How to Stain a Basket

stained thrifted basket

how to stain an old basket

I admit it, I’m a basket addict!

Baskets are one of the best ways to organize and accessorize your home but they can be very expensive when purchased new. Thrift stores are a great source of affordable baskets but they are often out-of-fashion colors and can have missing or broken pieces. Today I’m going to show you how to take those old, thrift store baskets and make them a beautiful accent piece for your home.


  • super glue
  • hand broom
  • stain
  • paintbrush


The first step in fixing up an old basket is to clean out any dirt or debris using a hand broom. Be thorough on both the interior and exterior.

before old thrifted basket staining

Next inspect your basket for any broken pieces. Use super glue to repair any areas that may need it. [Read more...]

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Do you have a butterfly chair that is sun-faded or has hideous fabric on it? I bet you thought it was a lost cause, right? Nope! With a sewing machine, some new fabric and a little spare time you can recover that ugly butterfly chair and have a new one. Okay, so I didn’t recover it with green fabric in honor of St. Patrick, but what could be greener than a good old upcycling project! Believe it or not, this was a much easier project than I had anticipated, so don’t get scared by the curves. You can “sew” do this! ;-)

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

I stumbled upon this chair at Goodwill for $9.99. Normally I wouldn’t spend this much for a sun-faded chair, but because I was working on the school library makeover project — and we needed more comfortable seating — I bought it.  After all, we would have had to pay at least double for another comfy chair.

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

Luckily, I had some soft leftover fleece fabric that I could use to recover the chair. I wish I had measured how much I used, I think it was a little less than 2 yards.


  • 2 yards of fabric
  • Coordinating thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Old butterfly chair + old cover


1. Remove the old cover from the butterfly chair frame. Lay it on top of your fabric (both right sides up.) [Read more...]

Day 4 Pulling It All Together on the GMC OnStar Hidden Treasure Adventure


After yesterday’s diversions, we were all feeling the pressure to purchase the final items on our wish lists. This would be our last day on the yard sale and the last day to prep any items we purchased before placing them into the Habitat house.

We decided to create a master wish list for everyone so we could all be on the lookout for each other. There was a lot of texting with photos attached as we shopped in the in the morning.

[Read more...]

2012 I Love Thrifting Day Recap


Top row, left to right: Me, Gynne, Erin – Bottom row left to right: Kristen, Courtney, Amy

Saturday morning I rushed out the door into a THICK WALL of HOT and HEAVY HUMIDITY in search of some great bargains. Yes, I had to bold and capitalize that statement about the weather, because it was really that nasty! Despite the weather, I pushed forward to join some other local thrifters for the second annual I “Love” Thrifting Day. It was a good chance to have fun shopping, pointing, laughing and sweating (like a pig in a cooker.) If you stayed home in your air conditioned comfort, I commend you on being cool. For those that missed the fun, here is the recap that can be enjoyed in the comfort of your climate controlled home (or office.)

We started at The Resale Boutique, which truly remains one of my favorite consignment stores. They have several booths set up inside and there are always sales and discounts resulting in some fabulous deals! Like this antique child’s toolbox for $7.50 (- 20%!) And it had several of the tools still inside. I tried super hard to hide my excitement, but I don’t have a good poker face.

If tools aren’t your thing, how about this fun little nut cracker? He was still there when I left, so rush on out to scoop him up if you like nut crackers.

In the “Whoa! What the Heck is That” category, I discovered this rather busty machine. It turns out it was an old Dr. Scholl’s foot massager.

I thought these little spice drawers were interesting. But, when I pulled them out I discovered they weren’t drawers, but little square shakers.

I fell hard for this birds and bees carved glass plate. But, I couldn’t justify the price. It is heavy, french and truly beautiful, so I’m sure it was worth every penny.

One of the many things I bought from The ReSale Boutique were these Ralph Lauren platform flip flops. They are super comfy and may just be my new favorite shoes.

Next it was on to GCF or Goodwill Community Foundations. We went to two Goodwills and at the first one I scored this great metal storage chest for $23. The drawers look cheap, but the glides and construction are heavy duty. I have plans to make it less “girly” and use it for art supply storage in my studio. A big thank you goes to Kristen for insisting I buy it and helping me haul it to the register and out the door!

At the Brier Creek Goodwill, I met sweet Tonya who asked for my opinion on this table and 6 chair set. At under $100, the table was sturdy, but needed some TLC. Tonya has some plans to give it a makeover, and I told Tonya that I’m holding her to it!

I found these men’s shirts and an American flag (thanks Gwynne for pointing out the flag in the display case.) I have some patriotic plans for them, but I won’t tell you what they are yet. A little more about that flag, it is 100% cotton and was only $19.99. I didn’t open it up in the store, but when we unfolded it at home, it took up one entire wall in my son’s bedroom! This sucker is huge!

If you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, you may have been scared seen some of the stranger things that we saw while thrifting.

1. Before chia pet, there was straw bunny!

2. Everything looks better upholstered, well except a gigantic mirror.

3. Foot tall set of The Three Stooges figurines, make a beeline to Estatibles if you can’t live without them!

4. Rhinestone-encrusted nightmare-inducing fine art twins were pointed at and then we quickly ran away. SCARY!!!

We had a fabulous time. A special thanks to Courtney from The Joy of Decorating for organizing this year! Hopefully we’ll have some new recruits next year.


Make Your Own Fall Wreath from a Goodwill Sweater


If you’ve been following me for long, you were witness to my one wreath with many different looks for one year. Well, I’m ready for a change. So, I decided to create something completely different.

When I think of fall, I think of cooler weather, sweaters, autumn leaves and flowers. This wreath encompasses all those elements.

Lucky for me I had all the materials on hand. Especially the XL cable knit sweater that I picked up at Goodwill thinking I could make sweater vases out of it.


  • Wreath form
  • Old sweater
  • Fake flowers and leaves
  • Ribbon
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (or just needle and thread)


Start by cutting off the sleeve of the sweater.

Cut, the sleeve in half lengthwise. Then put the right sides together.

Stitch the ends together (try to line up the stripes or cable knitting.) Trim off any excess.

Open your sleeves up to give you one long length of sweater material.

Preheat the hot glue gun. Lay the wreath form on top of the sweater material.

Put a bead of hot glue on the back side of the wreath form and glue one edge of the sweater material to the wreath.

Squeeze out another bead of hot glue, wrap the other side of the sweater material up and glue it against the already glued piece.

Realistically, this is the backside of the wreath, but if you have a see through door like I do, you will want to roll under your raw edges to hide the seams.

Work in 3-4″ sections, adhering one side and then the other until you reach the end of your wreath. Cut your sweater material slightly longer than you need, then roll under the raw edge and glue it down.

Your wreath should resemble something like this:

Hot glue some leaves onto the wreath covering one of the seams.

Then add some flowers. And more leaves, and more flowers, until you have burned your fingers to smithereens!

Next tie one loop of ribbon to cover the top seam.

Tie more ribbon to the loop to give your wreath a more “substantial” bow.

And now you have a warm, cozy and colorful fall wreath! What do you think? I just want to snuggle up to it every time I walk through the door.

Have you started to decorate for fall? Do you have your wreath yet? I’d love to hear about your unique wreath project. And if you need more ideas, The Nester had a wreath link party last week!
Y’all have a fabulous weekend!



Sharing this craft with these fabulous ladies:

Addicted 2 Decorating

Home Stories A 2 Z

My Thrifting Score and New Blog Buddies


Yesterday was I <3 Thrifting Day around the nation. Thanks to Rashon Carraway, aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting, people went out and shopped for second hand items at their local thrift stores. I really hope this is an annual event!

Courtney from The Joy of Decorating, did a fabulous job organizing the Raleigh group of thrifters.

She even scheduled our lunch at Tijuana Flats (a great Mexican joint) and now I have a NEW favorite restaurant in Raleigh!

Several other local bloggers showed up. From left to right: Rae, Jay (future blogger and Amy’s boyfriend), Amy, Courtney, Abi, Carrie, Kristi and Me.

Here are a few things I learned about these fabulous people:

Rae (is known to her friends as Reesie) and she shares furniture with a girlfriend. They trade things back and forth, instead of buying new! Genius. Rae’s writes, a blog about fashion, style and the complexities of women. Check her out blog and let her know I sent you. I would love to go clothes shopping with Rae. Something tells me she would really help me step up my style.

Jay - Jay has been contemplating a blog in his head for a while now. He has a great sense of humor and likes all things Star Wars (I’m a Star Wars geek too, so I like that in a man!) He also tried to convince Amy that they needed an almost nude Santa doll in boxers and black boots for their own. I REALLY wish I had taken a picture. I have to convince Jay to bring over his box set of Star Wars movies so we can watch them back-to-back with my boys.

Amy – Amy is a friendly gal who waits quietly to get a word in. But, when she does, she has a lot to share. She pointed out this amazing pendant lamp made from cardboard.

I must have looked at it five times and never realized that it was made of cardboard. Amy’s blog is called She is a wonderful writer and has a writing style that keeps you entertained. Check out her post on photoshopping celebrities. I hope she’ll let me know next time she’s in town so we can hang and maybe shop again.

Courtney – She’s the gang leader. But, in the nicest of ways. She is a fun and vivacious creature who loved to ham it up for the camera.

Amy and Courtney hamming it up for the camera.

Courtney planned the I <3 Thrifting Day perfectly and led us through some great hidden treasures of Raleigh. Okay, maybe they aren’t all hidden, but I live under a rock. Courtney writes the blog, The Joy of Decorating, a blog about home decor and much much more! Little did I know that she is practically a neighbor of mine! Hopefully we can get together again soon. Oh, and she also put together little goodie bags for all of us. What a sweetheart! Thanks Courtney!

Abi – Some of you may already recognize Abi. She is the writer of, a blog that wanders around sharing home decor, diy projects, travel and more. She also writes a twice a month feature for Centsational Girl called Best of the Blogosphere.

Abi was a hoot to hang with. She has a great fun-loving personality. She fell hard for this dresser turned into a bench with storage. But, the sales people were unwilling to budge on their (in my opinion, inflated) prices.

Abi covets this cool dresser turned bench.

Their loss! Hey Abi, maybe we can get together to build one for you! I’ll supply the power tools, you supply the dresser.

Carrie – I actually met Carrie (and Kristi) when we arrived back from Blissdom. They stopped me at the Raleigh airport to ask if I had just come from the conference. It was really great seeing her again. Carrie is a busy mama. She writes the blog. PLUS, she has an Etsy store. AND, she also is a graphic and web designer. If you need a new blog design, Carrie is your gal. You can view her portfolio and get more information by visiting

I’m hoping Carrie will invite me for coffee sometime so we can talk graphic design and blog stuff ;-). We certainly didn’t get enough time to talk on Saturday.

Kristi - As I mentioned, we actually met in January on our way home from Blissdom. I learned that Kristi and I have the same taste. She scored this cute shirt and mirror at Goodwill.

Kristi's thrifty finds.

She’s just lucky she saw it before me or I would have snagged them! Kristi is the creative genius behind The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Slipcovers. Seriously, this is a great resource should you want to sew your own slipcover. Just take a look at her blog to see some of the many slipcovers she has sewn. I wish I had found her before I sewed one for my sister’s glider. Hopefully she’ll come over one weekend so we can chat, eat chocolate and sew together ;-D.

It was really great getting to meet these fantastic women + one man. There is nothing like hanging with a bunch of bloggers to make you feel welcome and know that they “get you”.

I met the group at Goodwill where Becky from the corporate office showed up to talk to us and take our pictures.

Rae, Becky, Abi and Carrie

Becky was explaining to me what projects Goodwill funds with the money from the retail shops. Not only does Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC provide jobs for over 450 people in our region. They also have a nature center complete with a greenhouse at their corporate office for adults with disabilties? This center is amazing! They provide learning and skill development for almost 100 adults with disabilities, while at the same time growing plants, flowers and vegetables. Last year they donated 3,300 lbs. of produce from the nature center to a local food bank! If you have a minute, watch this video for more information.

Finally, funds from the retail stores also go to an online computer learning resource. At you can learn how to use everything from Microsoft Office programs, to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Plus, there are online learning resources for learning english, math, resume writing and much more!  I will definitely think about this next time I’m shopping at Goodwill (which will probably be next week.)

Here are just a few pictures from our day of thrifting:

ReTails a thrift shop that benefits low cost spaying and neutering. A great cause! Click on the picture to learn more.

What the heck is it?

Abi shows her claim to this vintage wine opener.

Who's shooting who? Kristi taking my picture and vice versa.

Courtney and Abi are having way too much fun!

Courtney and me at Goodwill

Carrie, Kristi and Rae at Tijuana Flats

Abi and Me trying hard to get a good picture of the two of us.

My I <3 Thrifting Day Haul - Less than $60 for everything!

Striped fabric belt and a paneled cupboard thingy. Courtney helped convince me to buy it for only $20! But, I have some great plans for it. You'll just have to wait and see.

Wire baskets and spray paint

Old atlas, a yellowed book, big Ball mason jar and some Hardy Boy books for my 7 yr. old eager reader

Lightweight and super cheap messenger bag

Glass bowls, a vase, and gift box

So, did you go thrifting on I <3 Thrifting Day? What did you find? Did you score or strike out? Inquiring minds want to know!

Linkin’ up with Rhoda’s Thrifty Treasures Party.

I “Heart” Thrifting Day! Saturday, July 9th


Do you know this man?

That is
Rashon Carraway, aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting. This designer/blogger has started a day in honor of thrifting! He says: “thrifting isn’t a TREND it’s a LIFESTYLE”   Amen!

He is also selling T-shirts to spread the message (I “heart” thrifting.) This is a man with a message that is close to my heart. I love to thrift. I love to reuse. I love to recycle. I love to upcycle! Breathing new lift into cast off objects gives me a huge amount of joy.

Speaking of Joy, Courtney from The Joy of Decorating, has organized a Raleigh I <3 Thrifting Day excursion.

Here is the itinerary:

I will be joining them (hopefully from the first stop) and then will be finishing up at my favorite haunt: the Habitat ReStore. If you would like to join us; I’d love to see you, meet you, and share what goes through my head when I thrift. You can get a sneak peek from my post about what I see at the ReStore (from last summer.)

So, won’t you join us?

Raleigh schedule:

10:00 am. – Antiques to Zippers - 1689-A North Market Drive, Raleigh

11:00 am – Goodwill - 1677 North Market Drive, Raleigh

12:00 p.m. – ReTails Thrift Shop - 1608 North Market Drive, Raleigh

1:00 p.m. – Lunch at Tijuana Flats (Fun place for a group photo!) - 1310 East Millbrook Rd., Raleigh

2:00 p.m. – Revival Antiques - 1505 Capital Boulevard #14, Raleigh

3:00 p.m. – Habitat for Humanity ReStore – 2420 Raleigh, Blvd. Raleigh



Making a Citrus Striped Cake Stand


As promised, I have a tutorial for making a cake stand using a plate and a candlestick. This is nothing new, and if you’ve hopped around the blogosphere, you have probably seen some variations of this project.

These are a few of the projects that sparked my creativity when I found a striped candlestick at a my friend Su’s yard sale.

Centsational Girl’s sherbert colored dessert stands are pure and sweet eye candy:

Crafty Nest used simple clear vases, candlesticks, and dishes to make single and multi-level cake stands:

And House of Hepworth’s turned a cheese dome into a cloche!

So, armed with my striped candlestick, I scoured my local Goodwill for a plate that had some citrus color for my stand. I finally found the perfect plate, but had to give myself a pep talk to buy it. It was perfect, except for the meal that was baked onto it. Ewww. Seriously, it looked like someone had just eaten off the plate and then donated it. GROSS PEOPLE!

But, alas, it was the perfect  color, and when I got home I drenched it in Get Clean Basic H2 Degreaser and wiped it clean BEFORE cleaning it in my sink. (I think I might be a tad germ phobic.)



  • Plate
  • Candlestick (or other base)
  • Sandpaper
  • E-6000 glue
  • Rubbing Alchohol
  • Paper towels
  • Books or weights

Begin by thoroughly cleaning the plate and candlestick.

Using a fine grit sandpaper, rough up the top of the candlestick and the base of the plate where you will be bonding them.

Clean the plate and candlestick with rubbing alcohol to remove any residues.

Squeeze out E-6000 on the rim of the candlestick.

Center the candlestick in the middle of the bottom of the plate.

Set books on top of the candlestick to weigh it down while the glue dries.

Let the glue dry overnight, then turn your cake plate over. And, serve up some wonderful dessert…

…or simply make some fruit more appealing, …

…or use it as a plant stand…

But, personally, I prefer the dessert!

What about you? How would you use this citrus striped cake plate?
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Re-Sizing and Dressing Up a Goodwill Sweater

I owe a huge hug of gratitude to Kathleen at Grosgrain Fabulous. She posted 30 days of sweater embellishments on her blog. In those tutorials she took the most ho-hum sweaters from Goodwill and turned them into Cinderella-worthy tops.
Because of her inspiring transformations, I was able to re-vamp two sweaters for the Blissdom conference, saving my bank account some precious pennies. (I used the savings to buy two pairs of cute PJs. Apparently PJs are mandatory after conference hours.)
And now, on to the transformation!
I started by resizing the sweater per Kathleen’s tutorial HERE.
Put the sweater on inside out and pin excess starting under the arm and ending at the hip.
Carefully (very carefully unless you want to become a pin cushion) remove the sweater. Stitch along the pinned line.
Put the sweater back on to check the fit.
If it looks good, go ahead and trim off the excess. (This reminds me of a nip and tuck surgery. {Sigh} If only trimming fat was this easy.)


Next, grab some of those adorable felt roses we made the other day. (Rose tutorial HERE)  Lay them onto the sweater and play with the placements.


When you are happy with the roses, pin them on with safety pins. 


Sew on the roses with needle and thread.
And remove the safety pin once the rose is secure.
That’s it. Beautiful new cardigan from a $3 Goodwill sweater!


I added a knit belt that I sewed some roses and a hook and eye clasp on.


Poor Buddy (aka Pretty Handy Dog), he’s not so sure about me leaving for Blissdom tomorrow.

Check out some more Goodwill and thrift store fashionista outfits at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

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Ballard Pear Knockoffs

Have you seen these deliciously rustic pears from Ballard Designs?

They are really adorable until you see the price tag: $49 each! What?! Obviously I’m not the only one who thinks that price is outrageous, because when I googled “Ballard Pear” to find the above photo for you, I stumbled across Thrifty Decor Chic’s own version of the pear.

As fate would have it, I happened to come across a pear that I found at my local Goodwill a few weeks ago. I bought this pear and gourd. They were quite an ugly pair (hee, hee.)

But, the price was irresistible at $2.49 a piece.

I started by sanding the surface of the pear and gourd lightly.

Then I sprayed them with white primer.

And finished them off with Rustoleum’s Heirloom White Satin finish.

And that is how they sat for several weeks while I tried to decide what to do to them next. Until I happened upon those adorable pears in the recent Ballard Designs catalog. Then I knew exactly what to do with my pear and gourd.

Starting with the gourd, I mixed some acrylic paint, using raw sienna (dark brown), burnt sienna (red brown) and yellow ochre until I had a nice golden brown antiquing color. After pouring out a small circle of acrylic matte medium (you can use glazing medium or modge podge if you like), I used a coarse fan brush to dip my brush in the medium and the paint, creating instant custom tinted glaze!

Working in small areas, I began painting on the glaze dry brush style (wipe off almost all the paint so you see streaks). My strokes were in random directions and brushing back and forth a few times to blend the color out (being careful to leave the brush strokes for visual interest.)

I also used a rag to dab around the gourd until I liked the results. Once the gourd was painted I used some raw sienna on a smaller brush to paint the stem.

For the pear, I squeezed out some acrylic paint in dark green, off white, and a creamy yellow. I mixed them until I got a nice apple green color. I purposely wanted a vibrant color because I knew they would lose some punch after adding the brown antiquing glaze.


To paint the pear’s leaf, I used a dark brown (raw sienna) and a yellow ochre for the highlights. Acrylic paint is really forgiving because if you don’t like it you can paint over it. The leaf consists of about four layers of playing and blending before I got the look I liked.

After the green had dried, I used the same technique with the fan brush in the brown glaze until the whole pear was covered.

I couldn’t be happier with the results! $5 was my total cost. I saved myself about $95 for two decor items (not to mention shipping costs.) Luckily, I already had the paints and brushes on hand.

Did you see that ladder above? Yes, it is the other half of this ladder! It underwent a little transformation. You’ll want to see it now!