Weekly Finds

Goodwill scores from this week:


A beautiful blue & ivory stoneware bowl. $3 tag, purchased for $2.10 during Goodwill’s happy hour sale (30% off housewares).


An acrylic wreath holder. A clearance item from Target, marked $1. Paid $0.70.



And the best of this week: a round tray (another clearance item from Target) in perfect condition for $7, paid $4.90.


Thrifty Find: $0.80 Tea Storage

On one of my many pinterest sprees (find me at pinterest.com/leadingtone), I stumbled across this photo:

It was just my luck that only a few weeks later I found an almost identical acrylic case at Goodwill ($1 but I got it for $.80 because I used my -expired, shh- student discount).


The one from chefscatalog.com definitely has mine beat, but for less than a dollar compared to $16 + shipping, I’m not complaining much. There actually is a lid for mine, but since the tea bags are taller than the dimensions of the box I can’t use it with the tea inside. I love how pretty our tea looks now, and it’s so convenient to see what we have/need (for the most part; it doesn’t hold our entire supply) and grab it quickly as the mood strikes.

On a related note, this is what our makeshift coffee station currently looks like:


It’s still a bit of a work in progress because I only really use the Keurig, but my husband also uses the Mr. Coffee, and semi-regularly the french press and coffee bean grinder. I tried to corral all of his supplies into the woven basket and it definitely helped, but I still feel like the counter is too cluttered for my liking. Our coffee stirrers were temporarily stuck into another cheap Goodwill find, but they’ve been working so well in there that I’ll probably just leave them. The Keurig stand is a fairly recent purchase that was well worth the $20-25 (available at both BB&B and JCPenney, as well as other places I’m sure).



It can hold up to 36 k-cups so not only does it hold more than my previous system (dumping them into a small, shallow basket), but it’s much more organized and takes up no extra space. BB&B also has a bamboo version, but it’s an extra $10-15 from what I remember, and it wasn’t worth the price jump to me because at the end of the day it wasn’t going to make my rental kitchen look any more modern or aesthetically pleasing.

One other storage method I’ve employed:

Hanging oven mitts and pot holders from shower curtain hooks on a rod.


Anyone know if that’s what this rod is actually intended for? It was driving me crazy until I came up with this idea. I briefly got excited and thought I could detach the rod and use it to hold a paper towel roll, but not the case.

Other than that, I’ve discovered the beauty of shelf stands:


It would have been even better had the length been longer, but these things have definitely been useful in maximizing space in my kitchen.

Still trying to figure out a good, rental-free way to organize our many pots and pans!

Clearance Find: New Bag

While hitting up the post-Christmas sales, I stumbled across this bag at The Limited for only $40 (originally $78).


Normally I’d wait for the price to drop even further before buying, but since this was the last in the store and the clutch I had been eyeing earlier got snatched up before I hit the check out line, I knew it was worth jumping on. There’s so much to love about it: the size, the tone-on-tone pocket, the gold detailing, the strap/carrying options, and it vaguely reminded me of high-fashion bags I’ve seen while browsing blogs and pinterest. Speaking of which, I searched “bag styling” on pinterest and the first images to pop up were two Celine bags that look almost identical:

I’m thinking I lucked out! 🙂

Pottery Barn Advent Calendar Knock-Off

I’ve never really been one for advent calendars, but when I stumbled across this image, I couldn’t wait to create my own Pottery Barn-lookalike advent calendar with ornaments.

It’s a simple concept to execute, but as I wasn’t willing to shell out the big bucks for Pottery Barn’s linen board, the challenge was going to be finding/creating one of my own. I lucked out and found linen on clearance at Joann’s, but I was pretty stumped on what to do for the board since a standard size bulletin board was much too small. Finally, I came up with the idea to use cork squares, which ended up being the perfect solution. I hot glued the four cork squares together, then hot glued them to a 2 x 2 square of plywood (around $6 at Lowe’s). I then wrapped my fabric around the  board and hot glued it in the back. I bought the gift tags at Staple’s (Martha Stewart line), then printed out numbers and used a push pin to attach them to the gift tags. The ornaments hung perfectly off the push pins, and I’m very pleased with the final result!


Now that Christmas is over, I plan on relocating the board from the living room to the makeshift office/craft room and using it as an inspiration board.

Before and After: TV Console


When Joey and I got married, we definitely had to discuss what stayed and what went (furniture, junk, etc.) We kept this cabinet out of necessity, but I always knew it was going to go out the door once we found something better (especially since Joey got it for free -dumpster diving, in essence- during his college days). I did eventually find a replacement TV console at Goodwill (which we made a few tweaks to; that’ll be another post), but instead of tossing this cabinet we decided to give it a paint job and use it for storage. We also switched out the knobs, which made a huge difference, and I have to say this simple piece of furniture is currently one of my favorites in our space.

I don’t have a true “before” picture, but you can see it in this photo from back when Joey & I first got married, and tried to mesh our furniture together in our townhouse (and yes, that is *a lot* of brown… a design choice that I have been trying to compensate for over the last few years!):

Here it is, after a coat of paint and new knobs (purchased off of ebay) in our apartment that we just moved into:

It feels like a brand new piece of furniture, and is great for storing our collection of $1 Goodwill VHS tapes (yes, we still own and use VHS!) and for providing some extra storage/display space on top. I still want to do something to it, though, to really finish it off and give it some *oomph*. I haven’t figured it yet, but I’m thinking one of two things:

(1) finishing it off with nailhead trim, either working alongside the grooves of the console, or doing some sort of design on the cabinet faces, similar to this:

or (2) using paint to create a two-tone effect, similar to this dresser:


West Elm Pillow Knock Off

Pulling from my completed project files, this is a project that I did just shy of a year ago. A couple years ago, I sewed some basic pillow covers using blue microfiber fabric purchased on the cheap from Joann’s Fabrics. Eventually I decided I wanted to dress them up, but it took a while to land on the right idea. This West Elm felted origami pillow was the perfect solution.

It took a bit of time, but was very easy to make. From looking at the pillow, I realized that each little piece of the pattern was created by using squares and then folding in the corners. I liked the scale of the pattern on the West Elm pillow, so I measured the length of my pillow and divided by 6 to figure out how long to make each side of the squares. I then cut 36 squares, ironed them in half on the diagonal, and used a glue gun to put a dab of glue in the middle of each square and fold in the two opposite corners on the diagonal.

 pillow 003          pillow 001

I then arranged all of the pieces on the pillow cover, pinned them in place and hot glued each one on. I’m very pleased with how it came out, and especially so because it was a free update. 🙂 The felted grey wool definitely speaks to me, but I was trying to work with what I had. If I ever were to do another one, I would definitely go for the felted wool.  I wouldn’t recommend the microfiber because I do get a bit of fraying (nothing that a quick snip of the scissors can’t fix, though).

west elm pillow (diy)

Pretty darn close to the real thing, right? 🙂