For Christmas we always play “the game.” You know the one where you get a number, pass the gifts, and steal them from each other (or any variation thereof).
Our newest twist to this game is buying our gifts second hand, either from a yard sale or from a thrift shop. Not only is the challenge to find the best deal, but also to customize it if need be. So here is my unique gift and I hope it inspires you to search out and find others your family will enjoy.
This fall, on a cool morning, a sweet old lady had a one day yard sale, one of the last of the season. I felt a bit bad for her, she wasn’t getting much traffic, but her prices were spot on. I rummaged through some framed prints and my breath caught at this dirty gem.
She pointed to the covered wagon on the needlework saying, “it was made before cars.” I pointed out the adorable person on skis and said, “I doubt it.” I’m a jerk, I know, but you got to use your smarts at yard sales. But on another note, how do you date a needlework piece? Here a few hints to get you started:
- The fabric- Needlework or cross stitch fabric was invented in the mid 60’s due to a renewed interest in the craft. This piece was on a thin piece of cotton.
- The frame- The style of the frame can say a lot. An ornamental one can date it older, where a plastic one is newer. This frame is a slightly molded wooden frame mounted on a solid wood back board.
- The subject- Look at the piece. What elements are included? What is the style of dress? Does it look like the creator had a pattern or does is flow organically? Look at the letters, calligraphy, block? All these things can add up to a certain period. This piece doesn’t have a pattern that I can tell, the clothing and wording suggest a time in the 1950’s to me.
She threw in a coloring book for my toddler and I bought it.
To bring this tired piece into a new era of décor I did a few things:
- I cleaned it, and boy did it need it.
- I reattached the paper backing to the frame.
- I painted the frame a coordinating red color.
- I sanded the molded edges of the frame to make them pop and give it a rustic appearance.
I can’t wait to see if my $2 investment wins the game this year and everyone’s hearts. What fun thrift gifts have you found this holiday season?