Entries Tagged as 'thrifting'

thrifting for baby boy.

Posted on: Thursday, June 30, 2016

Let’s be real for a second: why is it so easy to find cute girl clothes but nearly impossible to find boy attire without lame-o phrases or graphics everywhere or — even worse — KHAKI?!

After the initial shock of finding out I was having a boy wore off, I discovered a renewed sense of purpose in life (slight exaggeration) and decided that I was going to find all the stylish boy clothes. I’ve had a lot of luck at my favorite stores for kids (Baby Gap and Zara!), but I’ve also struck major gold while thrifting! Here are some of my favorite recent thrift finds:

Baby Boy Thrift Finds | Ann-Marie Loves

As you can see, the name of the game for our little guy is neutrals + stripes! I CAN’T HELP MYSELF. I have also become particularly obsessed with collecting cool trucks + cars for both playing and decorating purposes (obvs). Briar has happily been breaking them in for her baby brother…she approves of my finds! It’s so much fun to have a new reason to go thrifting again, especially now that I have TWO babies to shop for!

Where do you guys find cute baby boy gear?

(P.S. I wrote an e-course on thrifting!)

diy wedding guestbook box.

Posted on: Thursday, July 24, 2014

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

When I designed the guestbook cards for our wedding, I knew I wanted to do something untraditional with them, but honestly, I didn’t have a clear vision of what that would be. Flash forward several months later to when I stumbled upon an old recipe box at the thrift store and instantly knew what to do with those cards!

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

During our wedding, we used a thrifted wooden cassette tape holder to house the cards that our guests so sweetly filled out during the reception. When we got back from our honeymoon, we had the BEST time reading them, so I am thrilled to finally have an easily accessible landing place where we can revisit those happy memories whenever we like! Here’s how I customized the box:

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

Using my Cameo die cutting machine (bet you didn’t see that one coming! ;)), I cut out two liners for the insides of the box and the word “Guestbook” for the lid from printable gold foil. Sticking each of the liners down took a little finagling (and reapplying), but I love the way it adds an extra layer of visual interest every time the box is opened.

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

I then lightly applied the word “Guestbook” to the lid, making sure it was on straight before I pressed down to secure it into place. The good thing about this gold paper is that it’s sticky enough to hold up once enough pressure is applied to it, but not so sticky that you only have one shot to get it right.

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

From there, I gathered all of our cards together and placed them in the box. (Love the designer humor from Sarah!)

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

Many of our guests not-so-subtly encouraged us to jump onboard the baby train ASAP. We took the hint ;)

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

And now our guestbook cards live happily on the bench in our living room!

DIY Wedding Guestbook Box | Ann-Marie Loves

If you’re currently in wedding planning mode, I encourage you to think outside of the box when it comes to components such as guestbooks! Don’t worry about what everyone on Pinterest is doing (easier said than done, I know!) or how your ideas will come across to your traditionally-inclined guests. The more you can tailor the details of your event to your own personal tastes, the more your wedding will feel like you and your fiance. And isn’t that the whole point? :)


miniature wardrobe | thrifted edition.

Posted on: Thursday, May 22, 2014

Baby Thrift Finds | Ann-Marie Loves

These past few weeks, I’ve been feeling this strange mix of loneliness and restlessness as I work from home by myself each and every weekday. I can honestly say this is a brand new emotional state. As a major introvert, I absolutely NEED extended periods of alone time in order to center myself mentally, creatively, emotionally, etc, so this is all new territory for me. But then again, I’ve never cried over dumb commercials or researched strollers extensively or turned on the oven in a 100 degree heatwave because I wanted biscuits rightthissecond before. So really, nothing should surprise me at this point.

Whenever I’m feeling particularly “blah,” all I have to do is walk over to my favorite local thrift store and spend several minutes browsing through their ever-changing selection of baby clothes. Boom! Instant happiness. Some days I walk out empty-handed and other days (like last Friday!), I can barely contain my excitement as I fill my shopping basket to the brim with amazing finds. I never feel guilty about thrifting for baby clothes because:

a.) even if my daughter only gets a few wears out of each outfit (I’ve been warned that babies grow FAST), I will feel like I’ve gotten way more than my money’s worth;

b.) I only buy things that I would have been willing to pay full price for, so I’m not amassing clothes strictly based on killer deals;

c.) and most importantly, it makes me RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY. Take that, weird pregnancy mood swings!

P.S. My first mini wardrobe installment!

copper canister plant holders.

Posted on: Friday, April 25, 2014

Thrifted Copper Canisters as Plant Holders | Ann-Marie Loves

A few months back, I thrifted these copper canisters for a few dollars. At the time, I wasn’t sure how I was going to use them, but given their awesome color and the fact that they nest inside of each other (less clutter!), I knew they had to come home with me. Sometimes that’s what thrifting entails. I do my best to only purchase what I love, but occasionally I don’t have an immediate end goal for said beloved items. So imagine my excitement when I realized that the new fern I picked up would fit perfectly into one the canisters! Ahhh, thrifting kismet at it’s finest ;)

Currently the fern sits in our bathroom, so it receives plenty of moisture and very little direct sunlight. To keep rust at bay, I left the plant in it’s original plastic container so it can be easily removed for watering. Additionally, I placed a few strips of dimensional foam adhesive (with the non-sticky protective coverings still intact) on the bottom of the canister to lift it off the countertops as a way to avoid any staining. Like all nontraditional planters, there are usually a few tweaks that need to be made, but it’s always worth the extra steps!

On an unrelated note…

I am currently writing my fourth e-course (tentatively titled “Make It Happen”) all about goal-setting, staying motivated, and getting things done, from the perspective of a creative freelancer. I have lots of juicy topics that I am eager to delve into, but I thought I would ask: What would you like to learn? Are there any particular motivational / creative issues that you struggle with? What would you like to see in video format? I would love to hear your thoughts! xo

thrifting for baby.

Posted on: Thursday, April 24, 2014

Baby Thrift Finds | Ann-Marie Loves

Before I got pregnant, I never truly appreciated just how much fun it is to shop for babies. I’m talking SERIOUS FUN. I also never realized just how expensive (!!!) baby gear is and how much of it you have to buy right off the bat. Stroller, bassinet, crib, blankets, diapers, burp cloths, bottles, breast pump, carriers, car seat, rocker…the list goes on. Luckily (or is it unluckily?), I’m not a big spender by nature and am more than willing to thrift and DIY as much as possible!

Baby Thrift Finds | Ann-Marie Loves

Needless to say, my thrifting habits may or may not have gone into overdrive recently. I’ve been hunting down all sorts of baby ephemera, including everything from clothing to toys to books to decor to a glider in excellent condition. Like all thrifting, the secret really lies in going frequently. There are many days when I walk out of the store empty-handed and then there are other days when I can barely fit all my finds through the door (mkay, slight exaggeration). I never know what to expect and that in and of itself is half of the thrill.

Baby Thrift Finds | Ann-Marie Loves

While thrifting for little ones, I ask myself two questions:

1. Am I attracted to this because I genuinely love it and not just because it’s a killer deal?

2. Would Emily Henderson approve of this?

If the answer is YES to both of those things, then I snatch the item up immediately. But if I’m only being seduced by the price, then back on the shelf it goes. So far, the glider has been the biggest baby item I’ve invested in through thrifting. Even though it’s not as sleek as my dream rocker, it was a mere $65 which allows for more room in the budget to splurge on other must-have, well-designed items. If there’s anything I’ve learned over these past six and a half months, it’s that having a baby is all about patience and compromise!

P.S. If you’re looking for more (non-baby) thrifting tips, check out my e-course!

diy front door weaving.

Posted on: Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

On Tuesday night, while burning through episode after riveting episode of House of Cards, I decided that our front door needed a little facelift. Considering the fact that we’ve had this festive wreath hung up since the holidays (and now it’s, oh, mid-April?), it was definitely time for something new. After going back and forth between creating a dream catcher or a weaving, I decided on the latter. In case you haven’t seen my recent ‘grams, I’ve been on a major weaving kick, so I figured I might as well ride the wave while it lasts!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Using my Martha Stewart loom, my favorite thrifted yarn colors, and a better understanding of how to create a quality weaving, I got to work on making a little decor for the front door. The whole weaving process took maybe three hours tops (or more accurately, three episodes of House of Cards) and then I tied it off the bottom strands and strung the top loops through a sturdy stick I found on a neighborhood walk. It was easily the most satisfying DIY project I’ve created in a very long time and it inspired me to create two more additional wall hangings last night!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

A few things I learned about weaving this time around:

– Adding new yarn colors is best done one or two columns into the warp (assuming you want a more uniform look). Last time I introduced new colors by knotting the ends of the the warp and I wasn’t a fan of all the extra strands that hung down the sides as a result.

– It’s best to leave an inch (or more) between the top of the weaving and the point where you introduce your first strands of yarn. I had to push the cream color at the top of my design down with my fingers because I hadn’t accounted for the size of the stick until the very end.

– Minimal tension on the yarn strands is required in weaving. In fact, the less tension, the better.

– This weaving is actually much smaller than I thought it would be, considering I used the entire length and width of the loom. I’m fine with the size, but I was definitely surprised.

– Thrifting yarn is the best way to stock up on fun colors while still saving a ton of money! My local thrift store sells big bags of yarn for only a few bucks each, so I pick them up whenever I see my favorite colors included. Eventually I want to create weavings with unexpected materials, such as leather, pom pom ribbon, and tinsel!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

There’s something to be said about crafting victories. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attempted to make things only to feel less than thrilled with the end results. This project not only made me so incredibly happy to make, but now every time I walk up to the front door, I am overcome with those happy crafty feelings all over again. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving ;)

P.S. Here’s my first attempt at weaving!

weaving a wall hanging.

Posted on: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

While casually browsing the thrift store earlier this week, I stumbled upon a giant bag of neutral colored yarns for only three dollars…! As someone who has been dying to try out the recent weaving trend taking Pinterest by storm, I interpreted it as a sign from the crafting powers-that-be that it was high time for me to give the hobby a whirl. After all, I already had a loom kit, PLUS pink and aqua yarn from previous projects, PLUS a whole board seemingly dedicated to weaving ideas…there was no way I could pass on the opportunity. So I snagged the bag, picked up a coffee, and headed home to get to work.

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Here’s a fun fact about me: I hate reading instructions. I simply refuse to do it unless it is my very last resort (and even then…). So instead of reading the manual that came with the loom kit, I turned to a couple of blog posts (this one, this one, and this one were particularly helpful!) and a few videos to give me the gist of how the weaving process works. Once I figured out how to create the foundation (aka the “warp”), I fell into a flow and began to weave different yarns in and out out of the loom. Mindless crafting at it’s finest!

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Since I have zero interest in perfection, I felt free to experiment with different amounts of strands on each row and various knotting techniques. For example, the first couple of rows only use a single strand of pink yarn, so the look is much tighter. For the next several rows, I used two strands, followed by three strands, etc. The more strands you use at a single time, the more you will be able to see the “warp” strands (in this case, the vertical cream yarn) underneath. Another thing I quickly learned was that I really did not need to create such tension when I reached the end of each row. As you can see above, the righthand side of the loom is starting to curve inward because I pulled the strings way too tight. Lesson learned. Because I eventually want to hang this in the nursery, I’m thinking of going back and redoing some of the rows. I’m not striving for perfection by any means, but if I can clean it up a bit, it will make those late nights and early mornings with the baby a little bit easier on my eyes ;)

Weaving a Wall Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

There are so many amazing fiber artists out there whose work inspires me tremendously! I would love to learn new techniques for building texture and incorporating different media into my designs.

Any weavers out there? I would love to hear your tips!

happy at home.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lately John and I have been commenting on how nice it feels to be “home.”  After a weekend spent with family, it felt great to return to our Pasadena abode and get re-settled back into our daily routines. We’re both well aware that in just a few short weeks, this place will become even more baby-central than it already is, so we’re enjoying every last minute of the limbo phase while it’s still just the two of us.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

This basket went from holding laundry to holding blankets to holding rolls of paper and I’m sure it will one day hold toys. I love to repurpose!

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Our daughter’s wardrobe is already bursting at the seams! I need to start taking inventory of which sizes I have and which sizes I need before I fill an entire closet with 3-6 months.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Instax photo from our engagement photoshoot which feels like, oh, five million years ago.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

The ever-changing bench! It’s still my favorite flea market find to date.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Most of our shoes get kicked into the closet as soon as we get home, but I dig this little pop of hot pink as part of my “decor.”

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

Overflowing copper cans of pens, pencils, scissors, rulers, bone folders, paintbrushes, xacto knives…

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

The most difficult part of the apartment to photograph! SO MUCH GLARE. But we love curating our fridge displays on a regular basis. Currently it boasts an Artifact Uprising calendar with wedding photos (thanks Katie!), well-wishes on our wedding from the President and First Lady, random photographs, a holiday card from Go Forth Creative, a recipe for homemade waffles, and a hilariously accurate description of our relationship.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

This is by no means my favorite vignette (decorating is always a work in progress, no?), but I love being able to incorporate the gold-fringed letters from our wedding into our home.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

You guys. I thrifted this glider for $65 the other day…! Every time I find a killer deal on baby ephemera, it feels like the universe is rewarding us for jumping the gun on the baby train five seconds after getting married. Eventually it’ll get moved into the nursery, but for the time being, we both kind of dig it’s current location.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

So many stacks of paper around here. I feel like my life is an endless exercise in corralling stacks of paper.

Nesting | Ann-Marie Loves

And finally, the baby goods that are slowly but surely taking over the whole office (soon to be nursery). Can you believe those little shoes? They are SIZE ONE. I don’t care if she only wears them for fifteen minutes of her life for the sake of a photo op…they’re irresistibly cute!

P.S. All of these photos were edited using the Photoshop fade tutorial I shared last month!

miniature wardrobe.

Posted on: Thursday, March 13, 2014

Baby Girl Wardrobe | Ann-Marie Loves

When I was in the market for a new apartment, I had a voracious appetite for anything + everything home furnishings. When I was getting married, I couldn’t get enough of wedding blogs and crafternoons. And now that I’m having a baby? I can’t seem to get my fill of baby clothes! Like all seasons of life, there’s always something piquing my interest, but this just might be my most favorite season yet. Here are some of my favorite places to collect adorable miniature ensembles:

Baby Gap. OH YES. Despite Kathleen Kelly deeming this store “depressing,” it has quickly become my happy place. If my budget would allow for it, I would outfit my daughter in every single item of clothing that the store sells….! Everything is so well-designed and often has me longing for items in my own size. But, truth be told, I only shop at BG when they’re having one of their killer sales or if I have a coupon code I can use.

Target. Alright, so this is a no-brainer. As if I didn’t have enough reasons to give Target my constant business, now I have another. Part of the reason I was so desperate for a girl in the first place was because the baby clothes of the female persuasion at Target are just so much cuter than those of the masculine variety (why is that?). Every time I’m there, I comb through the sales racks to see what’s been newly discounted and always seem to walk away with a new gem (or five!).

Thrift stores. Thrifting for babies is easily my new favorite pastime. There’s nothing better than the thrill of the hunt when it involves impossibly cute clothes, toys, and books selling for a fraction of their original cost. $0.59 onesies for the win!

Hand-me-downs. I’m thrilled to be the lucky recipient of some of the most amazing vintage pieces (a few dating back to the 60’s) that my mom saved for her future grandchildren. I’ve been warned by several sources that babies grow incredibly fast, so I am more than happy to collect hand-me-downs!

As a result of shopping like it’s my second job, I’ve learned a few things about my tastes. For one, I am amazed at how many otherwise stylish articles of clothing are ruined with cringeworthy phrases (“Daddy’s Special Princess”) or embellished with way-too-cutesy graphics. Who decided that babies should be banned from having good style? And secondly, if I see something that I want in my own size, there’s no way I can resist buying for my daughter (mini adult clothes!). Despite the fact that my gal isn’t even here yet, I’m already mourning the day that she outgrows her bite-sized wardrobe! Oh man, I’m in too deep.

Moms, where do you find stylish clothes for your little ones? Do tell!

(from left to right, top to bottom):

1. Pastel Stripe Bodysuit // 2. Pink Cable Knit Crew Sweater // 3. Circo Dot Print Bodysuit  // 4. Eyelet Flutter Dress // 5. Vintage Yellow Romper // 6. Striped One Piece // 7. Love You to the Moon Bodysuit // 8. Eyelet Trim Bodysuit // 9. Circo Pink Striped Bodysuit // 10. Vintage Pink + White Dress // 11. Vintage Onesie // 12. Printed One Piece

Thrill of the Thrift E-Course is live!

Posted on: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thrill of the Thrift: Home Styling Edition | By Ann-Marie Espinoza

I am so excited to announce that my first e-course “Thrill of the Thrift: Home Styling Edition” is now available for purchase! Thrifting has been a major passion of mine for the past couple of years and I have learned a ton about tracking down the best deals and finding stylish ways to use them in my home.

Thrill of the Thrift: Home Styling Edition | By Ann-Marie Espinoza

This self-paced e-course covers:

  • my personal thrifting story
  • tips + tricks on how to thrift like a pro
  • over 15 ways to style your home with thrift finds
  • a resource list of my favorite places to shop

Thrill of the Thrift: Home Styling Edition | By Ann-Marie Espinoza

Within 24 hours of purchase, you will receive an e-mail with login information to visit the private blog where the class is held. Once you buy the class, you will have access to it forever.

Purchase “Thrill of the Thrift: Home Styling Edition” here!

Happy thrifting!

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