Tag Archives: t-shirts

Summer means T-shirt Upcycling with some help from Threadbanger

This post was conjured up by my lovely girlfriend. She got a brand new sewing machine as one of her college graduation gifts. She can sew and mod stuff like none other. So look forward to more “modification and upcycling” posts in the bright future. I didn’t know it when I met her, but she’s a class-A thrifter with a sharp eye. She gets in there elbows deep and sees each item for it’s real potential. Hell, she probably applies the same ethos to dating my nutty ass. ANYWAYS, all you Twin Cities area ladies better sharpen your elbows because she’s gonna be out junkin’ with me in full force. I’m looking forward to spending the summer (and beyond) thrifting and junkin some great treasures with her!

Summer’s hot, so mod an old, tired or thrifted t-shirt into something fresh like in the video above:

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Thrift Gifts – What To Give and What Not To Give.

The holidays are upon us and for some people that pesky recession is still in full effect. Whether you have the means or not, most folks are probably going to be conscious of their spending this holiday season – or until the economy completely “recovers”. With that said Jess and I have been working on a post to divulge the best thriftable holiday gifts to give. Jess sums it up best below:

So here we are at another holiday crossroads. I know for me Christmas lost its sentiment a few years ago. Reason being, time and money. The idea of dedicating my weekends driving around to different malls or shops searching for the perfect gift seems torturous. Especially since holiday shopping has turned into the latest extreme sport. The obvious answer… thrifting for holiday gifts.

MAKE A LIST, CHECK IT TWICE: Before you start you may want to make a list of the people you are shopping for to ensure no one is left out. Even Santa has a list. Plus, last minute holiday shopping is no bueno.

PLAN YOUR ROUTE, ALLOW FOR SURPRISES: If you’re like me you’ll want to get it all done in one day. Google maps is the best way to map out an attack strategy. Simply pick your general destination and search for thrift stores. Even if you have a regular set route, you may discover another store not too far out of the way.

HUNT IN THE DOWNTIMES: Obviously weekends are going to be a circus. If you are lucky enough to dedicate a weekday, don’t think twice, just do it. If you’re really feeling adventurous, make a day trip out of it and drive into the unknown countryside. Just make sure you call beforehand to assure the locations are open.

HIT EM WITH THE WARM & FUZZY: Which brings us to what to get. Thrift store holiday shopping is a bit of a challenge for one reason. You don’t want to give people junk. Put your gift ideas into perspective for the individual recipient. You don’t want to be like my uncle Dan, who notoriously dishes out useless crap at Christmas, such as “used flash lights” and “marine biology periodicals.”

These are our top thrift store holiday gift ideas:

T-Shirts & Cardigans. I fall back on thrift store t shirts for many occasions. The more funny and random the better. Try to find shirts that are a poly-cotton blend. They are the most comfortable.

Mexican Woven Blankets. They are vibrant and warm. Just make sure it’s in good condition, no stains.

Needle Point package. There are some pretty rad needle point patterns out there. You can choose to either give the gift away in the package for your crafty friends, or do the work yourself and frame it. You can find some really neat vintage ones on Etsy too.

Books. These are usually pretty easy to come by if you know the person’s literature preferences well enough. Any book you can usually find in a used book store or a Half Price Books – you can usually find it eventually in a thrift store, for half the used price.

Mugs. The funny and ironic, the ones with states, countries or kittens on them are always a safe bet.

Vintage Decanters. With a recent spike in interest from shows like Mad Men and Wine Library.TV I’ve started noticing that thrift stores are brimming with vintage decanters. Some of them are truly unique and beautiful. They can be used for red wine(s), and/or any hard liquor. Classy.

Board games. This is a new favorite of mine. I love hunting for a particular board game and then eventually finding it all in tact. Some recent favorites of mine are Apples to Apples, and Rummikub. These also provide a post-meal/post-present opening fun time with your family. NOTE: Heavy drinking makes any board game that much more fun with family…

That should be quite enough to encourage you all to get out there and get thrifting for some of your gifts this year. Time is running out! We’d also like to know what you all think would make a great thrift gift. Comment or email in. Have you ever given or received a thrifted gift? MERRY THRIFTSMAS TO ALL.

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Made of Space Age NASA Ceramic and Ink.

Hey party people. I’ve done some minor holiday thrifting. Like always, I picked up some of the usuals: blank t-shirts (probably about 75-80 of them) for screen and gocco printing goodness, glass apothecary jars (lots of them with “gnome tops” as I prefer), some books, yadda yadda yadda. My niche finds are pictured above. We got a cute retro squirrel planter for $1.99, I plan to make one of my baby aloe plants it’s home in there, it’s perfect size. I also scored that weird 70’s colors candy dish thing, it says it’s handmade and Japanese, $1.99. I also found a nice vintage set of acrylic salt & pepper shakers ($.99). The salt & pepper set will be put on Etsy for sale.

A few of my radder finds this time around is a pair of navy and baby blue “ROOS” or Kangaroos brand shoes in my perfect size. I had a pair of these things when I was about 4 years old. Even still has the little “stash” zipper and velcro pocket on the side. At 4 years old I wasn’t “stashin” anything but pebbles or m&m’s, my how time changes things. The Roos were $4.99! Let me also add that although Roos are nice kicks, they stil do not hold a candle to my beloved Sauconys. Next up for my graphic satiation is a stencil font book. Most of these are pretty lame and I almost passed this over but upon further review – this one was real real good. Check out some of the spreads, it makes me want to get crackin’ and vectorize some of those faces to use in projects. The booklet was $.89 cents.

It’s not often I post garments due to the fact that most of my photos blow 99% as is and are usually taken while on 3am coffee highs, but because it’s hard to show them in their essence which is on the person. Anybody want to donate an upper-body mannequin for the cause? My lady has been looking for mannequins for quite a while and would gladly pay for one – hit me up. I had to share a couple great winter-themed garments I picked up. Check out that 70’s light bike jacket, how Steve McQueen is that thing?! Also check out that comfy farm boy/hipster/midwest button up, its authentic old school not a shitty remake from Urban Outfitters nowawadays. The jacket was $3,99 and the button up was $1. 49. Also pictured is this odd “Photo Dryer” I picked up for $2.49 that you place your photo/t-shirt/etc underneath the canvas part and it clicks down and heats up to unilaterally dry whatever is in there. It works great and I tested it out while curing the ink on some prints I was gocco pressing. The only down side is that it sort of smells like a barn, or  a church social if every old person were wearing a burlap farm sack.

Finally, to round out the total nerdiness of this entire post – I found and was giddy about that NASA mug. I immediately thought of giving it to my friend Rustle for xmas (if that butt-crumpet would ever hang out anymore). It reminds me of him because he digs space (who doesn’t right?) and it’s also a running theme in our fly-by-night “band” practices we hold roughly 2x a year. Russ, don’t you want your .99 cent damned NASA mug? Friends buy NASA mugs for friends.

*Also a quick thanks to Josh Peters for clarifying and correcting my banner.

Oregon, my 2nd favorite state.

Found these beauties today at my favorite thrift spot. Hey blog reader did you know Holly Grape is Oregon’s state flower? Hardly seems like a flower, more like, well, … a grape. It’s from 1959. The other is from The Grotto, some huge weird Catholic shrine(s) in Portland. Catholics sorta creep me out sometimes – no offense. I guess these state plate things intrigue me as a designer. The text, imagery, and what they choose to emphasize per state is sort of funny in some ways. Hey at least I’m not into Hummel figurines. The metal black one set me back a whole $.99 cents. The gorgeous ceramic pink w/ inlay one ran $1.99.I’ve been getting a lot of omens and hints lately that maybe Stumptown is a very near future living destination for me. Has anyone ever moved an animal cross-country by vehicle? Is it easy? Tips? Poor Wynstynnn’s probably going to piss in his kitty kennel.

Pile of Blank T-Shirts at the End of the Rainbow Mug.

Hello fellow bloggers and occasional readers,

I’ve probably set a personal record for frequenting the most thrift stores in a particular amount of days. I don’t necessarily have that much variety to show for it, but here goes. I’ve been very into terrariums as of late (laugh it up – I don’t know why.). I just find them interesting in that you can create your own mini biosphere in a small item, watch it dew up and cyclically maintain itself and grow. I remember a huge freestanding probably 3′ tall x 3′ wide circumference terrarium my mom kept in the living room when I was a kid. Mine are made with old (glass only, plastic may mold over time) apothecary jars, clear coffee/cookie jars, mason jars, and milk bottles with tops or corks. It’s a fun and inexpensive 5 step hobby for the indoor Winter months and I plan to dole out a few as gifts this holiday season. With each one I make my craft gets better and I can’t help think about Mr. Miyagi and him delicately pruning his little bonsai trees, danielson. Here’s a helpful basic to-the-point link on how to make one with household stuff. http://www.stormthecastle.com/terrarium/terrarium-basics.htm. Any of the supplies like gravel, or charcoal can be found at any pet store or in your garage. Finally, I visited an old haunt Ax-Man and found some little plastic creatures to put in each one for the imperative “decorative” aspect. Each jar was about $.89 – $1.99 depending on it’s size.

In other news, I found 2 awesome mugs. A rainbow one I intend to sell on Etsy or give as a gift. The other (I’m pictured with) is a designer’s delight with a simple Canadian flag and nice type, I will not be selling this one unless the price is right. Each mug was $.89 each.

I found another designer geek-out item in the book section. A bear scouts field guide manual, SOOO many great 50’s and 60’s illustrations and icons. This was $.99

Another beautiful vintage Yashica SLR was added to the collection. I love when they still have the straps. And I also found a neat set of bright orange 70’s African needle & felt wall hangings which are also for sale on Etsy.

When we left off, I was deep into finding solid color T-shirts at thrift shops in which to print shirts for my pet company and my DIY record label. Since then I’ve discovered a gold mine and basically cleaned out any Twin Cities’ shops of their blank solid color T’s. From my close guesstimate I bought about 90 shirts (mostly dark colors in Medium and Large) for under $65 total. A lot of them were brand new never used. Some major brands like American Apparel, Gildan, No Sweat (Union), Hanes 50/50, and Alternative Apparel. It feels good to reclaim these from the stores and reactivate them into something great to wear! The shirts ranged from $.89 – $2.99 as the most expensive.

In a final thought I’d like to share a wonderful web video I found about America’s consumption and its linear planned obsolescence waste patterns. This made me seriously upset and completely justifies why we need to emphasize recycling, reuse, smarter design, and cleaner technologies. Do yourself a favor and watch it quick, it’s about 20 mins.


October ’08

Hey folks, I found some pretty cool stuff so far this Fall. I was ecstatic to find the Braid 2-disc edition w/ special packaging “Movie Music Vol. 1 & 2” sets for .99 (even though I owned them already individually.) Braid has been my all-time favorite band since about 1999 when I first heard their track “New Nathan Detroits” on the Nowcore! compilation, put out on K-Tel records. My pal Rustle and I even followed them 2 tour dates in the Midwest. Who forfeits Braid cd’s to thrift stores? I’d like to have a stern talk with them…

“FOUR THRIFT STORE SCORES and SEVEN DAYS AGO…” Says honest Abe. I found another Avon brand Abe Lincoln aftershave holder from the 1970’s(?) I’m presuming. I have plans some day to spray paint them both silver and use them as book ends or to flank my bathroom vanity. These are pretty common to find, but they’re near and dear to my heart as the aftershave smell always lingers in these and reminds me of my Grandfather. After 35 years in a bottle you’d think it’d smell rancid, but it smells great – what the hell was in the ingredients back then? Probably straight bourbon, nuclear waste water, and saccharin.

I also found a store that has TONS of blank solid colored t-shirts, I picked up a stack of about 12 for $.99 each. Take THAT American Apparel! My plan is to have my friend screen print my eco-friendly startup companies’ logo on them and give them out as recycled chic swag and promotionals.

Other finds include some books ($.99 ea) by some of my favorite authors, really cool vintage dutch Stelton brand candle holders ($.99) in their exquisitely designed original box, and a massive (screwdriver placed to show scale) old polaroid land camera ($7.99). How “Wes Anderson-esque” is that thing? The case is my favorite part as it has all of it’s original documents and it smells like sweet tarts.