Category Archives: thrifted vintage love

six weeks later… here is what i wore today for $2.50

Thrifted clothing day: tank which was cut from a tee by someone the exact same size as me but has a tiny hole in the back, 50 cents; skirt by Theory, $2.

I had to change out of the skirt to leave the house as it turned out to be quite see-through. A girl always needs a red slip, though, right?

(I cannot believe I am letting you see my kitchen counter that messy. I gotta go straighten up.)


turquoise kitchen redux

I was in love with the kitchen in our old spot: big old sink, turquoise walls, black and white checkered floor, huge windows. We put a lot of work into making it our own and I miss it dearly. The new place is a little more well-kept and the management company much more involved, so painting our new cocina turquoise was a no-no. The walls are the same gray we chose for the entire unit which, thankfully, makes a great contrasting color for my favorite shade. The first order of business was adding bits of turquoise everywhere I could. Most of this stuff had been orange in its prior life, plain wood or metal before that. I love how easy it is to update with a can of spray paint.


Shelf: $3, IKEA
Spray paint: Montana Gold Shock Turquoise, $6
Lotus bowls: .50 – $1.00, various thrift stores. I use these in almost every room of the house. I think I have around a dozen!
Mortar & pestle: gift from Papo
Yellow plastic sugar and cream containers: $3, rummage sale


Vintage shaker: $5, rummage sale
Vases: $2, thrift store
Wooden bowl: $1, thrift store
Bombay Sapphire: priceless !


Teak salt and pepper shakers: $30, A Hunted House, Washington DC
Silverware people: gift from Papo
Spice rack: $3, thrifted
Spray paint: the same Montana Gold Shock Turquoise, $6


Hook: $4 for two, Ace Hardware
Spray paint: Again, Montana Gold Shock Turquoise, $6


Coat rack: IKEA, $3
Spray paint: Of course, Montana Gold Shock Turquoise, $6
White cow: $8, thrift store
Wood art: $3-5, thrift stores


Knobs: $1.49 for SIX, IKEA

And of course, the cabinet doors came off almost immediately. The bottom doors that remained got a dose of color courtesy of the cheapest knobs ever.



When our cutlery tray proved too wide for our new drawers we were forced to improvise. These jars came from the junk store and have been used for everything: remember my mini-planter from ReadyMade? They’re perfect for spoons, forks and knives.

And that, my friends, is a turquoise-tinted kitchen. I had much better photos of the whole room put together but accidentally deleted over 150 shots from my camera. I’m hoping to find a recovery tool online lest I have to contort my body into all those weird picture-getting angles again. More of the kitchen soon…

dovetail lamp + a peek of the dining room

I haven’t had a proper dining room since we occupied the mansion back in my mid-teens. That experience as a whole didn’t go so well. Maybe this is where my ambivalence towards any kind of formal area, be it for seating or dining or really doing anything other than sleeping since you kind of need a bedroom for that (unless you’re my dad, then the living room futon does just fine), stems from. You wanna eat? Do it in the kitchen, while sitting on a counter or at the table, your choice. Or maybe you’d prefer the back porch? Or the couch? Or the bed… while reading a magazine and swatting the dog away from the bowl perched perilously on your lap? Fine by me. Just clean up after yourself.

However, I now have a dining room. A tablecloth-covered desk may be acting as a table and the two benches that used to anchor our bay windows are standing in place for chairs but it’s worked for one gathering so far.

The tablecloth is a piece of fabric my friend Kate brought back from a trip to Curaçao a few years ago and the curtains are hold-overs from the old place. I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to update them soon. Any ideas? Maybe I could turn the tablecloth into curtains. Hmmm….

My favorite part of this room is the new lamp. It blows my $4 floor lamp out of the water both in style and price and was worth every penny thanks to a local vintage boutique. I had been out with Chernara all day looking specifically for a floor lamp for the dining room and I happened to pop into Dovetail while waiting for an order of Thai food from a neighboring restaurant. I pass the shop everyday on my way to work and loved a recent write-up of a co-owner from Time Out but this was my first time visiting. It also happened to be a day where every single item in the store was half off, making me a very happy girl.

And of course I love all of the built-ins! Perfect for the books that used to line the floor of our old abode.

So…who’s coming over to sit at the grown-up table?

Psssst… Chicago! Check out Dovetail!
1452 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 243-3100

saturday, done: new bedroom in the new apartment

Hello, Sunday. You delicious day of rest, you.

I spent all day yesterday working on the apartment. Our previous unit, as you know, required a crazy amount of TLC and all we have to do here is pop stuff on walls and arrange tschotskes. It almost seems unfair and will surely give me less to blog about.

The landlord painted in our color of choice before we moved in–if you’re looking for a true gray paint, Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore is absolutely perfect– and since painting and repainting and spackling and stripping was one of the things that took up huge chunks of time in the old place, not having to do anything with the walls here is awesome.

The big project yesterday was hemming a pair of IKEA curtains I initially bought to replace our ugly kitchen blinds. I found them too dark for the only room in the house that gets really great light and decided to use them in the bedroom instead. Hesitant to use the IKEA iron-on hemming thingie, I’d put the project off for a month but finally decided to tackle it. They turned out perfect and even though I’m comfortable enough with my sewing machine to sew a hem, this was much easier and didn’t require me actually finding my sewing machine pedal in one of the boxes we’ve yet to unpack.

As with most old-school Chicago apartments, our bedroom is crazy small. This is the left side of the room, a print of The Mister’s from Nigeria above the bed in lieu of a proper headboard. I’m on the hunt for something that will work in such a small space but not holding my breath. The lamp is from my mother-in-law and I wish the photograph showed it in all it’s glory. The top is paper and the bottom wood. Speaking of wood, I love all of the woodwork in this unit; it’s rare to find it not painted over these days.

And here we have the opposite side of the room. The dresser extends all the way to the wall on the right side and next to that is a closet without a door. Tiny, huh? Since moving back to Chicago from California I almost prefer small bedrooms. They feel cave-like and cozy.

The only thing I’m not keen on in this room is the side table. I contemplated spray painting it the way I did the dresser but thought it would look a little too fun house-y. Add side table to my hunting list. Happily, everything in the room, save for the bed and bedding and curtains, was thrifted or Craigslisted. I’m sure I’ll happen upon a table in the same way.

So what do you think of the bedroom so far? Side table suggestions? A shape I should be on the lookout for that would compliment the dresser?

PS Wonky internet. The story of this apartment’s life and what I am blaming, at least partially, my lack of blogging on lately. For some reason the wireless signal doesn’t hold up well on the back porch and that is where I like to sit and type, especially on November nights like tonight, over sixty degrees with gusts of tropical-feeling Windy City winds. But I can barely get my email to load out here. We’ll work on a fix for that this week ’cause I miss my little corner of the internet. How I only have two bars less than twenty feet from my Airport is beyond me.

putting up the plate wall

The Mister was in NYC for the weekend and I happily spent my husband-less Sunday putting up our wall o’ plates and generally organizing and decorating the kitchen.  I am embarrassed to report that I did this through three cycles of Nostalgia, Ultra, an album I swore I was ambivalent about but haven’t been able to turn off in the 72 hours since I saw the newly released and weird Swim Good video, which prompted me to check out all of the songs in their entirety again.  It provided good background music and now I know all of the songs and interludes by heart. I need to start buying albums and not relying on Pandora so much. It was fun to be exposed to something new that all the kids out there are talking about! I feel very with it now. Moving on.

Before the plates.  The silverware is in mugs because our new drawers are too small for cutlery holders; we’ll have to come up with a better solution soon.

Per Rosie’s suggestion in the comments of this post, I laid all of the plates out and moved them around until I found a pattern I liked.

Then I started hanging.  The walls are plaster, so I was able to use a nail for some of the easy areas but had to resort to my trusty drill when I hit something hard.

I changed my mind a bunch of times at the last minute and decided to make it longer rather than wider.  Even though I did this rather haphazardly and didn’t follow my initial plan, I can see the curve in the smaller plates and it is just what I initially envisioned but couldn’t get on the floor.  Some of my plates did not make the cut so I have a few plate holders left over. I must go thrift more of them, of course.

I hung up my old orange and now turquoise shelf above the stove and put up the wood cutting that I swear is my dog in the recess between the counter and our cabinets.

And that is the kitchen so far. Not bad for the first two weeks in our new apartment, huh?

I still miss a lot about our old kitchen. Namely our old gal of a kitchen sink (I really did call her old gal in my head) and our cheapie white cabinets and faux wood counters. The latter two are things most people in an apartment would hate but they worked so well with our style and this granite-and-brand-new-cabinet thing is so not me. Next up: the doors come off. I feel a little strange taking the doors off of cabinets that are so new and shiny but I can’t take it anymore. I want to see my glasses, my plates, my bowls. Looks like me and the drill have some work to do this week!

Do you like the plate wall? Don’t you think I need more of them? Shouldn’t it stretch down the whole hall? Aren’t plates awesome?

mama’s skirt: i finally wore it!

Back in March, I shot some photos of myself wearing one of the two clothing items of my mom’s that I own. Last night, after writing a quick update here and lamenting on what to wear in the last sentence, I walked into my closet and pulled the skirt off of its hanger.

I paired it with my favorite white tank, my trusty turquoise sandals, and a canvas shoulder bag decorated with pin-up ladies from the 40s and 50s, and off we went into the night.

It was windy and this skirt is of the wrapping variety, so I did run into some almost-peep-show moments as the material whooshed up behind me but other than that, the skirt was perfect. I felt like I was channeling Judy Lynne with every step and I’m sure she knew it, wherever her soul may be.

Related Posts
Mama’s Skirt

thrifted: a red skirt & white tank

I must have been saying something important. And loud.

Last weekend was The Silver Room’s annual Sound System Block Party and it was the place to be despite extreme heat and humidity. I took a ton of photos but also handed the camera over to my brother-in-law, Mr. Lekan Jeyifo{us} (whose work was featured on 2Modern and AphroChic this week, by the way) and finally got some shots of ME in the mix.

I’ll be posting all of the photos as soon as I get a chance to go through them all. I’m also thinking of doing that annoying watermark thingie on all future photos since I seem to find my snapshots all over the internet, used without permission or trackbacks. Remember to Link With Love, folks!

Onto the thrifted part of this post. The night before the TSR Block Party I headed to Village Discount Outlet. I had $20 burning a hole in my pocket and wanted some stress relief after a long and difficult week. My refuge for those down-in-the-dumps times is always a thrift store. VDO delivered. The red linen high-waisted skirt ran me about $3 and the Gap tank was around fifty cents. I also picked up a 70s looking green lamp, a gray dress and more white tees. Score.

All photos by Lekan Jeyifo for Urban Casita