amigas4all things to do AZ old wood hearts

Love the things you have-Living Thrifty

Love the things you have. Interesting title for a DIY post but hear me out. We all love new things. I sure do. Nothing like a “new car smell” (new clothes, new furniture, etc).

However, In a time when things are so expensive and the earth is going through some harsh environmental changes: forest fires, floods, you name it, we need to focus on retaining resources so our kids will have a tree to look at and a house to live in. I know it sounds depressing but there is a point to this and it’s not that bad.


Often, we hear about recycle, reuse all over the place and often wonder how we can integrate the new with the old. Should I settle for the things I have, or should I buy new?

Amigas4all things to do in AZ Vintage art trunk desk

Amigas4all vintage fair things to do plate flowersOur tendency is to naturally buy something new as soon as things look a little old. But some of these things are still in good shape but look tired, dated or scratched or you simply “fell out of love” with those things.



Home Shopping-Love the savings

However, these things are already yours and they are good and they are paid for. While I understand and love the idea of buying thrifty and I see great posts and ideas on how to shop at thrift stores and ideas on how to “improve” those things you just bought, I love even more the idea of “shopping” in my own home. It’s free! It’s already paid for a long time ago and over the years the item paid itself with the normal wear and tear of life.

So why not, instead of thrift store shopping, you take a look around the house? That old table, the night stands that are all banged up and kicked. How about that oak furniture that screams the 90’s or the chunky side tables from the 80’s? Or grandma’s old chairs or vanity? We look for those things at thrift stores and antique places all the time but what if you already have those things at home?

table redo, reuse, recycle amigas4all, love what you have, thrift shopping

Yes, sometimes you can feel bad about painting over something like that but it’s all beat up, chipped (dang, laminates!!) and you still feel funny about it. But dreading the look of that piece is not healthy for you. So, why not bring it to life? Patch it, spackle it, paint it. Why not love the things you already have and bring that “new car smell” to these things?

Just a little paint, primer, sand paper, deglosser or any other technique you see around Pinterest or the “Internets” can accomplish that. Anyone walking into your house will see that something is different. They will ask you if you redecorated and you can proudly say “SUUURE” (wink, wink).

Weekend Project-Love the old

Bear in mind that it doesn’t apply to furniture only. Old brass knick knacks, vases, left over glasses from an old collection, porcelain (hang grandma’s plates on the wall!). Check the wood pile in the backyard for some new signs (some can cost over 100 bucks!! (See here how I made a sign with transfer printed from my house printer and paint!).

amigas4all spray painted table trash backyardHow about that drab looking patio table and chairs rusting in your backyard? Clean them out, spray paint: voilà!! (it screams weekend project).

Everything comes together with paint.



Look at the before and after pics of my laundry room redo: The cabinets were great, the marble top was great but it lacked “oomph”. PAINT!!!!!. I just love how just some little paint brought the room together.

amigas4all laundryroom redo beforeamigas4all landry redo after

Vanity Facelift-Love what’s already in the home

Take a look at my bathroom vanity: This thing is from 1964!!!! It was OLD! and it looked old but when I saw that vanity I saw an opportunity. I also had a good reason not to get a new vanity because of some issues with a door that would not open if not for the shape of the vanity. Since getting a new one would create a gap unless it was custom-made I opted to keep it.

amigas4all kitchen bath before redo

amigas4all redo kitchen bath beforeAlso, the wood frame was sturdy and good quality. The base had some mold issues but I took it out and put some legs on it and it was perfect for the space. People pay top dollar to get a nice antique vanity to put in their bathrooms. I had an original right here!!

I just slapped some wood trims to modernize the doors and give it a shaker style to them (just add plain wood strips and liquid nails) and then of course some paint and then new hardware. However, the top of course had to be new so I opted for butcher block but that’s for another post. I love the fact that I was able to keep an original “vintage” item and was able to make it new and special.

amigas4all kitchen bath redo during wood stripamigas4all kitchen bath during redo frame








amigas4all kitchen bath after higher pixel

The point is: reusing, repurposing does not have to look like your kids spiral noodle project (did I say that out loud?!). Your old stuff can look expensive and fabulous and right out of a magazine and you will get to enjoy those pieces for years to come and with the pride that comes along with having done it yourself. You can and you will fall in love with them again.


Things To Do in Arizona....When you Want to Go Vintage Shopping fair AZ flag wood

Things To Do in Arizona….Go Vintage Shopping!

Vintage shopping is not always in a tourist’s mind when traveling unless you are me (hopefully I’m not the only one). Every place I travel to I like to see what local goodies I can find. And when I say local goodies, I’m not talking about the local foods and yummy drinks (well, I check those too!) but historical local goodies. For example, if you visit states in the East coast you are more likely to find older furniture (British, French, Primitives) and smalls from the Civil War (forks, cans, bags, buttons, etc). Go to Missouri or Louisiana you will find lots of French goodies (furniture, lace, etc).

But what about the West? Compared to the rest of the country the West is relatively young or so we think.

amigas4all things to do AZ old wood heartsWe know that the Spanish visited some areas of Arizona between the 1500 and 1700s with their forts and missions but this was a long, long time ago and we wonder how much of it survived. And what history can we gather since, say the late 1850s, when things became a little more official (the United States bought Arizona from Mexico in 1853)? We also know that Arizona was a territory until 1912. If you think about it, it’s not that long ago. Sorry, I must have lost you by now with the history lesson but this background is important when looking for certain antiques or vintage items. Which brings us to the question above: What kinds of antiques can one find in Arizona?

Well, most people think Cowboys and Native Americans when they think of Arizona. Sure they are a great part of Arizona’s history. Trailblazers, inhospitable heat, dryness, creatures Things To Do in Arizona....When you Want to Go Vintage Shopping fair AZ wagon wheeltrying to kill you (rattlesnakes, scorpions, Gila monsters! Yaiks!). It took these pioneers a lot of courage and it took a lot of tools to build this State! And you can count on one thing from Arizona’s vintage shops: spurs, primitive tools, cowboy hats (oldish and new), dried wood boards-the kind you can make signs with! (Heart palpitations and itchy hands just talking about it!) and lots of Native American goodies (moccasins, dream catchers, headdresses (old and new), arrowheads, turquoise and more.

But Arizona is not all about cowboys. People have been living here for a while and one thing Arizona is big with: New residents! That’s right! People who come from all over the country and the world to live in Arizona and with them: Stuff!! French furniture, British desks, the works! It’s like having the world at your feet, right in your back yard (I mean, not literally your backyard but close enough).

So with that in mind and knowing I can find all sorts of goodies from all over, what is a girl to do? Where do I go to find those things?

amigas4all things to do AZ pipe lamp

Arizona is filled with vintage/antique stores everywhere. Some of the places I like to go are not too far from me in Phoenix. But cities nearby also have great stores and some are pretty close to the “old west”. I mean, they are new cities but still growing and you still see the same buildings from the early days of the West full of vintage goodies. It’s like traveling through time!

Please note that I am not making any money telling you about these places. In fact, they don’t even know I’m talking about them but I will tell you because these are my favorites in Phoenix. I will give you names and if you Google them you will find the addresses very easily.

Brass Armadillo: They have two stores in Arizona but my favorite is the one in Phoenix.

Imagine a store the size of a giant supermarket (big box type) full, I mean FULL of goodies. Vintage, old, rusty, rustic, used, beat up goodies. Furniture of all kinds, from primitive to mid century to mid 80s. Old books, clothing (vintage and old), hats and purses (imagine finding hats from the 30s-so adorbs!).

The store is divided in stalls where each vendor displays their goodies and the aisles are given street names. Why streets? Because this place is huuuge!! If you find something you like and you can’t carry it around, you’ll need to be able to find it somehow to pay for it. Street names are an easy way to do that. They even give you a map of the store when you first come in. The map has lines for each street so you can write the vendor number, the item number and the street name so the store assistants can locate the piece and save it for you, especially large pieces. I have “lost” what I wanted many times because I forgot to write the street name. The place has so many “streets” and “stalls” that you can easily spend 4 hours there and not even see the time go by. They even have a resting area with tables and chairs by the bathrooms so you can take a break during your shopping. The only drawback is not having a coffee shop (it closed recently-sniff!).

Some of my best furniture I found at that store. Including these babies

amigas4all things to do AZ daybed

Amigas4all things to do in AZ low daybed fireplace

These were super well made 1960’s twin beds. I paid $120 for both beds and while the varnish was chipped, the wood was in excellent condition. I sanded and painted them and since I needed a day bed and a couch for two different rooms I used the two head boards to make my ultra fancy “daybed” in the “inside porch” I created in the parlor (yes, a parlor! Cute!-Left Pic) and the “couch” went to the fireplace area in my living room (Right pic). For that one, I used the foot boards so it would have lower sides.

Amigas4all things to do in AZ candle holder antique 1820Other goodies I found there were this 1820’s candle holder for $100 bucks!!

Amigas4all things to do in AZ white side table

This cute table

These salvaged doors from the 1910’s

Amigas4all things to do in AZ door mexican primitive

Amigas4all things to do in AZ valance old door

One became a Mexican primitive art project (I will soon post this step by step project) and the other became frame/valance in my bedroom.

This is the kind of place that you walk around and feel the good times come back: “Oh look! My mom had those plates when I grew up!” Or “I had that very lamp in my bedroom!”, “Grandma had that collection of pictures in her house!” It’s like walking on memory lane.

The best part is that it’s not just old or vintage. It’s re-purposed, recycled, renewed and/or ready for your own talented hands to do that same. It’s worth checking that place out.

Amigas4all things to do in AZ Vintage art

Melrose on 7th Ave”: This is not a store but several stores in one street! 7th Avenue in Phoenix (between Camelback Rd and Indian School) is a street that used to be a run down area with tire shops and miscellaneous office buildings. It was slowly revitalized and it is now a great spot for vintage, antique and all sorts of stuff to recycle and reuse.

If you like walking you can park your car in one spot and go up and down the street (bring comfy Amigas4all things to do in AZ Vintage art trunk deskshoes, it’s a long street!). The problem is you’re gonna want your car nearby because it’s impossible to leave those stores without a lot of stuff! You will find places selling just clothes, mid-century furniture (Mids are a big deal in AZ-Frank Lloyd Wright built and inspired a lot of building designs in Arizona). You will also find “Goodwill type stores” where you can buy good quality dressers and other furniture you can refurbish to give it that vintage look. I am sure you will find a lot of inspiration pieces too and lots of materials to create new “old” things.

One of the stores I like to shop in that area is Home Again. It’s not a large store but it is PACKED with stuff.                                                                                                                   

I found this screen door from the 1810’s there. Amigas4all things to do in AZ 1810 doorI use it as a display piece for my babies’ feather wreath (I have a lot of birds who shed feathers every 6 months! I can smell another tutorial right now) and I also use it as a frame for my favorite wedding photo (notice the same pic in the salvaged door above?)

Zinnia’s at Melrose: This is another store I like to shop for vintage and unusual stuff. This is a two-storey warehouse type building with soooo much stuff your wallet will be shaking in its boots (do wallets have feet? Wow, that’s deep, man!). 

There are also vintage fairs here and there, especially when the weather is not ridiculously hot in Arizona. Just two weeks ago I went to this lovely fair at the Cardinal’s Stadium where lots of vendors were showing their creations. From upcycling to recycling, from shabby “chic-ing” to plain old rusty stuff, there was something for everybody.

Amigas4all vintage fair things to do plate flowersAmigas4all vintage fair things to do vintage things Amigas4all vintage fair things to do buckets                                                                                    

I got great new connections for future blogs and inspiration for my future projects and posts. I had to really control myself not to buy everything (well, I wanted this wagonwheel for my bar decorating project-here). In the end it was a little too heavy for my ceiling (sniff).

amigas4all things to do AZ old wagon wheel metal

Well, this is just a sample of things you can do in Phoenix when vintage shopping. Believe me, I didn’t even scratch the surface.

Happy Shopping!