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. 😉
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.