Thrifty & Nifty

I don’t know about you, but my family and friends send some seriously quality holiday cards. I do not have the heart to throw the cards out because they are full of photos! Every year, I try and use my paper punches to save some of the photos. I generally use them for birthday cards or gift tags for next Christmas (or birthdays)!

These punches, while slightly pricey, have served me well. You can get them at Michael’s. But always use a coupon!

Leftover vintage bobbins that don’t fit in my sewing machine made for super cool repurpose!

Love making bookmarks out of my scrap paper!

Used and my new laminator to make this Happy Planner cover.
Why buy a new one every year when you can make one yourself?!

Making cards using my scrapbook paper & Happy Planner stickers.

We hit up a few estate sales today. Though we purchased very little, I snapped some interested pictures. The more I go to estate sales the more I want to photograph them and not purchase anything. Estate sales sure do tell a story. They tell the story of the elderly people who no longer live there, the story of their adult children who are caring for their elderly parents and of course the estate sale company themselves. Only one of the three companies today took the time to price the items clearly and fairly, and organize the home for the buyers. While I realize that is to benefit them to make good money, to me it is out of respect to the people who lived there. Leftover items strewn about on beds, in the living room and in closets leaves the feeling of a rushed departure and an unhappy ending. Estate sales are not for the faint of heart. I recall my first one was disheartening.

Today I thought about the stories of these people – avid music lovers and  novice photographers. Perhaps a pipe-smoking man sits in his easy chair at the end of the day, admiring the feminine touches of his wife’s interior decorations?


Remember when music wasn’t so portable? Remember when music involved a large piece of furniture in the living room with built-in speakers? We all had to gather around a machine in one room and take turns listening to each other’s favorite songs. Sometimes I hate how portable music has become.

I bet you’ve been asked this question a few times in your life, right? I’d say I take after both my parents. My mother however, is where I get my childlike nature. Although we are responsible adults, we like to have fun and we take delight in many simple things like – Disney films. Mom loves the waltzes and the gowns and I like the music, the animation and of course dreams coming true.

I’ve always loved yard sales. When I was little, my elderly neighbors would have a yard sale every summer. To this day, my mother still tells the story of how I came home with a pitcher from that yard sale. It had a small chip and the neighbors didn’t charge me for it. I bragged about my good deal and I think she laughed for days.

Now that I don’t work weekends anymore, I scope out estate sales. I tend to go the estate sales in the more affluential towns around since the items for sale are higher quality. I mostly look for books and records. But sometimes, if they don’t have what I am looking for, I enjoy looking around. And yes sometimes it can be sad because it is usually the home of elderly folks, but don’t let that bother you.

I have seen all sorts of goodies at estate sales. From vintage clothes to fine china, rare furniture and all sorts of knick-knacks. I would love to have it all but we just don’t have room in our home right now!

If you are moving out on your own for the very first time, and have nothing, an estate sale is a great way to start. You could get all your flatware, cooking bowls, and dishes. Not to mention bookshelves and other furniture. Sometimes you can find office supplies like notebooks, index cards and storage bins. You may even find a quality wood bed frame. Sure it is all used but give it a good dusting and it is new to you! You may find unopened items at estate sales. If the house belongs to someone with the depression era mentality you can find many items new still in the package.

Here’s what no one tells you though:

  1. Look online for photos of the items before you go.
  2. Get there early or everything will be picked over.
  3. Sometimes the photos are used to lure you in but the good stuff may already be taken.
  4. The house may be packed with people so you may have to wait your turn.
  5. Shoppers at estate sales might be weird. Some are very nice though.
  6. Always smell stuff and examine it closely.
  7. Don’t be afraid to go through the closets and drawers. If it isn’t taped closed or labeled – it is yours!
    I always mean to photograph the items I see at estate sales but it is hard with all the people around. Below are some items which have caught my eye. I will have to blog about it again if I take more photos.
Could this be a telephone chair? Ah, those were the days before cell phones….


Oh these lovely old trunks!! They could be filled with treasures!


Kitchen galore!
Dinner tools!


Book heaven!!


Piles of vinyl for me to dig through.


More records. Even some 45s on the floor.
I just loved the design of this old box.

I finally got around to using the card making kit my mom gave me for Christmas. Cute!

I have committed to using neutral color/patterned wrapping paper from now on to save money. At Christmas I try my best not to buy holiday paper. So this year I had to get a little creative. I noticed that Michael’s has this scrapbook paper in holiday designs as well. So I grabbed a pad and used it not only for my wrapping design but also my holiday cards! Took a bit more creativity but it sure was fun! I actually wrapped some of the smaller gifts in the scrapbook paper because it was so pretty!

Used up some of my leftover twine and a 3D printed Pokemon character to make it fun for my young cousin:

Here are some of them in a sweet box in front of the tree:

These are the most favorite of the cards I have put together. I actually saved one for myself!

I purchased a gift and it came with this beautiful ribbon. I kept it around because I figured it would come in handy some day. I was in the mood to decorate a little extra for the holidays and instead of buying something new, I wrapped something I already have in the ribbon!

This dark wood piece was sitting in my parent’s attic. I painted it white!

For a while I was obsessed with yarn wrapping old wine bottles. Everyone received them as a gift!


When my husband(boyfriend at the time) moved in together, we didn’t have a lot of money for furniture. I picked up this piece at a thrift store. My plan was to sand it down and paint it white, but underneath is was dark green oil paint. So it ended up with a dark stain instead!

My coworker had a yard sale. This rocking chair meant a lot to her. We bought it and gave it a makeover. We love it.