designer brands

Tank Tops on the Cheap!

TANK TOPS! I know, how… boring. While tank tops might be boring they really are an essential.  This piece  is the first layer in many outfits. A tank top is often necessary under a see through top or one with a low neck.  I think the fashion stylists call it layering….but what do I know? Don’t you always feel more put together when you have a tank or camisole pulling “everything” together?

So we agree.  We all need boring old tank tops and lots of them.
You are probably working on your summer wardrobe…maybe even going to a retail (gasp) store to find some pretty things.

DO NOT…..I repeat DO NOT get sucked in to buying a tank top in one of those spendy places.

DO NOT….even buy a tank or camisole in a discount store.
Check out the prices for these absolute basic items at department stores.
Even the Target basics run aroun $8.

Why….you might ask?
Because thrift stores have racks and racks of almost new (and sometimes brand new) tanks, shells and camisoles.
The prices are always in the three to seven dollar range.

There are often fun colors and interesting patterns to be had.

For this, you DO want to shop by brand as well as fabric.
There is probably good reason that the brand name tops cost more.
The fabric content is comfortable and long lasting.
Wash after wash these thrift store bargains stay looking fabulous.
Look for brands like Chicos, Ralph Lauren, Talbots, Banana Republic, Athleta, Eddie Bauer, Patagonia.  These brands are known for quality (and high prices).
I have a couple of Banana Republic camis that I have had for more than five years.  I don’t think they will ever wear out.

I headed to my closet to get just a few (don’t tell Mr. S that these are “just a few”) of the thrift store tanks I own.

The brands on these range from Nick and Zoe, Ralph Lauren, Karen Kane, Ann Taylor, Anne Klein and Kaelin.
Do the math…..if the lowest price of these was in the $25 range….times 7….that would be $175!
Really…..for basic tank tops????
My cost was probably more like $40 for all 7!

Some of you are probably thinking: “It takes me so long to go through all those racks to find something!”  My answer to that is…..”well it probably takes just as long to go to the department store and find the one you want.”  Wouldn’t you rather spend an hour at the thrift store and save that extra $100 plus for a fun pair of pants or a summery dress?

I saved the best reason for thrift store tops for last!
I never, ever worry about these tops getting a stain on them.  They are easily replaced for a low cost.
It always makes me giggle when I look down at myself when I am out in the garden and realize that I am wearing fancy brand clothes!

Good Will Hunting to you!

Pillow Knock-Offs Summer Edition

One of my favorite ways to give a quick fresh look to a room is with new decorator pillows.

I must not be the only one….just take a look at HomeGoods or Target and you will see bunches and bunches of pillows that have fun seasonal motifs.

Now….I guess giving a fresh look to a room for around $30 seems like a deal.
But if you follow this blog….you know I think that is WAY too MUCH $$$ to spend.

Come along and I will show you my inspirations from the stores….
and then….
My KNOCK OFF versions of the same pillows.


 This nautical inspiration is really fun.  But it made me “Crabby” to think about hand painting something like this.


I love this simple burlap pillow and it is definitely on my to do list….

But this charmer from Target is the one that really caught my eye!

Who doesn’t like lobster?

The red color is perfect for the blue and white decor in the lower level.

I used my Cri-Cut and Sure-Cuts-A-lot program to create a lobster stencil!

The stencil is done on canvas with red acrylic paint.

I went all fancy and did red cording around the edge.

The navy and white stripe fabric is left from my DIY Ironing Board Cover.
And….oh my….I actually put a zipper in the back….wasn’t I ambitious?

Since everything I used was already in my “stash”…this cost me nothing.   If you started from scratch, you could probably do this for under $10.

I have always loved those vintage postcards that say “GREETINGS FROM….”

Zazzle has done a pillow with this theme.


I decided to commemorate our fun trip to Savannah, Georgia this past winter.
Some simple Google Image Browsing and I found this great vintage poster.
My apologies….I didn’t save the source….!!!

I used the “Print on Fabric Using Your Printer” technique to create this fun pillow.
Using an machine applique stitch around the print is a clean way to attach the printed fabric.

This next Knock-Off isn’t exactly a Summer theme….
I am continuing to work on the Kate Spade Inspired Guest Bedroom.


I came across this pillow when I was looking for ideas.

I had the green and white striped fabric.

It was pretty darn simple to create this knock off.

It has a bed pillow for a form so that it is bigger and fluffier than the inspiration.

The better for cuddling a Grandboy!!!

So the next time you are in a store with a big display of accent pillows…..
Pause….say HMMMMM….and go home and create something!

Have a Wonderful Day!

Link Parties
Coastal Charm 

Kate Spade Guest Bedroom Refresh

My latest project is one of those domino effect deals!
You know… the “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie” scenario! 
The Sweetwater version goes like this….

I bought this great looking pink polka dot fabric to make some fun place mats to go with the Desert Rose dishes we inherited from Mr. S’s mom.

But then….I found this fabric in the stash….and these place mats at the thrift store for $.99!
So now I have eight plain pink mats and there will be eight more reversible ones as soon as I finish making them.

No need to make the polka dot placemats….

What to do??

Pinterest exploration of course!
My pink polka dots are so VERY Kate Spade!

The fabric was the perfect inspiration for a mini-makeover in the guest bedroom.

Well….really it is the Sweetwater Grandboy’s room for sleeping….and I hope he forgives me for the “pink” theme! Hopefully the navy blue pack and play is not a forever part of the room’s decor!
There is no need for BIG changes with the basic decor in the room.
The walls are a creamy white.
 The loveseat in the room is a covered in a pastel chintz with lots of greens, blues and pink.

The little white wrought iron bed is the one that I slept in when I was little….and it was handed down to me from my great aunt.  I believe it is over 100 years old!
This bed sits against the wall like a daybed.

Using a king sized coverlet is much less expensive than finding a custom daybed cover.
The coverlet also has pinks and greens.
Pardon the awful photo….the other king sized bolster pillow for the back of the daybed is the perfect size to prop up Mr. S’s new knee while he recuperates!
Trust me….soon this will get some Decor TLC!

The first step for the mini makeover was to make a new valance!

 This is a almost no sew project.
The 1 x 4 mounting board was already there….I just had to staple on the new pleated fabric.
Camilla has a fabulous step by step tutorial for this project here on her Effortless Style Blog.

I found this little lovely in my search for Kate Spade style decor inspiration.


Look at the little chest that has been in the guest room for years….

All it needed was a little pink paint!

Some VERY pink paint!  In a high gloss finish!
Mr. S thought I was crazy….but what else is new?

After a couple of coats and some new shiny bright hardware….the little chest is so “very Kate Spade”!

I absolutely love the way it turned out….
There is more to the little mini-makeover that I will share with you soon!
Some green stripes and some golden dots are part of that….

But for now….the beautiful Spring day is calling me to the garden!

Have a wonderful day!

Link to PART 2 of the mini-makeover

Link Parties

Goodness! Gracious! Goodwill Goodies #2

Welcome to another edition of what I hope will be an on going series!

I would love to have you post some photos of your Good Will Goodies!
It is always fun to see what other people buy at the thrift store!

In fact, I often find myself surreptitiously eyeing the carts of the other shoppers in the store!

Sometimes I am envious… the time I saw a cart with 6 rolls of 8 inch burlap ribbon….for $2 each! Or the huge Fitz and Floyd platter for $9.99.   SIGH!

Sometimes I wonder….but who am I to judge!  I just bought these!

Really, they will make fun additions to floral arrangements….trust me!

 Goodness! Gracious! Good Will Goodies #2 is about clothes.  
Specifically it is about sleeveless shells and camisoles! 
Everyone needs these basics in their closet!
Thanks to Good Will…..there are many of these Goodies in the Sweetwater closet!
But the quality of fabric and design you can find at the thrift store is so much better at a cost less than you would spend at Walmart or Old Navy!

Yes…this tank is only $7. 00!

It is probably of pretty good quality.

But seven dollars is way more than most shells sell for at the thrift store.

 This tank at JJill is most likely made from a soft and long lasting fabric…
But really….$29 for something this simple?!
The thrifty me would have to argue that fact!
Accruing a “wardrobe” of good quality shells and camisoles let’s me play a bit with color and style!

I have shells that have been washed and washed and washed with little sign of wearing out! 
And hey….I love wearing Ralph Lauren and Ann Taylor out in the garden!

J Jill, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Coldwater Creek are just some of the brands represented here!

These dressier tops have some serious name dropping going on!

Theory, St. John, Ralph Lauren, and Jones New York!

Some General Thrift Store Clothing Tips!

Buy Quality!

Here is a case where brands matter!  The name brand fabrics, cut, and styling will make you “big investment” worth it! While I deplore the idea of spending lots of money for clothes….that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the way more expensive items hold up over time.  
Buy “like new” items only!
This is really important!  Even though you are at the thrift store, you deserve the good stuff!  If it has a stain, is out of shape or looks worn….leave it!  You can sometimes find things that still have the store tags on them!  
This cute little sleeveless white blouse is from Ann Taylor….tag on at 49.00…..mine for $8.99 less my 25% coupon no less!

Try It ON!
Sizing at the thrift store is NOT an exact science!  I always think that some items have been donated precisely because they are not sized correctly!  I am so happy that the newly designed Good Will stores have vastly improved the dressing rooms…..but if you can’t bring yourself to try on in the store….you can always return the item if it doesn’t fit!  
Look at this cute halter dress from Land’s End!  Size 10….not really my size…but I figured I could take in the back pretty easily….so I went for it!  Go figure….it fit perfectly!  
Give Yourself Browsing Time!
To really get the most out of a trip to the thrift store you need time!  There is A LOT of stuff there.  I like to decide before I head to the store if my focus is going to be on household items or clothing and then spend my time there.  
Don’t Take it Seriously!
Take a risk….maybe you wouldn’t spend $50 for a sequined black cami….but hey…$5.00 and now I have something to wear under a plain black jacket! Go with a friend and giggle a bit over some “unfortunate” items and maybe share a happy dance over the perfect treasure!

Happy Shopping! And don’t forget….share your best and worst Goodwill Goodies with us!

Link Parties
Handy Man Crafty Woman
Ginger snap Crafts
Thrifty Home
Talk of the Town 
Vintage Chic

My Bargain Buy in NOLA!

A highlight of the our trip to New Orleans a couple of weeks ago was the afternoon that the Sweetwater Daughter, The Grand Boy and I spent browsing on Magazine Street.

We needed some retail therapy and some time away from “the men”. When we heard about this six-mile-long stretch from the Garden District to Uptown that has some of the best antique stores, art galleries, craft shops and boutiques to be found anywhere in the city we made a PLAN!  Mr. S. dropped us off and we began our stroll!

The Grand Boy had it made!  He was in the stroller so as we walked and walked and walked, his little feet were comfortable.

Notice if you will that even in the stroller….he decided that it was time for the shoes to come off!

I was NOT so fortunate!

The shoes I wore became more and more uncomfortable as the afternoon wore on.

The Sweetwater Daughter had been telling me about these great fold up flats that are known for comfort.

HMMMM…… I decided to that this would be a great time to buy some so I could continue to enjoy shopping!
We were in one little boutique that had them for sale!
The only problem…..they are a bit spendy….no they are a lot spendy…..really $80 for flats is something that my thrifty self just couldn’t bring my self to buy!
I decided to tough it out and let my poor little feet suffer!

We walked into Swap!

It is the cutest little consignment shop!
Would you believe it….there on the shelf was a pair of YS flats……in a leopard print… MY SIZE!  They were overstock….so they had never been worn!

The price was still kind of steep…..$49.00.
But my feet were really killing me!

I decided to just go for it….almost half price seemed like a doable bargain.

Then I got to the check out desk….

And wait for it….

The store clerk said….”Oh nice, these have a green sticker on the tag and that means they are half-off the sticker price.”

Oh be still my heart!

$25.00 for comfortable and stylish shoes!   SCORE!

So there you have it….my Bargain Buy!
This might not be the most memorable experience of our trip….but it was pretty nice!

Have A Wonderful Day!