Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Air Silence

It's been silent for a bit now.

I've got my San Diego Thrift Store Reviews halfway ready, but I was out of town this weekend and I'm currently suffering from a nasty cold. (Obviously not nastly enough for me not to write this) But for nothing else than to get my butt into gear.

I also realize today that the past few months, yes months, have been very unproductive; especially in the sewing department. I've got to work on that! Shame on me! More to come soon...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

San Diego Thrift Store Review: #2 AmVets, Spring Valley/Lemon Grove

AmVets, Spring Valley

Are you ready for the second installment of the San Diego Thrift Store Review? Yes? Good. This one's not quite as positive.

Located not far from, and not to be confused with, the Veteran's Thrift Store in Spring Valley, the AmVets Thrift Store is interesting, if not crowded. Not as easily accessible as Veterans- which this just off the 94-this thrift store is in a funky spot. If you're headed to Veteran's, I would suggest stopping by AmVets as well because it's not too far.

The pros of this place are as follows:
Large size, with lots and lots of interesting stuff. I once found these old coasters that were AMAZING but I didn't buy them and have been kicking myself ever since. I also found these gems the last time I went:

(at my house...the store doesn't have carpet...)
A crazy bronze colored anchor clock and the book Fantastic Fit for Every Body which has gotten great reviews from everyone I've met. And guess what's even better? It was in a bag!

I love me some bags of crazy goodness! Seriously. Granted they can be full of weird stuff, but there are gems to be had! They have these all over the store in various strategic (not) spots.

It doesn't look packed, but it was! I'm eager to find the least-busy time to go on my next visit.

I'll sum up my cons like this:

Clothing section is abysmal. Well. It's large but there's nothing good except for faded forver21 shirts that are grossly overpriced.
Also, the customer service leave something(a lot) to be desired. But I won't go into that.
Cash Only.
Overall dirtier feel.
No natural light.(Nit-picky, but true) 

Beware: They close at 6pm!

But like I said, if you're in the neighborhood going to Veterans Thrift Store, stop by this place and peruse the back back wall for the cool home accessories.

I always come from the SDSU area and I go down -through Lemon Grove-some obscure back roads(Skyline Dr) until it turns into Cardiff Rd and then it's on the left. However, if you can get to CA-125, take the Jamacha Rd exit, head west, you'll pass the Veteran's Thrift Store on your left and then turn right at Jamacha. It's on the corner.

Previous Thrift Store Review Posts

Monday, March 7, 2011

How I "designed" my wedding dress

I was just on Grosgrain and saw the post about wedding dress designing. Or semi-designing. Then I  realized that this post has been a draft for sooo long! I can't believe I didn't post this sooner. Shame on me.

I first started writing this post because of Rebecca of Sleepy Dreamer Design. She used adobe Illustrator to sketch out design ideas that she liked. Illustrator is so useful like that!

Here's a picture of Rebecca in her beautiful dress!

Check out her blog for more

Now although I wasn't as ambitious as Rebecca, I customized my dress. I initially got this dress from a former T.A. at college. The dress was beautiful, fit wonderfully, but elements of it just didn't look all that great on me. What I ended up doing, with the help of my mother of course, was to dissect the dress, keep what I liked and change what I didn't. It actually ended up being a very reasonable endeavor. It looked something like this to begin with....

(don't look at my face!)

I loved the top, but from the waist down it. Was. Funky . I also didn't like the point at the bottom of the bust. I'm not actually sure what that's called, but it wasn't doing anything for my 5'2 frame. So that all had to be changed. I guess I could show you a better picture, but I'm too vain to blow up that horrible picture of myself.  
Before you judge me, know that this is where I lived in college. I know it's gross. You don't have to tell me.

I ended up with this...

May 16, 2009, San Diego, CA

Realize that when I got home, my mom and I stared, yes stared, at the dress. For a long time. We were scared. Very scared. We didn't want to ruin it- for obvious reasons. And then we realized that I got the dress for free and if it came out bad, at least I wasn't out any  money. And I only liked the top...

I didn't take any pictures (I know, I know..) of the process of us changing the dress. But here's what we did:

We left the top as is. I liked that part. We cut the bodice off at the natural waist, eliminating the pointy thing- what's that called? took off the top few layers of tulle. Pretty, but i just didn't think it was working with the top. We used the satin from underneath the tulle to make a simple a-line skirt. I was going to make the dress a tea length, but then as we were fitting it I realized how pretty the long skirt was and couldn't let it go.

I think often a lot of brides (like me) search and search trying to find the perfect dress, only to realize that the design elements we are looking for just don't exist out there. Why not make it happen? I sew, why no?  I was open to the idea of using a dress that was gently worn for only 8 hours, that I got for absolutely nothing, and changing it (also for free). Can you tell I'm a frugal bride? Needless to say,  it worked out really well. So before you get discouraged about not finding THE Dress (and stop watching "say yes to the dress") and think about alternative routes.

If you want to see more pictures from our low-key DIY wedding and more of the dress, go here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

San DiegoThrift Store Review: #1 Veteran's Thrift Store, Spring Valley

Not too terribly located off the 125 highway, Veteran's is a fun little shop that I would recommend. I would say it's medium sized, prices are usually pretty good, and the people are nice. Especially if you've just come from AmVets, this place will seem like heaven! (which is always the case. . . look for a review of AmVets to come)

They have a lot of linens and fabric. The green sheet in the picture above was too coincidental! I bought this same sheet when I lived in Kentucky at the Village Discount Outlet... I sewed a dress from it.

 They have this cool display case with interesting sewing things, like scissors, thimbles, old needle books, buttons and more. Everything locked in there seemed a  bit pricey from what I could tell, but I still liked it.
They have a bunch of signs that say "Ask employees for help with knitting needles" or something close to that. I'm glad I did, because they had quite a few - pairs even!

They close a little early for my tastes, at 6:30, but it could be worse.

Overall, this is definitely a place I would recommend. They have enough quirky things to keep it interesting, without the fuss of AmVets. It's a thrift store I can get behind. The people that work there are helpful and I found the prices to be good. They have a  large parking lot, so that's not an issue-- but beware the steep grade going into the parking lot. I've witnessed many a car bottom out. I wouldn't go here for clothes though. Dishes, knick-knacks, linens, etc = yes. Clothes = not a great selection.


If you look on a map, this place is confusingly located near 'Skyline', 'Jamacha Lomita', and  'Spring Valley'. From just about anywhere in San Diego, you're gonna want to get on the 125 highway. From Downtown, National City, or North County- head east on either I-8 or the 54 highway. Don't be tempted to go down Imperial Ave. You make this that's a good idea, but it's just not.  Take a look at a map if you don't believe me.

From the 54 highway: Head East (and North) the 54 intersects with the 94 and continue North until the Jamacha Rd Exit. Turn left off the exit. Turn left at Cardiff Rd and the store is on your left.

From the 94 highway: head east until the 125. Head south on the 125. Take the Jamacha Rd Exit and turn right, then left at Cardiff. The Store is on your left.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

San Diego Thrift Store Review: The Beginning

If you don't already know, I moved to San Diego about 6 months ago and have since then been on the hunt for thrift stores. It's a way for me to get some gems and decorate my all-too barred house, while also learning this city better (the good, the bad, and the know...)

I have been compiling a sort of cheat sheet based on my experiences at said thrift stores. This list probably won't be completely comprehensive, and it sure as sugar is going to biased towards my opinions and experiences there, but I hope that others will find it helpful. 

"Should I really trek all the way to Spring Valley just for Am Vets' and Veterans'?".... all will be revealed

I am resolved to skip over some of the bigger names (ahem, Goodwill and Salvation Army, ahem). I like a Mom and Pop thrift shop (RHYMING!)  as much as the next person, and I often find these bigger places to have higher prices and less quaint, quirky stuff- which just so happens to be the kind of stuff I like the best. Is it just me or are they the McDonald's of thrift shops?

My extremely subjective and completely biased views will be loosely based on the following criteria:

1. Overall finds, gems, and prices
2. Customer Service
3. Convenience of location, ease of parking and area of town

I'll leave you with these two teasers.

Look for the first review later this week!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mini Book Review

Backstory: there's a library just a few blocks from my house. Half a mile at most. It's not a big library, but something about libraries is thrilling to me (if you know me, you know I currently work in a library as well). I sometimes go there to just peruse. I love craft, sewing and decorating books, but being a small library, they usually don't have a ton, especially ones I haven't checked out yet.

But alas, I came across this gem. Home Cheap Home: a room by room guide to great decorating  by the editors of Budget Living Magazine. Sometimes I roll my eyes at books like "yeah that $700 coffee table IS a steal" (can you sense the sarcasm?) but there were a lot of things in here that I liked.

My favorite was The Collector living room.

I really, really love that dresser. I know it's probably "midcentury" (so sick of hearing that word! anyone else?) but I think the handles set the whole piece off. It's such a subtle change that I probably wouldn't think of it. I also wonder if you could pick up a dresser and add a base with legs to the bottom of it.

 The other thing in this book that really caught my eye was this cute suitcase turne side table/night stand. So do-able. They've just added legs. Plus, I really love the color.

The only thing I thought this book could use more of would be DIY projects, but overall I found it full of beautiful, interesting homes. So if you see it in the library, check it out. (And I'm not just saying that because I work in a library.)