Monday, October 31, 2011

My Halloween Costume: Lula from Chimichanga

Our friend Eric is a very talented comic book artist. In addition to The Goon, which he is most known for, he has written a comic book for children called Chimichanga. In Chimichanga, a little bearded girl named Lula orders a chimichanga and instead of receiving it, she is given a magic egg. From the hatched egg emerges a monster who she names Chimichanga and of course, they quickly become best friends!

Lula is adorable and I really wanted to be her for Halloween!

Andy bought me a mustache & beard and because he used to do theater, he knew his way around spirit gum. He glued the mustache on me and I almost couldn't stop laughing long enough for him to adhere it.

Remember when I bought 6 vintage dresses last week? The pink one was perfect for my Lula costume! It felt very girly and although she wears a short little yellow dress, I thought my pink thrifted dress was just perfect! I added white tights and black flats to complete my "little girl" outfit. I bought a "vampiress" wig that I cut to look more Lula-esque. I glued a faux yellow flower to a bobby pin and added it to the wig. For good measure, I colored in my eyebrows with black eyeliner.

I felt ridiculous, but I loved it. I actually felt kinda cute because I think Lula is so adorable!

Funnily enough, another Lula (Maulin' Monroe from the Nashville Rollergirls) showed up to the party!

Andy went as Eric to the party, so we gave him quite a surprise when he walked in to see Andy as himself and me as one of his characters. And then another couple showed up and the husband was dressed as Eric and the wife was dressed as Andy! So funny!

I think Halloween is so fun! I'm excited to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters tonight!! Hope you have a fun Halloween!

Linking up to: Apron Thrift Girl

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Fun: Fashion Edition!

I have been scouring Ebay and Etsy for new-to-me dresses and I have favorited and watched soo many of them. I sort them by "most recently listed" so when the below dress showed up in my Etsy search last night, I jumped on it! (Confession: I check both websites at least twice a day!)

I'm so excited about this dress! I don't own ANY navy blue so I'm happy to expand out of my comfort zone. It even has a little birdie print! I am so excited! Hopefully it will come in time to wear to a wedding next weekend!

Thank you, Adelaide Homespun!!

(Confession #2: I almost couldn't sleep last night because I kept obsessing over my new dress!)

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Meet Chris Davidson, the PDX Picker

Meet Chris Davidson, aka PDX Picker. Chris and his wife Heather (remember her Favorite Find last week?) live in Portland and both buy/sell vintage items. When I found Chris' blog, I couldn't believe my eyes. There is such a wealth of vintage items in Portland and Chris finds amazing furniture and housewares to resell. He had posted photos of their home, where they stage many of their items, and I had to find out more about his business. Read on to learn more (and be inspired)!

You identified a niche and an opportunity and jumped on it. Tell us a little bit about how you got into the re-selling business.

I got into the reselling business while running a furniture delivery company. On slow days I would check Craigslist for furniture that was 0%-10% of the original price and then sell it for around 33% of the original price. After a while I noticed that Mid Century pieces would sell much faster and for more money than furniture from other eras. Along the way I have fallen in love with modern design. I love filling my home with beautiful modern pieces just as much as I love selling them.

Where all do you sell your finds?

Locally I sell my finds on Craigslist, at the Portland Flea, and street fairs. Online I sell my pieces on Etsy.

Tell us more about your "home store." How does that work? Do you sell through Craigslist? What all is involved?

My wife and I recently moved into a funky house in NE Portland. The house has been added on to numerous times. As a result it has three living rooms. I stage the first two rooms with my sale pieces and we use the third living room as our personal space. Usually the pieces in the third living room are not for sale but I have been know to sell my personal items if the price is right. So far I have sold all of the items out of my home on Craigslist, but we may also do some sort of open house event in the future.

You also sell to local shops. How did you connect with them?

Portland has the most vintage shops of any city in the U.S. Vintage shops rely on pickers to stock a portion of their inventory. When I moved to Portland I visited each shop and introduced myself and asked if they buy from pickers. I then identified each shop's individual style. When I find a piece that I want to sell to a shop I can identify which shop will most likely buy it. Selling to shops has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that you can sell a piece the very same day you pick it up. The disadvantage is that you can only expect to get 25%-33% of their retail price. I primarily sell directly to shops when I have a duplicate of any item or if it is obscure and would take me a long time to sell myself.

What is your favorite item you've found?

It is very difficult to narrow it down to one favorite item. Currently my favorite item in my home is my Style House Starburst Clock. I am hoping to someday find a George Nelson clock but it will do for now. I also love to find Danish lounge chairs. They have very cool lines and always sell very fast.

What item has produced your biggest profit margin?

I have made $400 on several items lately. Recently I bought an industrial clothes basket for 75 cents and sold it for $125. It made me feel clever to find such a valuable piece at such a low price.

What advice do you have for people who want to buy/sell vintage?

Here are a few rules that I have for myself
  1. Know what you are looking for!!! If you buy items on a whim, you may end up with a house full of stuff no one wants. Educate yourself by reading blogs and magazines, and visit shops to find out what is selling.
  2. Stick to the Mid Century Era (1958-1963) Later items often have the same look but are made of inferior materials or have unnecessary detailing.
  3. NEVER buy anything with a formica top.
  4. Always check for tags and brands. Designer pieces are much more valuable and easier to research.
  5. Check thoroughly for damage. Some pieces look very cool but have hidden damage that destroys their value.
  6. Take a gamble for under $50. Occasionally a piece catches my eye that I know nothing about. If the price is right I will roll the dice on it. I have gotten lucky quite a few times. If it turns out not to be as valuable as you thought you can usually sell it for what you got it for.
Chris, thank you so much for sharing with us! I am so inspired by your business!

Linking up to Wow Us Wednesdays!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Favorite Finds: Hilary's Headboard

Our Favorite Find today comes from Hilary, AKA Girl Named Tennessee. Hilary and I met through a mutual friend many years ago and have ran into each other around town off and on ever since. Last week, I swung by my booth to tidy up and Hilary was shopping! She said she had bought a few things from me, much to my delight! We'll have more from her in the future on her Owl Really purchases but first we have her Favorite Find - shutters she saved from the landfill and repurposed into a headboard!

What is your favorite find and where did you find it?

My favorite find is the old house shutters that turned into my lovely bedroom headboard. Interestingly enough, the part I didn't think I liked (the color) is now my favorite part. I had looked around for shutters at antique shops for a few months but never found anything in the price range I was willing to pay. Then one weekend in early Summer 2010, I was dog sitting for a coworker and noticed she had a set of four old shutters sitting against the wall in her kitchen. With much shutter-envy, I asked her what she was planning to do with them when she got back in town and she said she was looking to get rid of them! Naturally, I asked if I could buy them from her and she told me I could take them for free. Cue the big, happy grin.

Did you know right away that you would repurpose the shutters into a headboard?

I knew that their purpose would be to create a headboard. I had seen on blogs that people would mount the shutters on the wall above their bed so in the planning that went on in my head, I thought I would do that too. When I brought them home for the first time, I set them on the floor behind my bed just to get the vision and that's when I realized how tall the shutters were. So if you haven't noticed a trend already, I lucked out with a great set of shutters that required no revamping of any kind. It was an easy transfer and they remain sitting on the floor behind my bed to this day.

The fun story behind the shutters is that another coworker of ours had recently had a spring wedding and used them as a holder for name cards at her reception (fun idea!). They were painted their current shade of blue to match the colors in her wedding and when I brought them home, I realized just how perfect they looked with my light gray walls. I was already planning to redecorate my bedroom and they were the just the right piece to act as the focal point and inspire the rest of my bedroom decor.

How did your new headboard inspire the rest of your room?

I describe my style as cottage-chic and really wanted my room to feel like a lake house bedroom. Picture something light and calming with the sound of waves crashing through your open window when you wake up. I already had the light gray walls and the blue shade of the shutters was really what pulled in the lake house feel. Shutters in general scream cottage to me so it really kicked my bedroom makeover into gear. I started to find accent pieces for my bedroom in different shades of blue and teal to compliment the color of the shutters and then I acquired two thrifted dressers which I painted white. The other pieces in my room are pine antiques inherited from my family and my bedding is white, fluffy and inviting to match the overall atmosphere. It doesn't matter if it's a gorgeous, sunny day or a gloomy, dark one - my bedroom is the one room in my home that feels like a vacation getaway and it's all thanks to my favorite find!

Thanks, Hilary, for sharing and also for supporting Owl Really!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to repair your high heels

A few years ago, I hit the jackpot on 80s high heels in my size at Goodwill. Someone must have donated their whole collection and I picked up all kinds of really fun pumps. (Note: They were clean, plus I wiped them down with lysol wipes - the idea of buying used shoes really grosses some people out but it just doesn't really bother me for some reason - especially since I disinfected them.)

The only problem was that some of the heel tips (you know, the little black rubber thing on the heel?) were torn up and/or missing. I didn't really realize it until I got home and tried walking on them and could feel the nail poking out - which can be really uncomfortable and terrible for your floors!

I googled and found - a site that sells heel tips in various sizes so you can replace your own at home! It can cost around $15 at a shoe repair place to do this and they sell heel tips for only $5. If you have many pairs of shoes to replace, that really adds up!

They're not giving me anything to post this- I just wanted to share this helpful tip with you guys! I have replaced many pairs of heel tips and find it so convenient!

Check them out on!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Flea Market Finds: October Edition

The Nashville Flea Market is notoriously big each October. I waited until the last minute on Sunday and wound up with some great deals since vendors were ready to haggle! AND, I am pleased to report I am getting better at haggling! I got a record player table (it's just a little stand with some metal record holder thingies underneath it) for half price and managed to get dollars shaved off everything else I found.

Here's my finds from this weekend (minus the record table which is hanging out in the garage until I can clean it up). On Friday, I stopped by a new thrift store on my way home from work and bought 6 adorable vintage dresses! After I got home from the flea market, Melissa brought me a lamp I almost bought at her yard sale awhile back but I hemmed and hawed and later regretted not getting it. It will need re-wiring for sure (mom?) but I'm really excited about it. It's way more feminine in shape than I usually like but I feel like the roughness of the brass balances out the feminine detailing.

Dresses, japanese (?) vase (it's kinda orla kiely, don't you think?), fancy decanter with 2 small glasses, cute glass/turquoise glass, flour and sugar glass jars, and a wooden kitchen rack with small hooks.

Some close-ups:

Not too shabby, huh?

More on the dresses later... I am keeping one of them for myself but I'm not 100% sure on how I want to sell the others. They will most likely end up in my booth but I am not certain yet!

Linking up to...

Apron Thrift Girl
Penny Worthy Project
Flea Market Finds
What I Love About The Thrift Store
Thursdays are for Thrifters
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays
Wow Us Wednesdays
Treasure Hunt Thursdays

If you're new to Owl Really, welcome! Please check out my favorite posts and consider subscribing! :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Swell Season Movie

Did you see Once? It was a great movie full of amazing music. The actors, Glen and Marketa, were long-time friends and musicians who formed a duo called The Swell Season. The movie released, they toured, they fell in love, and they won an Oscar for their song "Falling Slowly."

Eventually, their relationship ended. Their second album was full of achingly beautiful heartbreak songs. Their music video for their single "Low Rising" was devastating, but ultimately hopeful.

A new documentary, The Swell Season, follows their rise after the Oscar win. It's a beautiful movie full of great music - similar to Once, although this is real life.

We saw it Tuesday and I loved every minute. It was amazing to see behind the scenes and see what was happening in their personal lives as they were rocketing to fame. There was so much for Andy and I to talk about after we saw it! I highly recommend it!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Owl Overload!

I think I might have mentioned before that over the summer, I bought a lot of owls. By "lot," I mean they were sold as a lot... and there were a LOT of them! I had swung by an estate sale at its opening and picked out several owls I liked and when the estate sale was over, I contacted the seller and asked if there were owls leftover. She sold me the rest of them for a great price!

Most of the owls are sell-able. Some were cheap figurines that I decided just to donate to Goodwill. Some of the owls were ugly but had nice lines, so I spray painted them. Those have done surprisingly well in my booth!

I still had a box of owls floating around my dining room that I was sick and tired of. I figured that with Halloween coming up, people might be on the look-out for owls for decorating. I loaded up my box of owls and spent about an hour unpacking and pricing them in my booth.

I have used 2 drawers as shelves in my home and then moved them to my booth. They weren't being utilized very well, so I moved them to a more accessible wall and placed them so that I could use the top of the drawers as shelves as well.

And now I present: OWL OVERLOAD!

Can you pick out any favorites? I really love the little bronze-y one in the last photo in the middle and the teal ones in the third photo.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Favorite Finds: Heather's Antique Mirror

When I posted Extreme Thrifting, I linked it up to several link parties. Through one of those, Heather of Joy Of All Crafts found my post and left me a comment. When I checked out her blog and saw her recent finds, I knew we were birds of a feather! (She lives in Portland! I had to use a "bird" reference! HA!)

Heather and her husband Chris both buy/sell vintage, online and off. They recently set up at the Portland Flea Market (so cool, right??). Heather thrifts, quilts, makes fabric cards, and so much more. She even is working on a list of 12 goals to accomplish by 2012! Be sure to follow Heather's adventures and stay tuned for a post from Chris on his re-selling business!

I knew Heather would have a fun Favorite Find and she tells us all about it below!

What is your Favorite Find and where did you find it?

My favorite find is this huge wooden framed mirror. It is an antique that came from Italy. I found it scouring on craigslist. I've found most of my big pieces this way. I knew I wanted a big mirror but I wasn't exactly sure what it would look like. Once I saw the beautiful scrollwork, this piece called out to me! I had to drive 40 miles to get it, but it was such a decent price that I knew it's be worth it!

Did you know right away that it was coming home with you/How did you know it was perfect for your space?

I knew it was coming home, once I saw the craftsmanship and quality of the mirror and frame. We were living in a small duplex at the time, and I wanted to add depth and the illusion of more space. Mirrors are the perfect antidote to this problem. Even thought now we live in a bigger house, it's perfect for our front room to help beam the light around! It's in a spot where it reflects the morning sun to the rest of our front room.

Did you do any restoration to the piece?

Yes, I really love the bones of this piece but not the gold. I'm enjoying gold more now, but this mirror was a bit much for me. Plus it had that speckled look on it, which I'm not a fan of. So I used two cans of primer, and 3 cans of glossy black spray paint. It took a lot more paint that I had originally planned, I had to keep going back to the hardware store! All of the little crevices made it difficult, but in the end so worth all of the cans of spray paint!

Where does it hang now and what kind of statement does it make in your home?

Right now, it is one of the first things that you see when you walk into our home. I love that it's a DIY project as this so reflects us. We have a lot of mid-century pieces and I like to have some other elements too, as it adds depth to the design.

What do people say about it?

"Wow! Beautiful Mirror? Where did you get it?" I love when I can "brag" that I up-cycled it!

You and your husband both have a knack for finding vintage items. Do your tastes completely coincide or do you have different aesthetics? If they're different, how do you balance your tastes in your home?

Well, it's funny. For my husband, Chris, finding vintage items is a relatively new thing! When we first got married (6 years ago), he couldn't be dragged to an estate sale. But over the past two years, we've both been getting more into design. I really like mid-century items and as I kept showing them to Chris, he found a few things he liked too. Now the more he's around it, the more he likes what he sees!

We still have different aesthetics though, I like to mix more modern, fresh pieces into our home. Chris would rather have us live in a 1950s showcase! But, we balance with having a modern sofa (big statement piece) and lamps with mid-century side tables and credenza. In each room there is a little bit of both of us! It's been really fun to learn more about vintage pieces together and slowly develop and collect what we like. I love that our styles have evolved together!

Heather, thanks so much for sharing!

If you have a Favorite Find you would like to contribute, please email me!

If you're new to Owl Really, welcome! Please check out my favorite posts and consider subscribing! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Fun: Honeysuckle Hill Farm

This weekend, we went to Honeysuckle Hill Farm with our friends Bryan and Anna. I went years ago with girl friends and the farm has grown and changed so much since then! The main attraction is the corn maze but they have so much for kids - like a corn box (a giant sandbox filled with corn instead of sand), a "corn popper" trampoline, a petting zoo, pedal cart races, and tons more.

It was such a fun adventure! Do you have corn mazes where you live? What's your favorite fall fun activity??

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Owl Really Booth Updates: October Edition

I don't have a lot of room to re-arrange in my booth at the Tennessee Antique Mall but I've been trying to make some changes just to mix things up. I've read that re-arranging merchandise helps it sell, so I'm trying that out!

I arranged a little fall display to welcome in my favorite season. It's been up for 2 weeks and none of it has sold, I'm surprised!

Need some afghans??

I added some shelves to line up my Samsonite travel bags.

I also added a ton of new owls (more on that this week!).

At home, I came across a little sign I made (with lettering help from my friend Dawn) that I used to put on my table when I set up at flea markets. I thought it would be nice to add it to my booth to further brand it!

Do you have any merchandising advice for me? Do you have experience with booths/stores? Is it better to not have TOO much? What's the word? :)

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Cleaning Thrifted Crewelwork

I love crewel work. I love the idea that it's vintage AND handmade! I found a great piece while thrifting but it was dirty, dirty, dirty. I had hopes that I could clean it so I bought it and set about restoring it.

I carefully removed it from its cardboard backing by pulling out the staples with pliers. I then filled up a small tub in my kitchen sink and carefully handwashed the piece with Woolite. I let it air dry and VOILA!

A happy new-looking piece of crewel work! Here it is in our home (with the chair I transformed by emoving the skirt).

There is just something so happy about colorful crewel work, don't you think??

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Heywood Wakefield Desk as Side Table

You may recognize the below photo. It was the photo I posted when blogging about the vintage chair I transformed by removing the chair skirt.

This photo was staged, though - I ended up selling the chair and I actually have a small armless loveseat in this spot. I had a brown side table that I got at Salvation Army years ago but I've never LOVED it... when I picked up a Heywood Wakefield children's desk recently, though, I knew I wanted to do a switcheraoo!

In my impatience, I didn't wait until daylight to take a photo. Forgive me. :) Here's the desk in place!

I love it! It is really unique and adds a lot of personality to the room. The brown table was functional but really boring.

What a fun transformation! And the best part? This desk was actually CHEAPER than the original table. I paid $15 for the table at Salvation Army but only $6 for this desk! Amazing!

Do any of you have a desk like this that you're using in your house? What do you do with the cubby? I will probably start keeping my magazines there, but I'm not sure yet!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Favorite Finds: Janine's Lane Coffee Table

I discovered Janine's blog,, when her amazing painted wood wall art made the blog rounds last month. I was so impressed by it that I devoured her whole blog and I can't wait to see what else she has up her sleeve! Janine was kind enough to contribute to Favorite Finds and below she tells us about her mid-century Lane coffee table!

What is your favorite find and where did you find it?

That would have to be my mid-century Lane coffee table with dovetail top and black feet on tapered legs. I love it just as much as the first time I laid eyes on it.

What were your thoughts when you first saw it? Did you know right away that it was coming home with you?

I had been searching for this exact coffee table for about 8 months. I obsessively checked craigslist 10 times a day, checked thrift stores,antique malls and flea markets. One would pop up and be sold right away, or the price would be higher than I was willing to spend. Then finally, the stars aligned and one was listed for only $85. I called right away and begged the man to hold it for me. The downside was it was an hour away and I didn’t have a car so, I bribed my brother with a fancy dinner and gas money and we drove his SUV to pick it up. (Thanks Jonathan!)

What kind of condition was it in? Did you have to do any restoration?

It is in good condition, no structural issues or deep gouges in it, but it could definitely use some refinishing which is on my long to-do list. I would love to lightly sand it down, do a light stain and apply polyurethane to bring it back to its glory days. But I love it just the same in its current condition for its history and story.

How often do you thrift shop and what is thrifting like in your area?

I have a thrift shopping addiction and thankfully two of my friends do as well. They both have their own stores, Little Dog Vintage and Newton Street Vintage, so while they shop for inventory for their stores, I shop for items to redo. I live in Somerville, MA right outside of Boston and there are many thrift stores in my area, which is dangerous to my wallet.

I go to my neighborhood Goodwill almost every day after work before going home to try to snatch up the best finds. I am also lucky enough to be in driving distance of some awesome flea markets and the famous Brimfield Antique Show. If I only had a warehouse to house all of the things I would love to take home. My apartment is getting quite crammed.

Thank you so much for sharing, Janine!

If you have a favorite find you'd like to contribute, I'm currently scheduling the rest of the fall. Please email me a photo of your favorite find and I will send you a few questions to answer!

Want to see more favorite finds?

If you're new to Owl Really, welcome! Please check out my favorite posts and consider subscribing! :)