Found in Philadelphia - decorating and updating a historic home with vintage finds.
Title: Found in Philadelphia - decorating and updating a historic home with vintage finds.
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Found in Philadelphia - decorating and updating a historic home with vintage finds. ≡ MENU About Contact Welcome to Found in Philadelphia! I’m Lola, and I believe a little ingenuity and a love for thrifted finds is the key to creating a beautiful home on a budget. This blog is a collection of budget decor ideas, DIYs, and a celebration of things vintage and handmade. Thrifted What I Bought Secondhand in July: Budgeting & Recap August 1, 2016 July went by in a flash, which means that it was a pretty good month for me. As I’ve mentioned previously (and plan to blog more about in the future), since I started this blog I’ve been battling pretty serious depression, so some months this year have been a struggle to get through. Thankfully, July was great up until this last week, which has been harder. But I’m proud of having kept up with my blog regardless. A few of my favorite posts this month: Mailing Wedding Invitations with Vintage Stamps Gold Foil Upcycled Frame DIY How to Pack the Perfect Travel Journal Kit What I Did in July The highlight of July was having my cousins Annette and Isabella visiting from Texas. Crystal and I met up with them in DC, and then they came and stayed with us in Philly for a few days. It was so much fun doing some of the major tourist things that we rarely do, like a hop-on-hop-off tour here in Philly, and visiting the Smithsonian in DC. A photo posted by Lola ? vintage blogger (@foundinphila) on Jul 18, 2016 at 2:21pm PDT We escaped for a little bit on our own in DC and had one of our quintessential dates, which usually involve wandering around an art museum and getting coffee. This time we visited the Phillips Collection and swapped coffee for Aperol Spritz at Duke’s Grocery. It was almost exactly the anniversary of the day I proposed to Crystal at Liverpool Street Station in London, so we were hooked by the promise of an East End inspired oasis in DC, and we weren’t disappointed. A photo posted by Lola ? vintage blogger (@foundinphila) on Jul 20, 2016 at 7:51am PDT At my request, we all got tickets for the butterfly garden at the Natural History Museum. Talk about a retreat in the big city — the magic of butterflies flitting around transports you far away from both the streets of DC and the tourist-thronged Smithsonian. I’ve lived in Philly for almost three years, and this month finally made it to the Magic Gardens. It’s definitely one of the coolest places in Philly, and my new must-do when we have visitors in town. We also spent time at Reading Terminal Market, where I naturally got my favorite ice cream — Bassett’s WHYY experience. And, of course, we got cheesesteaks at my favorite place, Joe’s Steaks. What I Bought in July Here’s what I bought in July. It didn’t feel like a whole lot, but in writing this post, I realized I spent more than I thought. Which is probably a good reason to be doing these posts. APC Blue Romper: A photo posted by Lola ? vintage blogger (@foundinphila) on Jul 25, 2016 at 10:18am PDT Purchased from: Poshmark (use the code BXXPS to get $5 off your first order!) Price: $25 I’d been in the market for the perfect romper for a while, and finally found this one on Poshmark. Not only did it fit perfectly, but it arrived just in time for the epic heatwave we had in Philly, and I’ve been wearing it constantly. I even wore it for the Philly bloggers Instagram meetup I hosted a couple weeks ago! Check out Sola and ‘s posts from the event. Kelley Purkey Ink Set: Purchased from: Project Life Shop & Swap on Facebook Price: $13 I’d been wanting the full set of these inks for my planner for a while, but didn’t think that I’d manage to find them secondhand. Thankfully, I’d mentioned wanting them to another member of the buy & sell group I’m in on Facebook, so she let me know when she was ready to part with them and I snapped them up. Crowley Record Player: Purchased from: Circle Thrift Price: $50 This is the biggest purchase I’ve made all year, and it was almost an impulse buy. I spotted this record player in the glass case at Circle Thrift (which, if you know thrift stores, is code for ‘this might be a thrift store, but this stuff is still expensive.’) And I walked away. I decided to think it over, and if it was still there the following Thursday (student discount day!) I might buy it. It was still there, and as I had just turned in my French final earlier that day, I decided I deserved it. The sweet folks at Circle Thrift let me test it out before purchasing, so I left the shop feeling confident I’d made a worthy splurge. And I’m smitten, guys, just smitten with this thing. Vintage Photo Lamp: Purchased from: Circle Thrift Cost: $15 Confession: this was my only truly spur-of-the-moment, not-sure-if-I-regret it purchase of the month. The lamp was just too cool to pass up. At first I thought I’d use it for blog photos, and then I thought it might be a cool piece to turn into an actual light fixture. Would doing that burn the house down? Am I going to get any actual good photos with this thing? Only time will tell. Bookshelf: Purchased from: Circle Thrift (yes, I’m a good customer there.) Cost: $20 I’ve been looking for the perfect bookcase for months. Naturally, I found this one when I wasn’t even at the thrift store to shop, just to get some ideas for my last post (How to Recognize Value at the Thrift Store.) I posted a peek of it on Twitter, but you’ll be seeing more of it soon when I finally post an update on our bedroom redo. Fabric Remnants: Purchased from: eBay Cost: $4 I’m working on sewing a skirt, and needed a little bit more fabric. It hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m crossing my fingers that it works out! Total: $127 Goal: $99 oops. but not terrible, really. I promised in my six months of buying nothing new recap that I’d start writing recap posts each month about what I bought. This was my first official recap, so I’d love to know what you thought! { 3 } Thrifted How to Recognize Value at the Thrift Store July 30, 2016 Even for the seasoned thrift shopper, it’s hard to sift quickly through the huge amount of items available at the thrift store. A couple people have asked me how I hone in on the things I buy, and how I decide whether or not to pass on something that looks promising. I touched on some this in my post on how to edit when you find too much at the thrift store, but I thought it was time for a comprehensive post on what I look for and what constitutes a great thrift score for me. A lot of this is geared towards clothing, where I’m pickier about quality, but it also often holds true for housewares and furniture as well. Look for high quality materials This is the first thing I look for, because it’s also the easiest — usually you can find the fabric content right on the tag. I generally try to pass on anything that’s made of polyester, and actively search for garments made of silk, cotton, linen and other natural fibers. Vintage dresses made of Rayon are also highly collectable and desirable. When it comes to furniture, I try to steer clear of flat-packed furniture like Ikea and search for solid wood. Look for high-end brand names: This one is fairly obvious — nothing beats a great designer thrifting find — but it’s one of the easiest ways to sort through the mountains of fast-fashion castoffs that flood thrift stores nowadays. In addition to designer names, I often look for good-quality mid-range brand names, especially older pieces where I know thequality is high. Staples from brands like LL Beanand older JCrew won’t look out of fashion after many seasons and will wear forever. I couldn’t pass up this gorgeous 90’s JCrew dress with its great floral print. Especially if you’re not a typical high-end shopper, don’t be afraid to gravitate towards an obviously well-made piece that looks high-quality. A quick google might reveal a designer name you didn’t know. Likewise, spending some time browsing high-end department stores can be a great education for future thrifting expeditions. My #1 rule of thumb: If I could buy it for the same price on sale brand new, I pass on the item. Look for signs of high quality construction: This one takes a little bit of learning, but it’s worth studying up. Learn to recognize high-end construction details, and you’ll be able to recognize quality regardless of the brand name. This is helpful when you’re hunting for vintage clothing, where brands may be unfamiliar. It also helps sort out better-made handmade items from their lower-quality counterparts. This blog post at Dress Well, Do Good has some good examples of what high-quality seam constructions and other details look like. Another good resource is this post at Recovering Shopaholic, which goes into depth about high-quality construction. (These rules hold true when shopping in retail stores, too!) For furniture, quality details are even easier to spot, like dovetailed construction and high-quality drawer pulls. I was drawn to these pants by the obviously high-quality fabric and well-constructed color blocking, before I noticed they were from high-end designer Richard Chai. Look at the region of manufacture: This doesn’t always hold true for clothing — high-end pieces canbe made in China just as well as fast fashion — but it’s something I often look for in housewares and other items. I love finding glass made in the Czech Republic (or Czechoslovakia!), Staffordshire pottery from England, and china from China. I collect Polish pottery, and I always keep an eye out for it at thrift stores. Polish pottery is sold in the United States at about a 3x markup from what it’s sold for in Poland, but it can be found for a couple dollars a piece at thrift stores. These English teacups are one of my all-time favorite thrift finds. Look for subtle signs of wear: This might be counterintuitive, but it’s a tip that’s served me well. Although it’s wonderful finding barely worn and brand new pieces at the thrift store, signs of wear can tip you off to how well the piece will wear in the future. If you use any of these tips on your next trip to the thrift store, I’d love to know what you find! { 3 } Philadelphia Searching for Retreat in the Big City July 27, 2016 One of the first things I learned when I moved on my own to a big city, back when I was only eighteen years old, was that it was easier to love the hustle and bustle of city life when you had someplace to retreat to. Living with roommates in cramped apartments in Brooklyn and London, my homes weren’t always the tranquil retreat I wanted them to be. Ever since, after moving to New York after college and then to Warsaw, London, and finally settling in Philadelphia, I have sought out places of retreat that, even when filled with other people, help me feel at peace. These are the places I go to think, to journal, to be inspired, and to rejuvenate my love for city living whenever things seem to move too fast. Here are some of my favorite places to find retreat in the cities I’ve lived in. Boston: Even when it’s bustling with people, nothing beats the tranquility of the courtyard at the Boston Public Library. Some of my favorite summer memories are camping out there with my best friend, Erica, while we worked on our respective novels. There was something about being surrounded by books and other readers and writers that just fueled my creativity. London: Whenever I got overwhelmed in London, I’d escape into a place with art. Even though places like the Tate Modern and National Gallery are almost always bustling, I quickly learned where to find the quiet galleries. One of my favorites was the Wallace Collection, which is also one of my top picks for having tea in the city. The other was Raven Row, within walking distance of my apartment, which always had stunning exhibitions and just the right number of people. Top: Ian Baxter&’s Rebecca’s Bagged Place at Raven Row; bottom: inside the galleries at the Wallace Collection. New York: I have a vivid memory of the best cry I’ve ever had: after getting my visa to Poland denied, I left the Polish Consulate and crossed the street to the Morgan Library, and fell to pieces in front of a Dan Flavin beautifully installed on its own in a small gallery. Since that moment, the Morgan Library has been my place of comfort and refuge in New York City, one of the places on earth where I feel most like myself. Photo of Pierpont Morgan’s Library from the Morgan Library website. Warsaw: Warsaw might be the city closest to my heart, partially because it is so easy to escape into paradise in the middle of an otherwise often grey and dour city. There are two places I would go when I needed a reprieve from city life: Krolikarnia and Wilanow, both former estates of the nobility that have been converted into public parks and museums. Krolikarnia has a beautiful sculpture garden, and Wilanow lovely cafes where I loved to sit and write in my journals. Top: the Krolikarnia sculpture garden in the winter; bottom: the gardens at Wilanow. Philadelphia: Here’s the funny thing — even after three years of living in Philadelphia, I’m still on the hunt for my favorite place to escape. At the moment, I think I’d have to say it’s Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown, which is right on the Delaware River and has stunning views of the Ben Franklin Bridge crossing into New Jersey. Now it’s your turn — where do you find retreat, in the city or otherwise? { 2 } Inspiration Inspiration for Decorating with Vintage Postcards July 25, 2016 When I started planning my wedding, I started collecting vintage postcards that I knew were going to be used in multiple places within our decor. I got so into hunting down just the right postcards that they became a collection in their own right. I’m even writing my master’s thesis about postcards! Even so, we don’t have any vintage postcards displayed around our home. In the quest to change that, I started scouring Pinterest for some ideas for utilizing vintage postcards as decor elements. One of the challenging things about framing vintage postcards for display is that they’re an uncommon size, so you can’t just go and pop them in a standard size frame with a standard sized matte. Unsurpisingly, lots of people have found creative ways to overcome that challenge. Here are a few of my favorites: In this example found on Country Living, vintage postcards are glued directly onto a canvas to create a unique piece of wall art. I love how Molly from the Nesting Game used floating frames from Pier 1 in order to completely sidestep the need for a matte. Meanwhile, Crystal from the Weathered Fox has a great DIY on modifying the size of commercially available mattes in order to get a custom matted look on a budget. The other option, of course, is not to frame them at all! I’m in love with this stunning installation of vintage postcards hung with fishing wire, as seen on a Martha Stewart home tour. This mobile-like way of hanging them is also so pretty – found as part of a stunning house tour on FrenchyFancy. If you’re in the market for some postcards to complete your own vintage postcard decor, take a look at my Etsy store! As a blog reader, you can get a 15% discount by using the discount code foundinblog. { 2 } Thrifted How to Go Thrifting with Friends July 21, 2016 A while back, Chrystina of the blog Chrystina Noel asked me if we could go thrifting together. She was planning on throwing a fancy dinner party, and wanted to thrift all the things she needed for her tablescape. It turns out I also have a dinner party I’ve been planning, so we decided to go together and hunt down all the decor pieces we needed. A photo posted by Lola ? vintage blogger (@foundinphila) on Jun 25, 2016 at 10:24am PDT A few weeks ago, we headed down to Philly AIDS Thrift (one of my favorite shops in Philly.) Thrifting with Chrystina was a blast, partially because she’s a thrifting novice, and it was so much fun to show her the ropes and to remember what it was like to discover thrift stores for the first time. (You can read all about her thrifted party decor at her blog, including some pieces of advice I gave her while we were shopping!) I’m usually a solo thrift shopper, so it was a completely different experience going through the store with someone else. I love Philly AIDS Thrift because it is HUGE. There are two floors, absolutely packed with stuff. It’s impossible not to find what you’re looking for. Here’s my advice for other solo thrifters who want to go shopping with friends: Have different goals: The best friends to thrift with are the ones who are looking for different stuff, so you can help each other find what you’re looking for rather than compete for the same items. This can be as simple as thrifting with a friend who’s a different size or has a different personal style. For me and Chrystina, we were both looking for decor pieces, but were planning completely different parties that demanded different decor styles. It worked perfectly! Always follow the ‘who saw it first’ rule: Even when following the above advice, sometimes you’ll find great items that both people want. Agree to stick to the rule that the first person who saw it gets first dibs, and your friendship should last this thrifting adventure. We started off by combing through the linens, and both found tablecloths for our respective parties. I also found some gorgeous 1960’s floral fabric that I’m turning into a romper. Combine expertise: One of the best tools when thrifting is the sometimes esoteric knowledge that lets you know when a good find is a good find. Go thrifting with a friend who has different interests, hobbies, and knowledge than you do, and suddenly you have two times the thrifting acumen. Chrystina is a font of knowledge about throwing parties, while I was the thrifting veteran. Together, we were definitely able to complete our mission more successfully than had we each gone alone. Get a second opinion: Be open to advice and suggestions, and you’ll walk away from the thrift store happier with your purchases. Maybe your friend will hone in on the potential of an item you overlooked, or talk you out of a needless purchase. Sometimes I find that just talking out my thoughts about a potential buy helps me make my decision. Go again: Once you find a great thrifting buddy, make going together a habit! I’m already looking forward to thrifting with Chrystina again in the future. With Chrystina’s help, I started the collection of mismatched china I’ve been dreaming about for years! This is just one corner of Philly AIDS Thrift’s room full of china and silverware. I love how Chrystina’s party turned out! Chrystina’s blog is a wealth of knowledge about party planning. Here are some of my other favorite posts: Simple Tips for Planning a Movie Night The Circle of Brunch Tips for Hosting Monthly Dinner Parties 1920’s Party Decorations { 10 } Previous About Contact Whois

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