DIY · Style · Thrifts

5 Things To Do with Thrifted Jeans



If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve had quite a bit of thrifting luck lately. I found a bunch of great shoes, hit on an “Everything’s $1 Day”, and won the vintage lottery with a dress that fits perfectly.

Those $1 Days are my favorite. Not only can I find great dresses and sweaters (with shoulder pads!) for super cheap, but it’s a great time to stock up on jeans.

“Stock up?” you might be asking. Good question. Over the years, I’ve made tons of things out of old jeans – some good, some not so good. (Check out “jean crafts” on Pinterest to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.)

(Note: I may or may not have made a braided denim rug for our first apartment in Tennessee.)

Here are my top 5 things to do with thrift store jeans:



1.Wear them! Finding jeans that fit well can be hard. Thrifting jeans that fit well is even harder. But sometimes, the stars align, and you find a pair that fits just right, as is – perfect waist, perfect fit, perfect length. This was one of those pairs! I was looking for something above the ankle to wear with boots (or heels) that didn’t have any distressing. When you find a good fit, snatch those jeans up immediately, because when else will you find a just-right pair for less than $10?

DIY distressed denimDIY distressed denim

2. Distress them. I did a post a year ago about how to distress your jeans. I used a newish pair from Target, but thrifted jeans are GREAT for this because they are usually already showing a little age AND you aren’t out much money if it doesn’t go well. Check out the full tutorial for how to distress jeans here.


3. Crop them. Sometimes the jeans fit pretty well, but they’re too long. Or they are boot cut and you’re looking for a narrower hem. Or you just want to try out the raw hem look. Grab a pair and take your scissors to them. Cut them exactly where you want them to hit or leave a few extra inches to cuff them. Leave the hem to fray. I love the look of “scruffy” raw hem jeans with a pretty, feminine blouse and equally pretty, feminine shoes. I just chopped these up two weeks ago, and I’ve already worn them 8 times – they’re my new favorites.



4. Patch them. Or use the thrifted jeans to make patches. These were my favorites. I found them at Target years ago, and they fit perfectly. (Sometimes Target jeans aren’t that great, but I’ve had more luck with them in recent years.) However, as happens with less expensive denim, the stretchy fibers started to wear out, so the knees got saggy. To give them new life, I used a pair of my old jeans and a pair of thrifted jeans to make patches. They add texture and character, and I can keep wearing these old favorites. (Tutorial for these patched jeans coming next week!)


5. Quilt them. I made this rag quilt MANY years ago (maybe 2003?) and even submitted it in a local county fair. (I got 3rd place!) I called it “Family Jeans” (get it?) because it was made with castoffs from our family – old denim shirt from Husband, pants from me, a dress from my mom, jeans from my brother, etc. I used a mix of pink calico fabrics for the backing and sewed all the pieces together, leaving the edges fray. (I don’t remember where I found the tutorial originally, but here’s one that’s pretty close.) We’ve used this quilt on our bed ever since.

I decided it’s time to make another one, but this go-round, I want to use only white denim. It’s a lot harder to find, so I’m hitting thrift stores more frequently in hopes of collecting enough to get started. (Those Everything’s $1 Days are perfect for this!)

I recently had a conversation with a woman I met while combing the aisles of Goodwill, and we chatted about the joys of thrifting. I told her about my quilt plans, she told me about making coasters. Then she said, “I’m pretty sure you could just buy white denim at Joann’s….”

(insert record scratch sound here)

(Oh, guess what! It’s 2018. I can ACTUALLY “insert record scratch sound here”!)

Yeah, okay, sure. I COULD do that. I could just BUY the fabric to make the denim quilt. But I love thrifting. I love the idea of making a quilt out of recycled fabric, I love the thrill of the hunt, and I love those rare vintage treasures you find when you’re not even looking for them.

So I’ll keep searching and collecting, and I’ll be sure to show you how it all turns out when I’m done!


DIY · Home · Valentine

DIY Candle Holders for Valentine’s Day


A couple of weeks ago, on a rainy Monday afternoon, The Girl and The Boy and I got to work on a Valentine’s art project. I love a good craft project, but, for some reason, we don’t do this often enough. As part of my search for JOY this year, I want to create more and to spend time creating with my kids.

This time, we made Valentine’s themed tea light candle holders from reused glass jars.



Variety of clean jars, labels removed (these used to hold jelly, artichokes, capers, and clotted cream)


Sharpie Oil Based Paint Markers


Mod Podge (I put plastic over the top to keep the lid from sticking)

Other supplies not pictured: tissue paper (I just used the cheap kind you wrap presents in), foam brush (for applying Mod Podge)

What To Do:

There are no real instructions – just have fun and create whatever designs you want! It was cold and rainy, so in addition to Valentine’s hearts, we were feeling like snowflakes and swirls.

Here are a few ideas:

snowflake jar candle holder

1. Snowflakes. Silver Sharpie paint marker. This was technically The Girl’s candle, although she didn’t want to do any of the actual drawing – she just wanted to direct me in my drawing. “Two lines of snowflakes with two snowflakes each. Then a heart on the bottom. Then repeat on the other sides.” Her nickname of “The Scout Master” continues – running the show, directing the troops, making things happen.

hand lettered jar candle holderhand lettered jar candle holder

2. Hand Lettered. Black Sharpie paint marker. Simple and pretty.

tissue paper jar candle holderstissue paper jar candle holder

3. Tissue Paper Hearts. Cut hearts out of light and dark pink tissue paper, attach to jar with Mod Podge, then cover with another coat of Mod Podge. The Mod Podge gives it a cloudy finish, which looks beautiful with a glowing tea light inside.

heart cutout tissue paper jar candle holderheart cutout tissue paper jar candle holder

4. Tissue Paper Cutout. Using a strip of tissue paper smaller than the height of the jar, fold the tissue paper in half and cut out a heart shape. Spread Mod Podge on the back of the tissue paper and wrap around jar to attach. Apply a coat of Mod Podge over the top to seal.

DIY  jar candle holderDIY jar candle holder

5. Free Draw. The Boy was excited to make his own jar, so he went to work with a red Sharpie marker, free-hand drawing designs on the sides of the jar. The red Sharpie made the coolest shadows when the tea light was lit:


And here they are, tea lights glowing:

DIY Jar Tea Light Candle Holders

A simple, pretty project that we all enjoyed working on. Maybe we’ll make some for every holiday!

(St. Patrick’s Day candles are a thing, right?)

everyday vintage · Style · Thrifts

Everyday Vintage: 2.1.18 – Valentine’s Day Edition

Welcome to Everyday Vintage, my weekly-ish monthly-ish roundup of how I incorporate vintage finds into my everyday life. Note: Today, it’s not just for Everyday, it’s for Valentine’s Day. 

What to wear for Valentine's DayI’ve never met a holiday I didn’t want to dress up for.

I don’t know if it stems from my pre-children teacher days (my favorite part of the The Magic School Bus series was checking out Ms. Frizzle’s thematic outfits) or if it’s something that’s deeply ingrained in me, but I love a good outfit with a slight costume flair.

Christmas red? Yep.

St. Patrick’s Day Green? Of course.

New Year’s sparkle? Why not?!

Halloween? Check, check, and check.

(Side note: Yesterday afternoon, The Girl asked, “Which comes first, Easter or that green holiday?” I told her that St. Patrick’s Day is first.)

So, of course, for Valentine’s Day, I’ll be wearing red or pink – or red AND pink – at some point that day.

Valentine’s Day is also Husband’s birthday, and like all birthdays, we’ll celebrate with dinner and cake and champagne, and we always dress up a little, even if it’s dinner at home.

Last week, I thought it would be fun to play a little dress up to see what I could come up with for Valentine’s Day ideas, mixing up things I already have in my closet – most of them vintage or thirfted. My hope is to encourage you to shop your closet, visit a thrift store, or give vintage a try when you’re looking to create a special outfit.

Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite!

#1 – Black + Pink


I wear this vintage black sweater all the time. I paired it with a vintage pink skirt (“millinnial pink”, as the cool kids say) and some cute velvet heels I found at Goodwill last week.

#2 – Pink + WhiteDSC_0168DSC_0158DSC_0164DSC_0177DSC_0179DSC_0185I’m not even sure what this pink top is. I wear it as a vest, but I’m guessing it’s a top to a vintage two-piece dress. The stitching is incredible, and I love the chunky silver zipper that you find on vintage clothes. I paired it with a vintage blouse and jeans. I thrifted those shoes last week at Goodwill, too. (It was a good shoe day.)

#3 – Pink + RedDSC_0186DSC_0213DSC_0188DSC_0214DSC_0200The only things vintage are the red clutch and the red shoes (I LOVE these shoes – vintage Italian leather, perfect condition, less than $10). The skirt is thrifted, and the sweater is from Old Navy about 12 years ago.

#4 – Sparkles


You know I love vintage sequins. This is a jacket that probably came as a set – wouldn’t you love to know what the rest of the outfit looked like? I love sequins with “scruffy” jeans – I thrifted these and chopped off the hem (look for a post on thrifted denim next week). The gold clutch is vintage.

#5 – Pop of Red


An all black outfit is simple and classic. Red flats add the Valentine’s pop. The faux leather jacket, black turtleneck, and vintage clutch are all thrifted.

#6 – Black Lace


Only the clutch is vintage, but this dress I got in London feels perfect for a Valentine’s Date.

#7 – Black + Red


I saved the least expensive outfit for last! I thrifted this faux fur jacket and vintage slip dress for $1 each! The heels are vintage, and I made the earrings out of vintage beads.

This would have made the perfect New Year’s Eve outfit, but we were driving to Southern California the next day, so we wore our jammies and watched the ball drop live on the East Coast and were all in bed by 9:15. But don’t think it wasn’t a sparkly evening! BG brought out her rotating Princess Palace play tent light, so our NYE looked like this:


OH YEAH! We know how to live it UP!!

Phew, you made it to the end of a very long post. Thanks for sticking around. Leave me a comment to let me know which outfit is your favorite, or which you think I should wear for Valentine’s Day/Husband’s Birthday Dinner, or both – I’d love to hear.

PS – You know what I just realized? I wore the same pair of earrings with 6 out of 7 of these outfits, and they looked great with each one. They are these from my Etsy shop if you’re looking for something that goes with everything.