what I purchased.  Yes, that’s a mulberry-colored fanny pack.  It’s made for distance running (which some day, I plan on doing more of–right C?)  My best finds were a Columbia winter ski hat with the tags still attached, a Melanzana crew shirt (manufactured in Leadville, Colorado!) and a cotton bathroom rug.

Will I go back?  Bet your bottom dollar.

I’ve always loved the name Yelena.

Yelena Bryksenkova.  What a talent.

I saw some of her illustrations and went to her site and couldn’t stop scrolling through.  She’s incredible.  Whimsical.  Sweet and charmed, I’m sure.

The colors she uses are muted and puddled and oh, so lovable.


Time for tea and reading and lovely Swedish braids.ybryksenkoval3And there’s just so much going on here.  This piece is representative of a “quintessentially British expression.”  Can you guess which one?  Hanky Panky.  I’d like to see her imagination paint Sixes and Sevens.ybryksenkoval2Wouldn’t you love to walk right into this illustration and listen?  The crickets outside the windows, the purring kitty, the radiator steam.
ybryksenkova1 Visit Yelena’s Etsy shop to browse.  So fun!  Check out her website and get lost!

Because we are silly and tomorrow is Saturday.

UClubSwank!One of us still has his ‘Africa Beard.’  I’m semi attached to it.

This photo is from last Saturday night at the University Club.  Lisa and Stan invited us as guests and it was fun!  We got to dress up and I wore some of Grandma Betty’s rhinestones.

This weekend we’re taking it easy and have only one date on the calendar.  That makes me happy.

In the meantime, here are some fun things for you.

For tomorrow morning, a pancake recipe from Ree Drummond.  It may be a little more work than you usually put into a pancake, but let me tell you, it’s worth the effort.

And after you’ve had your carbs, spend 30 minutes organizing your medicine cabinet.  Easy cheesy.  Then get on with your day.

Be sure to bring some of this awesome guacamole to wherever you’re going to watch the Superbowl…even if it’s just your own living room.  C swears by it.

Cheers to the weekend!

Morning inspiration. Marc Johns.

I can only assume I came across Marc Johns’ whimsical drawings on Pinterest a few months ago.  It could have been through another source, but I most definitely think it was Pinterest.  I liked one drawing so much I saved it to my computer desktop at work and every time I need a little motivation or laugh, I open the image.

Here it is.

Finally, I’ve saved his blog to my Favorites.  I’m guaranteed a smile every time I open it.

I can’t get enough of this guy’s whimsy.

I would like a hallway in our home to have six or seven of these framed prints.  I know it would give me a smile every day.  And I think it would be a silly welcome (!) to any guests who visit.  ”Hello!  We are funny people and really appreciate a good sense of humor.”

Click here to see the rest.

Maybe these would be super fun for an afternoon party in the park?  Who’s up for temp tats?

And this would be super fun for…every day of your life.

And one last thing.

Snazzy: Dressing Table Bench

Grandma Betty had very clear visions for her 1950s Garrison Colonial Revival home in a small Hudson Valley town in New York State.

The more Victorian furniture, the better.

Her dark wood dressing table became mine after my Poppa passed away about fifteen years ago and my parents moved it into my childhood bedroom.  I think the piece is the picture of elegance and is ridiculously unnecessary for the modern woman, but that’s what makes it so special.

Unlucky for me, I live 1800 miles away from my childhood bedroom and only get to sit at the table and pretend I’m someone else when I’m home on brief holidays.  But while at my parent’s house last week sucking up their WiFi with my VPN, I took my lunch break and re-covered the seat on the dressing table bench.

That’s right.  It’s so easy it can be done over lunch.   Hey-yo!

Dressing Table 1

What I thought was interesting is that the fabric on the bench seemed to be original.  There are furniture tacks on the underbelly and it’s worn to the quick on the corners.

Dressing Table Bench

There are many reasons to believe this is not a bench that was sold with the table, but it does fit well (the turned legs and the stain for one).  I imagine Grandma Betty driving Poppa bananas tooling around Rhinebeck or Hudson looking for the “perfect” bench to go with the dressing table, which I’m sure came from an antique auction.

Bench seat

Rather than being nailed in, the seat was screwed in, so I used my dad’s drill to get the screws out.  The seat popped right off.  Easy cheesy.

Beneath the bench

So, my momma loves fabric and there are rolls and bolts of it all over my parents’ house (just TRY to contain them to her office).  I found this roll of Waverly material behind the door to my bedroom (handy!) and got to it.  I did not follow the classic This Old House approach to measuring–Measure Twice, Cut Once.  Rather, I took the Bridget approach–Measuring-is-for-civil-engineers, Just cut it.  And that’s the beauty of recovering a very simple rectangle of a furniture seat.  If you can wrap a gift, you can recover a bench.


Fabric measurement

Flip the bench over and start wrapping your gift.  Again, something that makes this particular bench a breeze is that there’s no batting.  Batting is a more intermediate project.  This is for beginners like me.


Make sure the fabric is pulled taut and staple with all you’ve got.  Use your muscles.  I don’t have a photo of this step…but you all know what a stapler looks like.  If you don’t know how to use one, pretty much the only rule is to not put your finger or any other body part in the way of the stapler and the item to be stapled.  Ask your neighbor if you have any other questions.


Flip it back over and screw it back in.  Sit on it and look at yourself in the mirror.  Here’s where you say, “Omigosh.  Isn’t that lovely? What a breath of fresh air!”

Really finished.

That piece of cheetah also belonged to Grandma Betty.  It is a muff.  I don’t know if I mentioned she was the quintessential great-looking-swinging-single-working girl from Manhattan back in the ’40s.  She adored fur.  I do have very fond memories playing with my brother at her house and pretending her minks were our pets.

There you have it.  Snazzy your world.