You might think gifts courtesy of your local thrift store sound like a poor-- and even tacky-- solution to gift-giving occasions. But in fact, with a bit of planning ahead, some well-chosen items, and knowing your recipient's interests, it's possible to pull together lovely, unique gifts that are as meaningful as they are economical.
Like this housewarming gift.
Shirley, a fellow blogger (you can visit her blog, Proof Positivity here), recently had the good news that Habitat for Humanity would be constructing her a home of her very own, removing her family from the challenging and unsafe conditions they're currently living in. Shirley has always managed to look on the bright side of things, in spite of the significant obstacles put in her path. And it's the overall good nature and stick-with-itness she displays every day that inspired me to send her a little token of support and encouragement.
It all started by knowing Shirley's favorite color was blue-- and this cheery bluebird plate, found at the Salvation Army thrift store.
I liked the idea of a blue-bird of happiness theme-- something to signify this being the start to better days ahead for Shirley and her children. And the rest of the items seemed to fall into line from there. Like these happy bluebird drinking glasses...
A glass "art" bluebird to catch the sun... Some new, incredibly-soft dishtowels and dishcloths... A teacup, printed with delicate blue flowers... And all of it, to fit in a large blue vintage-style mixing bowl.
The real trick of assembling the basket was in not expecting to find all the right items in one day of thrifting. But for regular thrifters, making this sort of time is not only easy, it's a joy!
I've spoken in the past about the pieces of grape-patterned milk glass I've been accumulating for a family friend who'd wanted to supplement her collection.
I started early this year, thrifting interesting and useful pieces as I spied them at appropriate prices. In the end, I'll likely place them in colorful tissue paper within a large Rubbermaid tub, so the packaging will be just as functional as the dishes inside.
I'm making a list of the pieces I've found, so by the time Christmas rolls around, there will be a full set for at least 4. You can see here, I'm well on the way-- with four goblets, four snack sets with cups, a platter, two centerpiece bowls, a vase, candlesticks, cream and sugar servers, several saucers and sundae dishes and a few other odd pieces.
Another little gift collection is being assembled following the theme of author Frances Hodgson Burnett. The recipient collects dolls, and this little porcelain lady from the Red White and Blue thrift store looked very much like the character Mary from The Secret Garden. Assembled with a copy of the films "The Secret Garden" and "A Little Princess" and a book featuring the same tales, this-- and with, perhaps, some seeds, garden gloves and a trowel, will make a nice basket.
Another friend has, for some reason, become enamored with the character Hello Kitty. And given Kitty's recent big resurgence, this has empowered some very good Kitty-related gifting.
These post-Christmas sale Christmas ornaments were snapped up and put away for future gifting...
And this whimsical Hello Kitty printed purse will not only act as great built-in packaging for the ornament gift, but will likely give my friend a laugh.
For baby showers, there are a number of clever containers you can find at thrift stores and fill with brand new baby items. For a friend who was planning a Peter Rabbit theme for her child's room, I had fun repurposing Easter items into funny bunny decor...
I filled a metal basket made of bright orange "carrots" with fresh new cotton swabs. And the little ceramic rabbit below is a clever cotton ball dispenser!
The items were delivered to my friend in a small pine toy chest, which I woodburnt and painted with the Peter Rabbit theme. (You can read all about how that was done here.)
Lastly, the thrift store is ideal for delicate, one-of-a-kind vintage items.
The two pretty rhinestone covered boxes below contain vintage clip earrings in pink and blue. The luster cup reads "To a Friend," And the blue Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic book is a photo album that came from Goodwill. Even the packing material is a pretty vintage sheet, washed and cut to line the box. (You can read about that basket here.)
So whether you have sports nuts on your list, friends who adore vintage, fans of a particular cartoon character, or just someone you want to send some well-wishes, thrift stores can be terrific ways of pulling together smart, useful and even stylish gift baskets.
The only limit, really, is your imagination and a little time.
- Missed last Wednesday's post on Crazy Hats, Cool Grapes and Crystal Settings? click here.
- Missed Sunday's post where we went antiquing north of Pittsburgh? Join us here!