Originally uploaded by Hennybee

When you’re starting a new redecoration project, it helps if you buy the major items first that will form the structure of the room. Things like ceramic duck heads (at $3.99 a Salvation Army splurge) and miniature tin Sacred Heart mirrors (50¢ at the most amazing thrift shop out in the country, where I also got a 1950s turquoise-and-kelly-green brocade party dress in perfect condition for $7 and a pristine vintage tablecloth for $3!!) I also picked up the hand-embroidered kitty cat cushion cover, also 50¢ because it was stained and ripped. Most of it came clean in the wash, but I might dye it tangerine. Or not–it’s kind of sweet the way it is.

But this, folks, is the problem with thrift shop/dollar store redecorating. You may go into a shop looking for, say, a flower-print muumuu that you can cut up for patchworks, and find instead a duck head on a plaque (I didn’t even mention the scary yellow eyes. He’s magnificent.).

Other items I clearly couldn’t live without:

The pink vase spoke to me at Salvy Army too.  Hard to hear over the quacking of the ceramic duck really.  It has an FTD sticker on the bottom so it’s not exactly an heirloom, but there was something sweet about the luminosity of it and the cutout pattern.  I think my approach is sort of “zakka” which is a Japanese term that means, as I understand it, choosing beautiful, special, kitschy and/or handmade items to enrich your everyday life–items that sort of give you an emotional tug of nostalgia or tenderness when you look at them.  I’ve shopped like this–emotionally–my whole life and it’s one reason I love thrift and vintage shopping.  I find that some items remind me of my childhood, but many other items that bear no resemblance to objects in my memories still charm me, as if I’m vicariously borrowing off of someone else’s nostalgia.  Do you know what I mean?  How do you shop–what draws you to the items that you just can’t leave the store without?

You’ll also see some scarves from the dollar store–I was thinking of using them to hang vertically as sort of strippy curtains.  But I now have a better idea for curtains (hot pink-and-gold sari fabric!!) so I’ll have to keep thinking on that one.

Also in the above pic, the Eskimo-themed printed fabric that is crying out for some bright-colored embroidery or applique–it might end up on a pillow, framed art, or ???  I got him at an amazing yard sale upstate where I also purchased a lot of other textiles you’ll see in these pics.

And here’s the rest(ish) of my fabric stash for the project.

I’ve already made one patchwork pillow from some of these which I’ll show you soon, I promise.  I am so inspired by the African/Dutch wax prints in the upper right–I LOVE that arrow fabric–and in the middle are some scraps of real cowhide (sorry vegans).  I’m thinking, I don’t know, lampshade?