Thrift Like Me

This blog, with its plethora of topics, has turned into a sort of “look what I got” brag-bag.  It is what it is.

Granted, I feel like I have every right to brag about some of my amazing finds that have come from the dusty and disorganized racks at thrift stores.  And I only do it in hopes of inspiring others to go on a treasure hunt, save a lot of money, and more importantly, express their creativity while becoming greener citizens.  Yes, thrifting is so eco-friendly!

Anyways, I thought I’d share some more wisdom on what I do and how I do it.  Friends and family are always asking me, “How do you find these amazing things at thrift stores?”  Well readers…here you go!

The scanning method.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the quantity and underwhelmed by the quality of items in a second-hand store.  After becoming a serious thrifter, I’ve developed a technique for going through the racks quickly.

a) Quickly look at tag

b) Look at the garment to see if you like it

c) Check size

d) Check for any damage/flaws

I am also going to suggest that you smell the item.  I know that sounds funky.  But do it.  Thrift-stores usually “sanitize” clothing.  Which basically means they spray the same stuff on clothes/fabrics that the bowling alleys spray into rented bowling shoes.  But this doesn’t mean that some smells from the previous owner don’t linger.  The most common is cigarette smoke (yuck!), which is hard to get out in the wash.


Find a cheap $2-any-item dry cleaner.  You will be using it for all the things you buy that can’t be washed.

For everything else, I suggest hot water and bleach for whites or buy the bleach for colors.  For people grossed out by second-hand clothes, just think, the clothes you buy at the department store are not really that different.  I worked at a clothing retail store once, and every night we would throw a lot of stuff on the unclean floor before we refolded it. People also try things on in the dressing room, leaving oils and whatever else on the clothes.  You’re going to wash it either way.

 Don’t always rely on the tag sizes.

These are my reasons why:

a) Sometimes, due to previous washing or other random factors, a large might actually look good on a person who usually wears a small.

b) A lot of today’s fashions are loose blouses and oversized sweaters.  Embrace the boho, thriftique-chic!

c) If you find a designer dress that retails for $300 for $5 and it’s just a little bit too big, a simple trip to the tailor and a $15 alteration later will still make that dress an incredible bargain.  It might even fit better after alterations than if it was in your size!

 Use other people as a resource.

Check the dressing rooms, “go back” rack, and the beginnings of racks/racks near the dressing room.


You’re not the only one who knows a good deal.  Goodwill/second-hand stores aren’t just for the low-income anymore.  People like the “thrill of the chase”, and you will see all sorts of bargain hunters, thrifters, and fashionistas in second-hand stores nowadays.  For many, like myself, it’s a hobby or a passion we just can’t get enough of.  So, while we all would like to say we found that awesome designer shirt hidden between a grungy t-shirt and grandma’s blouse, it’s likely that someone else has gone through the racks thoroughly and pulled some amazing finds.  Maybe they pulled a fantastic shirt that didn’t fit so they either put it on the “go back” rack, or, if they were lazy, left it in the dressing room.

Consider location.

In some instances, I’ve found that the quality of merchandise at thrift stores directly correlates to the location.  For example, the Goodwill in Williamsburg, Virginia, has the best selection of designer clothes, and clothes that appeal to a younger crowd.  Perhaps this is because the College of William & Mary is a few blocks away.  Maybe this store is filled by student donations.

 Deals & Discounts.

Get in the know about how you can save even more money!

  1. Goodwill donation punch card (Central Virginia and Tidewater Goodwill stores) – you get a punch for every donation.  When you reach 4 donations, you get %20 off your purchase.
  2. Student ID discount – The Goodwill in Williamsburg, Virginia has a %20 off the entire purchase if you show a student ID.
  3. Goodwill tag “color” discount (Central Virginia and Tidewater Goodwill stores) – Every week, a certain tag color (usually that of older items) is 50% off
  4. Discounts on certain days (Northern Virginia Goodwill stores) – Customer Appreciation day is Tuesday.  All clothing is %25 off.
  5. Discounts for items that have been in the store too long 
  6. Frequent shopper discounts
  7. Coupons on store website
  8. Discounts for seniors 

 Wear clothes that you can try clothes on over.

Some thrift stores have dressing rooms.  Some don’t.  That’s just how it goes.  Most Goodwill and Salvation Army stores have them, but I’ve found the Value Village stores do not.  If you’re shopping for skirts or dresses, wear leggings or tights.  If you’re in the market for a new shirt, wear a tank top.  Don’t be bashful to try things on over your clothes in the middle of the store.

 Make friends with the employees.

Ask what days they get shipments in so you’re first in line to see all the new merchandise.

And the most important…Prepare to spend the time (I suggest 1-2 hours).

I was in a Goodwill one day when a group of twenty-something girls walked in.  They were shopping next to me, and I overheard one girl say: “I don’t understand how anyone finds anything at Goodwill.  This stuff is all ugly.”  True.  A lot of it is ugly.  I probably wouldn’t wear about 97% of the clothes in Goodwill.  But she said this as soon as she walked into the store and started looking at a rack of clothes.  If you expect to walk into a second-hand store and have that designer dress in your size sitting in front of you then you’re in the wrong business.  People ask me all the time, “How do you find all these awesome clothes?”  A large part of what I do involves patience and dedication.  On this blog, you get to see all the awesome things I find second-hand shopping.  But what you don’t see are the hours I spend in a store going through each and every item of clothing or whatever else I’m looking for that day.  I might spend 3 hours in a store only to find one shirt I like. And, it’s dirty work.  I’ve had allergy attacks in dusty thrift stores.  I’ve sweated my butt of in non-airconditioned ones.

I hope my suggestions help in your thrifting adventures.  And as always, please feel free to ask any questions or leave comments!  I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

 Happy Thrifting! 


The Liebster Award

This is really, really belated, I know.  However, I recently got into to maintaining my blog on a regular basis and I wanted to save this fun post for a time when I am nurturing my blog like a good blog mamma should.  I also hadn’t been following many blogs at this point, so wanted to wait until I could pass this recognition onto some deserving bloggers 🙂

Anyways, back in January, I was selected by Becky at BEPCITY for the Liebster Award!  She, like me, blogs about many different topics and experiences.  Thanks for the award!  What exactly is the Liebster Award?  It’s an award given by a fellow blogger to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.  Also, did you know that “Liebster” means “dearest” in German?  Interesting facts.


Here are the rules:

Share 11 facts about yourself.

Answer the awarder’s 11 questions.

Ask 11 questions of your own.

Nominate 11 bloggers.

Facts About Me!


1. I can’t wear adult size shoes.  They aren’t made in my size!  I think my feet stopped growing in elementary school and I currently wear a CHILDREN’S size 2/2.5.  Even an adult size 4 (when you can find them, which is rare) doesn’t fit me!  I find most of my shoes at Target…sometimes I can find shoes at this specialty small-footed person website called Cinderella of Boston.

2. I am half-Chinese and half-Caucasian (some sort of German/Scottish/English mutt).  I’ve gotten asked “What are you?” ever since I can remember – some of the way off guesses…Hawaiian, Italian, Hispanic of some sort.  Also, my dad is Chinese – most people assume it’s my mom.

3. The farthest I’ve traveled is to Vietnam.  In total, I’ve been to 8 foreign countries.  Wish it could be more!

4. I transferred colleges three times.  I started at American University (freshmen year), then went to Virginia Commonwealth University (for one semester), and then The College of William & Mary for the rest of my college career.  I’m so glad I ended up at W&M!  Also, I only went to VCU for one semester because it was close to home and I missed the deadline to apply to W&M.

5. I’m addicted to Diet Coke. I can’t break the habit.

6. Growing up, I was a HUGE theatre kid.  I spent five consecutive summers performing with a teen theatre company.  I went to the same performing arts school Jason Mraz went to in Richmond.  I did so much theatre in high school.  Even though I didn’t major in theatre in college, I took two acting classes and I still try and fit the extracurricular theatre “thing” in whenever I can.

7. When it comes to food, I’ll try everything once.  Like weird stuff.  Like intestines and all the nasty bits.  Part of growing up in a half-Chinese family, I guess!

8. When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a roller coaster designer.  Too bad I suck at math…

9. I am a Delta Gamma!

10. I was a huge Alias fan in middle/high school.  I didn’t want my parents to know I was watching it for like the first two seasons because it was somewhat violent, so I would always make up some lie that I was watching something else upstairs and they wouldn’t bother me.  Then my mom found out I was watching it and she got equally as hooked on it!  I’m currently re-watching all the seasons on DVD!

11. When my high school senior class voted for superlatives, I was voted the “most outspoken” and “most flirtatious” female.  When we took pictures for the yearbook, I had to take the picture with my ex-high school boyfriend who got voted “most flirtatious” male, and who, at the time, I despised.  Pretty sure I lack all ability to flirt now, but I am still very outspoken.

Answers to BEPCITY’s questions:

1. What is your favorite/go-to item in your wardrobe?

Probably my jeggings, leggings, or skinny jeans.  They are perfect to wear with a cute, long top.  And yes, I do consider them pants for you haters out there.

2. If you could be on any reality show, which one would it be?

Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”, even though the final season aired last year.  I love him and  I’d love to show him my hometown!

3. Have you ever had braces?

I had braces in 5th grade to 7th grade!  They were absolutely horrible and I also had rubber bands at one point too!  I remember the day I got them was the day right after Halloween – horrible timing!  About two hours after they put them on, one of the brackets fell off my bottom teeth (they had only put a wire in the top at the first visit).  I was so upset and crying because I thought it was my fault, but apparently it happens a lot.  In better news, I found out I was getting them off the visit right before the final visit.  I feel like most people know months in advance, and it came as a welcomed surprise to me!

4. What was the first CD/cassette you ever purchased?

It was a classical music CD from the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.  I’m a nerd.

5. What drink do you order at a restaurant?

Non-Alcoholic: Diet Coke | Alcoholic: Vodka soda or a local beer, if they have it.

6. What kind of camera do you use?

I was using a Canon Elf (I think?) but now I just use my iPhone 5 camera because it’s actually better quality and I can do all the fun Instagram filters and such.  I would love a DSLR camera, but I’m poor so that is not happening.

7. If you could change your name to anything what would you choose?

I like my name as it is now, however, in middle school I wanted to be called “Star”.  What a weirdo!

8. Do you now or did you ever play on any sports teams?

No sports for me growing up.  But I run and spend a lot of time in the gym now.

9. If you formed a band what would your name be and what kind of music would you play?

I love indie-pop-rock music, so the music would probably be like Mumford & Sons or The Avett Brothers.  I’m horrible with band names.  However, those image capture things you type into  so the computer knows you’re human always comes up with some catchy phrases.  I’ve always thought those would be good, unique band names.

10. Who was your first celebrity crush?

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.

11. Do you subscribe to any magazines?

I actually started subscribing to Glamour after my mom had a mysterious subscription to it last year.  Ironically, I got a mysterious subscription to large print Reader’s Digest.  And the secret subscriptions were sent to different addresses and my address I only lived at for one year.  We think the subscriptions got mixed up (she should have gotten the Reader’s Digest, as she’s mid-50s and mid-twenty me should have gotten the Glamour).  We asked everyone we knew and still can’t figure out who subscribed us.  Anyways, I ended up loving Glamour, so I resubscribed this year!

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Who doesn’t love a secret agent man? Image Source

What I Want to Know!

1. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?

2. What was your favorite subject in school (high school or college)?

3. What is your favorite season – winter, spring, summer, or fall – and why?

4. If you had to pick a “last meal” (sorry to be morbid, I’m a foodie), what would it be?

5. Are you an early morning or late night person?

6. Do you have any pets?

7. Have you ever dyed your hair any crazy colors?

8. Did you have a favorite teacher?  Who was it?

9. How many cell phones have you lost?

10. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

11. Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it?

You’re Fabulous!

Here are the blogs I’ve nominated!  I’ve mostly been frequenting food/thrifting/travel blogs so check these out if any of those topics interest you!

Babska’s Journey

Student living and me.

Thrifty Magnolia

Gatsby’s Green Light

Modern Miss Thrift

Urbohem (ur·bo·em)

grub like a girl.

fille & feline

Thrift Your Heart Out

Coti’s Travels

Modern  Mouthful

Phew. That was a long post!  Hope you’ve enjoyed learning about all my quirks and maybe you’ll find a new blog you just happen to love in my list of awardees!

Happy Blogging!

Inspired Documents

“howdoyoudocument” has existed in cyberspace as my blog’s namesake for a few years, even though I haven’t been diligently blogging for more than 5 months.  For me, blogging has been one of those things that I start out with good intentions; I’m going to maintain it and have engaging and captivating posts everyday that will draw in hundreds of followers that eagerly want to read my content, that, well, at least I find interesting.  And when I’ve been posting for two weeks and have a grand total of 3 followers, 2, which are those pesky “make your blog your business if you use my services”  followers…you know who you are…I get discouraged, and bored, and I also get busy with other things, or draft half-written, unorganized thoughts, and the blog suffers.

But this time around, I’ve been semi-diligent about keeping posts up to date and providing my 30 + followers with engaging content, and that’s if you consider my life experiences engaging.  I do.  Sometimes.

So you might wonder, where does the name of this blog, “howdoyoudocument”, come from? (or you might not, and in this case, you may want to be lame and stop reading)  Well, aside from all blogs being electronic ways to “document” our lives, passions and advice, I was initially inspired by one of my favorite rock opera musicals, RENT, and its namesake song – lyrics, by the late Jonathan Larson, below.

How do you document real life
When real life’s getting more like fiction each day?
Headlines, bread-lines blow my mind
And now this deadline, eviction or pay…rent

How do you write a song when the chords sound wrong
Though they once sounded right and rare?
When the notes are sour
Where is the power you once had to ignite the air?

We’re hungry and frozen, some life that we’ve chosen
How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay?
Last year’s rent?

How do you start a fire when there’s nothing to burn
And it feels like something’s stuck in your flue?
How can you generate heat when you can’t feel your feet?
And they’re turning blue

You light up a mean blaze with posters and screenplays
How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay?
Last year’s rent?

How do you stay on your feet when on every street?
It’s trick or treat and tonight it’s trick
Welcome back to town I should lie down
Everything’s brown and uh-oh, I feel sick

Where is he? Getting dizzy
How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay? How we gonna pay?
Last year’s rent?

The music ignites the night with passionate fire
The narration crackles and pops with incendiary wit
Zoom in as they burn the past to the ground
And feel the heat of the future’s glow

How do you leave the past behind
When it keeps finding ways to get to your heart?
It reaches way down deep and tears you inside out
‘Til you’re torn apart, rent

How can you connect in an age
Where strangers, landlords, lovers
Your own blood cells betray?

What binds the fabric together
When the raging, shifting winds of change
Keep ripping away

Draw a line in the sand and then make a stand
Use your camera to spar, use your guitar
When they act tough, you call they’re bluff

We’re not gonna pay, we’re not gonna pay
We’re not gonna pay, last year’s rent
This year’s rent, next year’s rent

Rent, rent, rent, rent, rent
We’re not gonna pay rent
‘Cause everything is rent

The poignant lyrics really hit a nerve for me; “Real life’s getting more like fiction each day…” And on a large scale, it really is.  It is so hard to digest the horrible things that happen in our world on a daily basis.  And it’s very easy to focus on all the “bad” in our world; the news is constantly documenting the negative, but maybe, just maybe we should decide to focus on documenting the positives.  Maybe we should stand defiant against the evils of the world.  You know, measure our lives in love, as the musical emphasizes later on.

Not to sugarcoat everything – a lot sucks in this world.  There are too many people living in poverty for me to say everything is sunshine and rainbows.  We just witnessed one of the worst mass killings of innocent school children in my lifetime, maybe even my parent’s lifetime, and we document that with politicians yelling at each other over gun control.  People aren’t allowed to love who they want – they aren’t allowed to stand next to their sick companion in the hospital because some stupid law over an antiquated institution does not allow them too…anyways I digress.

We learn that the past is hard and it has the power to affect the present, but we’ve got to try our best to keep our heads up and focus on the positives so that our hardships do not consume us.  This is difficult to do.  I am well aware.  The lyrics, “forget regret, or life is yours to miss…” have, I’m sure, gotten hundreds of RENT-heads through difficult times.

What RENT, the musical, ends up teaching us  is that, even in the worst of times, there are small things to be happy about.  And that we have to take a hold of our lives and live them fully.  Even though we might not be where we thought we would, when times get tough, we still have the power to make change to things within our power.  That everybody lives an important life.  It also reminds us to cherish the people we care about because we don’t know how long they will be on this earth…how long we will be on this earth…

…and this post has gotten a bit wordy…and rambling, I apologize!  I don’t even know where I’m going with this, except to say that RENT has been inspirational and this blog is an important way for me to express myself; having a medium to do that is priceless.  This blog, is how I choose to document my real life – a life filled with amazing people, food, travel and creativity.  A life of ups and downs.  Of course, when documenting, we have to learn to focus on living our life first…sometimes I get obsessed with the documenting (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc.) that I forget to live.  So remember to live, and to live a life that makes you happy.

How do you document? 

Love Letters

115 Westover Avenue.  Williamsburg, Virginia.

I previously wrote about how our lives are affected by our living situations.  And I really got to thinking about it because I’ve been a bit of a transient lately.  I guess that’s a characteristic of post-grads; we’re trying to find our “place” (professionally, physically, mentally, socially), and with this comes moving around.  I think the places we live have an impact on our lives.  Maybe to some people, where they live is trivial, but not for me, because when we aren’t working or being social, where we live is where we spend a majority of our time.  So many “factors of place” exist:  Do we live in a city, and have closer access to nightlife?  Or do we live in the suburbs and take things more slowly.  Do we live in an apartment building, making friends with our neighbors down the hall, or a house on an acre lot and occasionally wave to our neighbors while driving in the neighborhood, but never actually stop to converse?  Is there a roommate, or a significant other living there? Are there pets?

And where do we live?  In a quaint college town, or on the cement streets of a major city?  Maybe we live halfway across the world?  Or maybe with the parents because we’re trying to find a job or save money.

These decisions of place impact our lives, our mentality, and they say a lot about each of us.  So I wanted to devote the next few blog posts to the “places” I’ve lived, have grown and have experienced.  I’m pretty sure there will be many more in my life, but I wanted to write “love letters” to all the places I have lived and have impacted my development.  So here it goes…first, to the cute little two bedroom house on Westover in Williamsburg, VA that I lived in in the fall of 2009.

Dear cute little Westover bungalow,

I transferred to W&M second-semester Sophomore year, and had lived in the dorms right before you.  Even though circumstances occurred that only let me live within your walls for a few short months, I still think about how you were perfectly situated for me to begin my Junior year of college at William & Mary and establish myself in a great social scene.  Shortly after I moved into you, I found myself newly single, and…wait for it…ready to mingle.  You were a cute little house, that was never inherited by a frat, and maintained your dignity, even though you existed in a block of houses with sticky beer floors and couches from the 80s.  Just a few blocks from the Delis and a shorter walk to the Units, I came back to you, many nights, inebriated, but happy.  I had found my place at this wonderful school in a quaint little town.

When I was newly single, I broke you in with a party that was too big for your 900 square feet, and made friends with guys in the fraternity I ended up hanging out with for the next two years because I no longer had that “other” priority.  You hosted many a classy DG pregame, and your halls were frequented by a bunch of sorats dressed up like trophy wives, or “prey” for a predators and prey themed mixer…and it was always a good time.

Trophy Wives Pregaming for Colonial Downs
Sorats on Halloween

I experienced so many emotions under your roof.  Your floors strewn with notes and drafts of reports, late nights of frustration and stresses of a college Junior.  Many naps were had.  Crying sessions too.  And you, and Wendy’s chicken sandwiches, got me through many hungover mornings where I regretted being alive.  I lost my first love when I resided there, and came back from bars, with only you to take care of me as I cried because I didn’t want to be alone.  I found my next love, and experienced so many of the exciting things that come within the first few months of a relationship.  I kissed in the rain on your back porch, and you witnessed many conversations about life between love #2 that carried on until the sun rose.  I learned how to cook and was wooed by many a romantic dinner, or a surprise visit…

Pink Wigs and a Cute Kitchen

And do you remember the dog and the foster kittens?  Housemate’s elderly dog lived there too, but soon moved back home because she wasn’t “happy”.  And then the kittens, while cute, were horribly smelly, runny-eyed kittens that lived in a 3×5 ft. cage with their mother that housemate didn’t run by me because she wanted to “surprise me” with them.  Housemate’s “great idea”…I still don’t know.  I’m a huge cat lover, but when housemate got sick and had to go home for a month, they became my responsibility, even though I didn’t sign the paperwork.  And because I didn’t sign up for kitten duty, they were quickly returned to the humane society with or without housemate’s approval.

Why did we have to part?  Well housemate had some medical issues and her mother, rather harshly, insisted I find other living arrangements so she could live with her daughter.  I wasn’t on the lease, and I didn’t want to deal with housemate’s abrasive guardian, so, after a huge breakdown, that love #2 got me through, and the parents came and rescued me from.  I moved on to a nice little apartment that the parents moved me into since I was in the middle of midterms.

The next place, though filled with love and made into a home for the next two years, was not you.  I thought about you a lot, wishing that, one day, I could live within your four walls again.  You were a huge influence to my time at W&M.



You All ROCK!

Hi Readers!

So I just want to take this moment to thank all of the people who read my blog and who have subscribed as a Follower in the past few months!  I have reached the 25 followers mark! You guys rock!  g.jpg

I know the content in my blog can be a little bit all over the place (you might see travel plans one day, and my fitness progress the next!), but it focuses on the things I’m truly passionate about in my life.  I want to encourage others to be equally passionate and share my passion with them!  I really am so excited that my blog appeals to you in some way, shape or form!

I sincerely hope to dedicate more time to my blog, especially as I continue on my personal journey.  I may be posting more fitness-related posts as I am currently involved in a really intense exercise program and want to share my results to inspire others to embrace wellness.  I may also be on the job hunt once again in the next month as my temporary job comes to an end.  While finances will be tight, I think it will allow me to seek out what I truly want to be doing with my life, whether it be a career in the fitness industry, going abroad to teach English or staying in the DC area (or a mix of all of them!).

It’s definitely time to do some soul searching.  Anyways, I just wanted to send you all a little update and thank you for the Follows!  I absolutely love sharing my interests and passion with others, and by reading my blog, you are helping me do that!

Happy Reading!

Getting Ziggy With It

Note: Originally posted on my old blog on 10.5.2011

So my project has been inspired by the Chevron rug painting trend that has become pretty popular.  Basically you take a flatwoven rug, stencil or measure and tape your zig-zag chevron lines, and paint!

I already had a $5 rug from Ross that I bought 5 months ago for the entryway.  It’s made of synthetic fibers, and most of the blogs I’ve read about painting rugs have used cotton or natural fiber rugs.  I think cotton/natural fiber rugs take the paint better, whereas synthetic rugs tend to absorb a lot of paint and you have to do multiple layers.  Anywho, I needed to practice painting a rug before I get started on another Chevron rug project with some nice natural-fiber rugs from target.  So while I’m pretty content with the outcome, I hope it will look better on a flatwoven cotton/natural fiber rug!

Finished Chevron Rug

You might want to consider using a $70 4’4″ x 6’5″ EGEBY rug from Ikea.  You can find this rug here.

EGEBY Rug, flatwoven, natural Length: 6 ' 5 " Width: 4 ' 4 "  Length: 195 cm Width: 133 cm
EGBY Rug – Ikea

ERSLEV from Ikea is even cheaper and larger at 5’11’ x 8’2′ and $60.  I’ve seen Chevron painted on both!

ERSLEV Rug, flatwoven, white Length: 8 ' 2 " Width: 5 ' 11 "  Length: 250 cm Width: 180 cm
ERSLEV Rug – Ikea


What you need (my quantities are for a 3′ x 5′ synthetic rug, so adjust as needed):

1) Flatwoven natural fiber/cotton rug (recommended)

2) Quart of base color (lighter colors look good!). Mine was Olympic “Ash Mist”.

3) Quart (or two sample size) of line color.  Mine was Valspar’s “Frosty”.

4) A cardstock template.

5) Painter’s tape.

6) Roller, paint tray, foam brush, large brush.

7)  You could also use a fabric medium to mix with your paint which you can get at craft stores (some instructions use it, some don’t)

8) Patience About 4-6 hours.

So like I said, the rug I bought was $5 and isn’t great quality, but I needed to practice.  It was originally a beige color, but I wanted it to be more white, so I used Olympic’s “Ash Mist”.  I got a sample size, which barely covered a quarter of the rug!  This thing absorbed paint like crazy!  I ended up having to by a $9 quart of Ash Mist to cover the entire thing and used a foam roller.  Also, if you’re using a rug with a boarder, don’t forget to tape off the edges!

Starting the base paint

So I really didn’t have a great method for my madness, except I created a template, which I didn’t take a picture of, but you can see it in the far left of the picture below.  It’s cardstock that I glued together, end to end to get a zig-zag shape.  You need 2 to measure the next place you need to tape.  Because I suck at math and geometric measurements frustrate me, I guestimated the size, luckily for this 3′ x 5′ rug, my template (which was a piece of 8.5″ x 11″ of cardstock split down the middle) worked.  I used my template to tape off one line at a time.  Remember you always need to tape around the outside of your template when it is positioned one line up, or else your spacing will be off.  OR you could always follow these directions on how to make perfect chevron stripes I should have found earlier just found and roll the entire thing at once!

After letting the white paint dry, I used a foam brush to get the edges, and a paint brush for the insides of my lines.  The color is “Frosty” by Valspar.

Put the tape down where the edges of your template fall

I had to get another sample jar to finish the zig-zag lines.  I should have just gotten a quart of “Frosty” and would have some left for another project!  Oh, and for some reason the second sample jar color came out a little lighter.  Oh well. I’m hoping that it might darken when it dries completely.

Finished product again!

So what I learned is it is a pain to paint this synthetic fiber type of rug.  It’s not really flatwoven as there are little “hooks” of fibers, so getting in all the little nooks took a long time.  It still looks a little “distressed” because it was absolutely impossible to get even, full coverage, but you know what…some people have sanded down their rugs to give them the distressed look mine has, so I don’t mind it!  I’ll probably also try that “tape method for perfect chevron stripes” next time too.

I’m linking the following blogs that may provide better directions than mine some inspiration!  You can also try out other neat painted designs, not just the Chevron stripe! Or use outdoor paint for an outdoor rug!

Haley Anderson Photography – Chevron Rug Inspiration #1

The House of Smiths – Chevron Rug Inspiration #2

Almost 40 Year Old Intern – Rug Inspiration #3

Curbly – Rug Inspiration #4

Happy Crafting!

Mason Jar Chic

I hope everyone had a magical Christmas and was able to spend it with their family and friends!

As far as gifts go, I enjoy giving anything I’m able to put a personal touch on.  Back in the summer, when I was unemployed, I planned on making a lot of handmade gifts, but life got busy and this didn’t really come to fruition.  I wish it did!  However, I was able to complete and gift an easy craft project I’ve been wanting to accomplish for a while – mason jar soap dispensers!

Use for liquid handsoap or lotion!
Use for liquid handsoap or lotion!

Mason jars are so chic right now and have a multitude of uses.  I think these soap dispensers are just so adorable and are the perfect unique touch to any bathroom/kitchen.  However, I see these soap dispensers selling for $15-$20 in stores and the internet and I can’t fathom spending that much.  If you plan on making more than one –  maybe like 5 – (all the supplies I suggest are bought in bulk), I’ll walk you through the steps of getting your supplies and making a soap dispenser for less than $5/each.

Here’s what you need:

  • Ball 16 oz. Mason (canning)  Jar – You can decide if you want a small or wide-mouth.  Because I wanted to make multiple and will use mason jars for future crafts, I went ahead and bought a 12-pack case at Wal-Mart for around $11.  You will pay more if you buy them individually at craft stores (almost double in some cases!), so I’d suggest getting the case.  You can also substitute a vintage mason jar if you’re able to find them!  A word of warning: not all mason jars will fit the lids I’m going to suggest you buy, but I know for a fact that Ball mason jars do!
  • A Pre-drilled Mason Jar Lid – These can be tricky to find, so I ordered mine from Factory Craft Direct online.  They  run about .99 cents each (less if you buy multiple).  They have a variety of colors, textures and sizes.  Make sure you get the same mouth size as the canning jar you purchased!  Now, if you want to make things hard on yourself, you can try to drill a hole in the lid that came with the jar, but paying .99 cents is, to me, a better deal than trying to drill a hole through a reinforced lid.
  • Soap dispenser pump – Again, super hard to find in stores.  They ran $1.89/each at Factory Craft Direct.  I got the ones with the “guards”.  While I’m not sure what the “guards” are used for, I screwed the pump into the guard to create a flat surface area for gluing the pump to the lid.
  • Super Glue – The kind that withstands water.  You can find this for $1 at dollar stores.
  • Rust-Oleum Spray Paint (optional) – I wanted my lid and soap dispenser pump to be the same color.  I already had black Rust-Oleum on hand, but I believe a can costs around $5 at local hardware stores/Wal-Mart.

Here’s what you do:

1. Prep the mason jar lid by removing any dust with a damp cloth.  If you plan to spray paint it another color, elevate the lid on a flat surface and spray 2-3 coats.  Remember to let it dry between coats! I am so impatient and usually mess up my spray paint jobs!

2. Once the lid is clean of any dust/the paint has fully dried, screw the pump into the “guard” (if you bought the pump with the guard piece).  Apply the super glue to the bottom of the soap dispenser pump/guard piece and press firmly to the lid of the mason jar.

3. This should take a few hours to fully set and dry.  Once it’s dry, add soap or lotion.  I had a friend suggest that she would use it for dish soap instead of keeping the dish soap bottle on the sink!  Great idea!

Happy Crafting!