Friday, April 19, 2013

The Shoes of My Dreams for $8.50

My Clark's shoes
Last year as my family struggled along under reduced circumstances, I did something that I swore I'd never do - I bought a pair of shoes at a second hand store. Previously repulsed by the PU factor as well as the idea of ruining my feet with the wear patterns of a total stranger (why, back in the day I wouldn't even wear my sister's shoes!) I suddenly switched gears and hit the ground running. 

When I was young, shoes were, as they are for many young women, a passion. But as I aged, shoe shopping became tedious. I bought a few good shoes for $60 - $80 at DSW; shoes that lasted for years and years. But as our income dropped and cost of living rose, it killed me to spend money on shoes. 

A friend confessed that she bought shoes at Goodwill. My locally A-list boss bought a pair of used sandals on ebay. I was frankly shocked. 

"You'd think nothing of wearing rented bowling shoes worn by hundreds of strangers, why not a pair someone wore once or twice?"

So I now look long and hard at shoes on the rack at my current favorite second hand shop, 2nd Ave. I scan the display for interesting shoes. Finding what I like, I inspect them for wear. Honestly, some shoes look brand new - clean lines on the sole, inner part and labels looking fresh and bright; that new shoes stiffness.

I wanted a pair of Clark's shoes. I just did. As happens to many of us, I fell in love 
 with a particular pair of Clark's. At DSW and several other stores that I visited in my quest, I found the ideal pair. But in black. This time I wanted brown. They looked like urban moccasins but with nice soles and cute little side zippers. 

And there they were, at 2nd Ave. In my size. In brown. With very little wear. (The scuff on the toe is my own and so it the muddy smear from my own back yard). The shoes of my dreams for $8.50. Life is sweet!

Update - sadly, on my last visit to 2nd Avenue, I noticed several pairs of Clark's shoes with prices close to $20.00. Shopping at thrift stores is not only a treasure hunt, but a way to save money and get a fine bargain. Used shoes, however the condition, are just not going to happen at that price. I hope that I am not the only one who feels this way and that they decide to take those prices down. 


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fixing Up Some Trash - My Free Settee

Settee found in trash
 I found this ugly little settee set out by the curb one day and carried it home thinking it would make a nice piece of extra seating when we had guests instead of the folding metal chairs with someone else's name scrawled in sharpie across the back.
It needed a redo, sad as it was, and I thought that I'd just cover the seat and give it a quick paint job. All sorts of fanciful ideas floated - silver paint with blue and gray fabric, antique white or French gray with a piece of grain sacking. Of course I put if off, stuck it in the basement with the rest of the projects waiting to happen.

Then a party loomed and I was in the mood! The fast, emergency chair redo went like this:

Rummage through the fabric scraps to find something big enough

Clean off the wood and wicker

Glue loose parts with wood glue (I just tied it all up with rope for support til the glue was dry)

Cover bench seat - wrap like a gift, tack, and staple (whoops, the bench seat was cracked so I just filled the crack with glue then taped over it)
Cover the seat with fabric

Spray the fabric with Scotch Guard

Screw the seat onto the frame (through the screw holes below)

Once I popped the covered seat onto the frame I realized that it looked just fine without a paint job. The wood that had looked so horrible was now perfectly acceptable paired with the attractive new fabric. 
It looks so refreshed!

I was so happy with the quick change!
My family likes it too! They want to keep it upstairs instead of relegating it to the basement to bring up for company. My son no longer accuses me of stealing chairs from the people whose names were on the backs of the old ones. 

Instead of sitting on cold metal, ugly folding chairs left behind (or purloined) my honored guests can sit on a cute little settee that I pulled out of my neighbor's garbage!