October 20, 2017

Beautiful Entertaining with Thrifted Treasures


After having promised myself to yard sale with only “needs” in mind this summer, it’s been a wonderful excuse to begin new treasure hunts as I prepare for some of my talks on “Thrifting as a lifestyle” for our Becoming 2011 conference. Yes, many of these items I will be bringing, and guests will be taking them home…just for fun. Well, I hit the jackpot on many treasures Saturday.

One of the aspects I will touch on is entertaining on a budget, and how to embrace hospitality without the worries of breaking the bank. This includes not only the food budget, but also creating a look you love with second hand finds.

We often put so much pressure on ourselves in the world of entertaining, and therefore it’s becoming a lost art. We assume that with entertaining come tremendous costs. What many don’t realize is that any party, dinner or gathering can be extra special with just a few simple touches.

It’s that time of the year when flowers are blooming. One of the easiest ways to add immediate touches is by bring the outside in for instant beauty. Start shopping your house, or keep your eyes open for creative ways to display them.

Look closely at the hydrangeas above. Instead of using a vase, I found a 25 cent stemware piece from a yard sale. All the items on my kitchen window sill below – a quarter.

Just this past Saturday, I found these adorable tea cups for $0.25/each as well. As much as I love tea parties all day long, I plan on grouping these on a glass tray and floating some of my roses in them. I also love using tea cups as votive candle holders. They add such a cozy touch.

Another delightful find was this large, white platter for only $2. Since feeding large groups is common place in this home, platters are used for everything, but taco dip will definitely be finding its home on this gem today.

I love platters with little upward lips on the side because my family devours taco dip and they tend to push it over the side onto the counter. This eliminates that messy problem (for the most part.)

Sunburst mirrors have been all the rage for the last few years.

I think Pottery Barn may have originally introduced their drift wood mirror for $200, but now many DIY crafters are jumping on the bandwagon, and coming up with their own version.

When I saw this large, round mirror I practically did the happy thrifting dance right there, especially when the owner told me $1. Since I know that a DIY Sunburst mirror is WAY down on my to-do list, I will be using it as a base for a centerpiece.

Since I just lugged it in from the car an hour ago, I am not quite there yet, but here is what I did in FIVE minutes and you can too – with any mirror.

I took the glass cake plate that I bought at the SAME yard sale for only $1 ( I know, I know..hate me, it was a great yard sale), and I put it on the mirror.

Get creative, add flowers, food, candles, beads, shells…

Just think outside the box…

Add whatever makes you happy!

I can guarantee that if all you did was have a beautiful mirror covered with votive holders that included nothing else but CHOCOLATE, you’d have happy guests. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When it comes time for your friends to arrive, layering cake plates with a combination of foods, chocolates, flowers, and candles, turns any table into immediate glam.

Are you hosting any gatherings this summer? Start thinking ahead for things that you can incorporate into your fun plans.

With Fourth of July right around the corner, be on the look out for any home decor accessories in red, white, or blue. Mixing and matching pieces for your special holidays is a breeze when you buy ahead.

I purchased this candle holder for only $0.50, and since we burn candles daily, I will swap these votive candles for red, white and blue ones, plus take advantage of the unique design to weave some fabric in for different themes.

Again, think ahead. I purchased all of these items for $0.25 – $0.50/each.

By the time the 4th comes along, with a few more additions, I will be all set.

Remember, yard sales and thrift stores are hit or miss, but if you really keep your eyes open, the treasures are there to be found.

What fun second hand treasures have you found lately? I’d love to get excited with you.


  1. sona bran says:

    Am feeling so sad that I am not able to keep track anymore on your site, where Ileft off. Sorry Jen, but without dates on titles etc, if I miss a couple days I have no idea where I left off and end up blind rabbit trails as I keep clicking to find where I was. I guess I prefer the running page of entries. Best of luck with your site, have always enjoyed it.


    Jen Reply:

    @sona bran, hi Sona – Sorry, about that.
    I need to add a tutorial, which I meant to do the very first week.

    If you’d like the running site, like before (except that there are more posts on one page, with just title and first paragraph), you can just go to the top where it says “blog.” That will give you a chronological order. Plus, on the right side bar it lists the last five posts for a quick glance.

    Hope the blog part helps. It’s nearly the same, except you do need to click once for the full read to save space.


    Pidge Reply:

    Thanks for that hint about reading the post in chronological order.
    Since the new format i’ve been afraid I’m missing something if I haven’t checked in for a couple of days. Great post! Love your blog!


    Dacia Reply:

    Ahhh. . . so glad I caught this comment. It’s fun to see the topics grouped, but I too was having to think about what I’d read and what I hadn’t and just felt like I was jumping all over – distressing! Ahh…so much better again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jen Reply:

    And this answers my question…I definitely need to get a little tutorial up telling people they can still read it chronologically. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Love your idea of the flowers in cups and glasses. I have sometimes seen just two or three absolutely gorgeous wine glasses in thrift stores; they are perfect for using as vases for small arrangements.


  3. Love this post Jen! I also have sworn myself to need-based yard saling this summer (huge gobs of self restraint : ) This past weekend on my first official outing of the season I was reminded why I go…

    A few weeks ago I was actually considering spending $150+ on a Oliso smart iron. I feel in love with this king of irons at my neighborhood sewing studio. Luckily, I held off from paying retail. My heart skipped a beat when I stumbled upon a yard sale with an unopened, never before used Oliso iron for $20!! My biggest purchase of the day, but one that saved me well over $100. My advice is have patience and carry a list of “needs”… It’s all out there somewhere!!


  4. I agree with your post here. You know that candle holder is made to go around a patio umbrella on your patio table – that was a nice score.

    I just found a huge new Goodwill outlet store in St Louis and I am having so much fun there. Just picked up a white quilt and Pottern Barn fern print sheets for about $3.00. They sell the stuff by the pound – it is so much fun to go there and search for treasures.


    Jen Reply:

    I did NOT know that about the candle holder. I knew that something must go in the middle, but I didn’t know what. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. I found a beautiful glass trifle bowl at an estate sale for a whopping $2.50. I have to delicious magnolia blossom floating in it right now, but made a 7 layer salad to showcase it last week.


  6. Mary Adiutori says:

    Thanks for the tip about “blog” Much easier for me…..I was lost*LOL* Love your blog and please more more Frugal Fashionista and thrifted treasures!!


  7. Oh – and i love all these ideas – many I’ve thought of and used before, but then get in a rut of commonplace. I’ll be using some of these tonight with friends over for dinner. Thanks!



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