A Crafter Needs to Eat, The Library Stack, Thrift Shop Adventures

Curating a Home Library

I love public libraries and as my series of posts The Library Stack shows, I am always browsing them and borrowing books when I can. A couple of years of ago I studied and embraced Minimalism trying to live a simpler lifestyle and letting go of things that I thought cluttered my life. I decided to stop buying books and just borrow them from the library.

Then in December 2018 my husband suddenly died and things shifted in my life on a large scale. And in early 2020 the pandemic hit and more shifting occurred to include examining how I could redefine a “simpler lifestyle” and have the physical things I enjoy in my life.

Our local libraries closed for what seemed like endless months during the early days of the pandemic and when they reopened it was only for curbside pickup. Currently they have fully reopened but have many strict protocols (beyond mandatory masks) and there are not that many patrons in the library anymore. It feels like something is lost from whole public library experience (and it is strange to see the librarians behind glass).

Pre-pandemic I was really in to audiobooks. Something shifted in me during the pandemic and I began to crave reading physical books rather than listening to them. I also remembered my secret dream of having an extensive home library like the ones I see in the home decorating books I borrow from the public library.

Like this one below:

Image credit: insidehook.com

With all the above things in the background of my mind, a couple of months ago I decided that I wanted to proceed with curating my own home library. Nothing as extensive as the image above but a nice collection with books that I’ve read and loved (and want to read again) and books I want to read (and might read again).

So how to do this and not “break the bank”? Well I used the following sources to find books for my home library:

  • Thrift Stores
  • Garage Sales
  • Thriftbooks.com
  • Independent bookstores selling used books

I was able to buy books from 50 cents to $5.00 from these four sources. Most books I paid between $1.49 and $4.99. 

In addition to amassing a collection of second hand books over the past couple of months, my partner John also added an additional bookcase to the front room beyond the two he already built for me.

So here is the current version of my home library which used to be the front room/sitting room in my house:

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I had so much fun hunting for books at thrift shops (one local thrift shop has 1/2 priced Saturdays).

I’ve loved the books by the authors Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child and I’ve read at least 85% of their entire catalogue of books. So I put together a collection of their books of my very own (previously I had borrowed them from the library):

I do not have their latest books as those are not at thrift stores yet or reasonably priced on Thriftbooks.com but it was so fun finding each book one at a time while hunting at thrift shops.

At the beginning of my home library book curation process I thought about filling part of my home library with classic novels and books that might impress a book collector. But that thought lasted only a couple seconds. I have no need to impress anyone with my home library except myself. It is only filled with the kind of books I will read (and my partner too).

Like lots of Science Fiction and Fantasy (especially Young Adult Fantasy, I love it):

You might wonder what I did with my craft book collection. Well it is on the opposite wall organized by craft or topic (like art quilting):

All those books – got to have a cozy place to read, right? Here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer sitting in my favorite reading spot:

And here is Mike and I snuggled cozy under a warm blanket on a cold Saturday reading (it was quite a delicious morning with my pot of tea next to me). I rediscovered the joy of reading a while, napping, waking up and reading some more!

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Note these images were taken before my partner put up the third bookcase last week.

In case you are curious, I am still occasionally getting a “Library Stack” from my local public library, though not as big as the ones I was getting (the ridiculously large stacks like in the post The Library Stack Is Back!) when the library first reopened. Here is my current linrary stack:

Speaking of libraries, some of the second hand books I’ve purchased over the past several months are former library books! I’ve gotten pretty good at removing the library’s plastic dust cover with all their library specific stickers so the books sitting on my home library shelves does not look like I stole them from a library – ha!

As I mentioned earlier in this post I used to listen to a lot of audiobooks. Current I am only listening to podcasts now, taking a break from audiobooks. I am currently enjoying holding a book in my hand and reading it. Quite a different experience. I am taking a break from multitasking in life and just enjoying a solitary task of reading a book!


Postscript

Over the past several months of going to thrift stores to find books for my home library, I’ve come across many curious items for sale at thrift shops. 

Here are my top 5 favorite finds that gave me the chuckle (and I promise you I did not buy any of them):

Number 5: If you need a lamp and a place to store your leftover yarn, would this not be the perfect solution?

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Yes it’s – YARN LAMP!

Number 4: Patriotic pants – they defy any further comment (but my apologies to you if you happen own these…)

My partner John is modeling them

Number 3: Donated photo frames with family photos still in them.

I could not believe how many donated photo frames I came across with family pictures still in them at various thrift stores, like the example below. Wouldn’t you perhaps remove your family photos before donating?!?!?

Number 2: An outfit for a very adventurous and crafty person.

Though it was on display way before Halloween, I think this was supposed to be a suggested Halloween outfit (hopefully as you would get a lot of stares should you select it for a cocktail party…)

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And Number 1 is…

Something that you absolutely cannot imagine living without…

A cattle leg (yes real cattle leg) with hoof attached Barometer!

Yes, now you can remember the favorite steer you raised on your farm and know the current barometric pressure!

My regret is I did not buy it and put it away as the ultimate future “White Elephant” Christmas gift! (Could you imagine the look on someone’s face when they opened their gift!)

Thrift Shop Adventures

An Interesting Find…

I currently have “Corona-virus Blues”, what about you? I was scheduled to go next week to a very exciting conference in Nashville, Tennessee with many fun events, but my employer cancelled all business/corporate travel for the next several weeks because of the virus outbreak.

Even though I am bummed, in the big picture this is not such a big issue as there are many people impacted on a greater scale. My heart goes out to those who are currently infected and recovering as well as to the families of those who’ve loss loved ones due to this outbreak.

And now onto lighter topics such as the awesome find I recently made at a local thrift shop.


It’s been quite a while since I posted anything in my category/series of blog posts Thrift Shop Adventures. I have not done as much thrifting as I used to do in Central Oregon since moving to the Denver metro area in April 2019. I do miss the awesome Humane Society of Central Oregon Thrift Store, where I discovered many delights, such as this find such as the one I mention in this November 2018 post – Awesome $2 Thrift Shop Find.

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All these high end designer fabric samples for $2 from the Humane Society Thrift Shop!

Although it does not replace my beloved Humane Society Thrift Shop, I have discovered a fairly wonderful thrift shop in downtown Denver – Goodwill Denver– Broadway.

Last weekend, while browsing, I stumbled upon an amazing find – all this fabric marked at $12, which I got for 30% off $12 because of the tag color sale (Goodwill does a daily tag color discount that varies from day to day):

2020-03-02_17-53-59_481Inside this bag was a large collection of fabrics by a company called Boundless Fabrics which appears to be primarily sold by Bluprint (formerly known as Craftsy).

2020-03-02_17-47-32_363The package included yardage, precuts (charm squares and fat quarters), a panel (a Moda Fabrics panel) and some odd size fabric scraps.

2020-03-02_17-49-32_9772020-03-02_17-50-17_3572020-03-02_17-53-01_991The pictures above do not do the package as there is enough fabric for several quilts (there are at least 10+ yards of fabric among the yardage).

The fabrics could not be used in one quilt (unless you liked an eclectic mix of styles and patterns) but they could be used for several different quilts.

I looked up reviews on Boundless Fabrics and they higher than the quality of fabrics sold at JOANN Fabrics and Craft Store but slightly below the quality of those sold at quilt shops. But for 30% of $12 (oh please do not make me do the math, ha!) they were not a bad deal!

In case you are wondering I have absolutely no idea of what I am going to do with them, but I put them away for now (smile).


Postscript

Continuing with the theme of “interesting finds”…

For those of you who’ve been blogging for a while – do you remember when you were a new blogger? Remember trying to build your audience? I did it by following other blogs and commenting on posts.

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Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

Over the years (I’ve been blogging nearly 7 years) I’ve met a bunch of cool blogging buddies and regularly follow their blogs.

I noticed that many of us, especially those of us who are crafters, follow the same blogs and it fun to see for example Mary @zippyquilts commenting on a post by Chela @chela’s colchas y mas who just commenting on a post by Mariss @fabrications who had a comment from Laura @laurabrunolilly.com who had commented also on  the blogs I just mentioned!

You get a real sense of community. (And there are many more bloggers in our community, like Claudia @claudiamcgillart, but I just listed a few as an example.)

Well I would like to occasionally introduce/suggest a new member to our crafter blogging community – an interesting blog find I discovered through this blogger commented on my posts:

Sleepy Beagle 

(thesleepybeagleword.wordpress.com/blog/)

Check out this interesting crafter blog if you get a chance and perhaps become a follower and make her part of our community. Her crafting and crafter’s life posts are well written, informative and engaging! This blog is an “Interesting Find”!

Thrift Shop Adventures

Awesome $2 Thrift Shop Find

Howdy.

It’s time to return to blogging after taking a week or so off after 31 days straight of posting to celebrate the tierneycreates blog 5th anniversary for the month of October.

I am going to return to sharing more photos/stories from the quilt retreat I attended the near end of October; and I recently returned from a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico and I have photos and stories to share.

But first, I wanted to share another very cool thrift store find! It’s another entry in my series of posts Thrift Shop Adventures. This post is sort of a follow up to my October 22 post, Awesome $3 Thrift Shop Find. However this time it was an awesome $2 thrift shop find!

A Trip to a Local Charity Thrift Shop

Why I ended up on Saturday at a local thrift shop: I was dropping off a donation of yarn skeins after clearing out my excess yarn stash.

In my master bedroom closet I had two tubs of yarn tucked away. Poor forgotten yarn. 

A couple of years ago I made a commitment to only keep the craft items/materials that I loved and used (see my series of posts My Minimalism Journey) except I appeared to have forgotten about my yarn.

I pulled out the two large tubs of yarn, dumping all the skeins onto the floor and discovered I had yarn that I purchased over 15 years ago, never used, and likely would never use (especially the faux fur type of yarn that was popular for making those furry looking scarves 15 years ago!). I was able to put together a large package of yarn skeins to donate to a local charity thrift shop.

After pulling out all the yarn I would never use, I decided to put the yarn I would like to make something with (someday) somewhere besides tucked away in tubs in the back of my master bedroom closet.

So I organized (and I use that term loosely) the yarn skeins in the closet of my studio which I keep open most of the time:

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So with my remaining yarn organized, I headed off to a local thrift shop to donate the yarn I did not need.

A Yummy Find

After dropping off my donation at the donation area in the back of the thrift shop, I figured it would not hurt to just peek inside, quickly (smile), the thrift shop.

Once inside I immediately headed to the crafts section and what did I find – a large bag of beautiful home decorating samples:

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I could barely contain my excitement when I saw the price on the bag – two dollars! So the bag and I headed up to the counter to pay and I gleefully left the thrift shop with my prize!

Inside the $2 Bag

It was difficult not to open the bag and look inside in my car, but I knew I should wait until I got home and could fully enjoy the discovery of what waited inside.

Inside were many beautiful home decor fabric samples, like these ones below that were from New York City:

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And here are photos of a sampling of the other samples, as I was putting them away in the container where I keep home decor samples (which is now full…):

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Included in the package were beautiful swatches of raw silk, gorgeous embroidered fabrics, velvets and other wonderful textures.

Who knows what I will do with these fabrics, for now I am just happy to have them in my recycled fabrics collection and appreciate that someone donated them for someone else to enjoy rather than having them end up in the landfill.

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harmony1.com

Thrift Shop Adventures

Awesome $3 Thrift Shop Find

Happy Monday, can you believe it is day 22 of daily blogging in October as part of my 5th blog anniversary celebration? Thanks so much to those of you who have been finding time each day to read my ramblings! Later this week I will do a post about my 5 years of blogging and then introduce the five giveaways to celebrate the tierneycreates blog anniversary!

This post I want to share an amazing $3 thrift shop find – a collection of beautiful high-end silk and premium fabric drapery samples.

The Giant Bag of “Upholstery Fabric”

Saturday I dropped off some donations at our local Humane Society Thrift Store. As long as I was there, I thought I would peek in and see what they had in the craft section. I found a large bag marked upholstery fabric for $3. I do not need more upholstery fabric in my life but I noticed some very nice looking pieces peeking through the pile of upholstery fabric.

Here is the bag when I got it home:

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Giant heavy bag of fabric

Unpacking it, I first discovered some very cool textured upholstery weight fabric:

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Look at that texture!

Then to my surprise, under this fabric, was a collection of 4 large drapery swatches:

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I was blown away with the beauty of the fabrics and removed the heavy duty staples and cardboard legend of the samples from the top of the swatch books.

The photos do not do the fabric swatches justice but here are photos of the fabric swatches after the individual samples were separated:

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Here are some close ups of some of my favorites (though it was difficult to choose favorites):

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Here is the whole stack:

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Yes, are you thinking what I am thinking? Some of these fabrics will work in the piece I have simmering on my large design wall in the hallway (see post What’s Simmering on the Design Wall):

2018-10-14_10-46-03_866I need to focus on preparing for the quilt retreat I am attending later this week, so I am not going to play with the new fabrics and the design wall right now but it is something fun to look forward to add more to the “simmering”!

Did Not Keep It All

I did not keep all the fabric – a third of the larger pieces were not my style, so I put them back into the bag and I am going to donate them back to the thrift shop to sell again!

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I think I got my money’s worth for $3!

I’ve posted about thrift shop finds over the past 5 years and I’ve created a new blog category in case you like to check those posts out – Thrift Shop Adventures.


Postscript

If you would like to see what beautiful and amazing textile art can be made from upholstery/home decor fabric swatches and samples, check out the art of Dianne Browning, a member of the SAQA art quilting group I belong – Art Quilts by Dianne Browning (bendartquilts.com).

Check out her website and here is one of her amazing pieces made with home decor fabric swatches – Crossroads:

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Crossroads by Dianne Browning

 

 

My Minimalism Journey, Thrift Shop Adventures

Shameless Thrifting, Part II

Yesterday’s post featured a completed quilt to convince you that this is still a Quilter’s Blog, so now I am free today to post about some other non-quilting random topic!

This is post is a sort of follow up or continuation of my post from August 2016, Shameless Thrifting. In my “Shameless Thrifting” post I share how I overcame my aversion to thrift stores as part of my Minimalism Journey. I also share a secret obsession from my childhood discovered during an afternoon of thrifting.

Got Outfit?

In yesterday’s post (in which I try to convince you I am a quilter again), The Wedding Gift Quilt, I mention that I recent returned from a trip to Fort Worth, Texas for a family wedding.

Preparing for the trip I realized I did not have many nice warm weather outfits for Texas (90+ degrees F and high humidity).

I live in the Pacific NW and in general we dress fairly casual; and I am a telecommuter and I can work in sweat pants and a T-shirt all day. I used to have a lot of dressy clothes from when I worked in an office, but I donated most of them to thrift shops as I discussed in my series of posts on My Minimalism Journey (My Minimalism Journey).

I could not stand the idea of going out and buying NEW clothes. Anytime I think about buying new clothes, I think about an article I read last year on how “Fast Fashion” is creating environmental issues. This is not the exact article but it has the same message: Newsweek’s FAST FASHION IS CREATING AN ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS

Several times I started to get into the car and go to the local Macy*s or J. Jill, or even Old Navy to see if I could find any cute outfits for the trip. I also thought of our local boutique shops and although I would like to patronize small businesses I was not sure if I wanted to pay their prices and I noticed many of their clothes are made in overseas.

Let’s Try Local Thrift Shops!

Thank goodness due to the influence of my sister, a very creative “thrifter”, I can proudly and shamelessly, go thrift shop shopping for clothes! There are many wonderful “gently used” fashionable clothes at thrift shops.

After visiting several thrift shops, I was able to put together a couple outfits for the trip I was very pleased with. Here is an example  of one of those outfits (note I already had the shoes – they are are Dankso dress clogs with ankle straps I’ve had for many years and they surprisingly matched perfectly):

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How much for the entire outfit including the jewelry (not including the shoes) – $9.

Yes $9 for the whole outfit: the $5 dress is a J. Crew dress, the $3 jacket is a boutique brand type item, and the coordinating necklace was $1. I received compliments on the outfit while on my trip!

And when I get tired of my “new” thrift shop summer travel wardrobe, I will just donate it back to the thrift shops!


Postscript

The Capsule Wardrobe

Speaking of clothing, a vlogger (video blogger), Casually Matthew, has a beautifully produced short video on how to create a Capsule Wardrobe:

I love the idea of a “Capsule Wardrobe” and first heard about this concept when I started following The Minimalists a couple years ago. I was going to add a link to provide more background on Capsule Wardrobes, but you can google this phrase and find many wonderful guides.

Essentially a Capsule Wardrobe is a way to declutter and minimize your closet while curating your clothing into a coordinated collection of clothing you really love; and is flexible in its ability to “mix and match”.

I have a fairly casual Capsule Wardrobe for my telecommuter/Pacific NW lifestyle but I would like to evolve it to be a tad more stylish and plan to use thrift shop finds to achieve my goal!


Feature photo credit: Roger Kirby, free images.com