Salem-Inspired Spooky Tablescape

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Every fall, like many New Englanders, my family and I make a day trip to Salem, Massachusetts. With its haunting history and one-of-a-kind characters roaming the streets (hey, Laurie Cabot!), Salem is a place like no other. So when it came time for me to plan a bewitching tablescape for an upcoming Halloween party, I thought about those cobbled streets and crumbling tombstones and channeled that mood into a dining table display.

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My first thoughts were that I wanted something just a little bit grim, but also very natural. As we all know, squash and pumpkins are obvious decor for the Halloween season so I was keen to find a faux pumpkin I could fix up to fit my somber setting. This cute little ceramic pumpkin perfectly fit the bill. There were actually several options at Goodwill that day that would have worked, but I went with this one because I liked its shape the best. Plus, the little lid lifts off so you can stash candy inside!

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The other thing I knew I wanted was a moon phase table runner. Maybe more than anything else, this really highlights the witchy vibe I get when visiting Salem. So the next stop on my Goodwill trip was, of course, the fabric section. The muslin fabric I found was only $2 for several yards! The simplicity of the cloth seemed ideal for the look I wanted and I couldn’t be happier with the way it took the fabric paint. Both of these projects are some of the easiest I’ve ever done, but they still make quite a statement! Here’s how you can make your own:

– TO MAKE THE PUMPKIN –

Materials:

  • Thrifted faux pumpkin
  • Spray paint in your color of choice
  • Adhesive letters
  • Washi tape
  • Drop cloth or similar
  • Soft tape measure (used for sewing)
  • Paint pen (optional)

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Step 1: Clean. Paint won’t stick well to a dirty surface, so wash your pumpkin with the correct method for the material it is made of. Mine was marked “dishwasher safe” on the bottom so I got to take the easy way out. For plastic pumpkins or something more delicate, you may need to wash it by hand or even just wipe it clean with alcohol wipes.

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Step 2: Paint! Take your pumpkin outside or to a well-ventilated area. With a drop cloth or newspaper beneath it to protect the surrounding space, paint the pumpkin according to the instructions on your paint. Lids can be a little difficult since you’ll probably want to paint the bottom edge if it’s still visible when the lid is on. I found that this trick with the empty water bottle (I cut off the top) worked really well. You could also paint the lid then flip it over and paint underneath. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to eat treats that have touched spray paint, so if you do paint any part of the inside you’ll probably want to use the jar only for wrapped candy.

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Step 3: Add text. After the paint has fully dried, choose your phrase and find the right layout. Use washi tape and your soft tape measure to plan where each letter will go. I cut my washi tape to the width of the text lines so I could justify the lettering then, starting at the top, pressed it lightly onto the pumpkin in a straight line to make sure my words didn’t get stuck on unevenly. Once the first line of text was in place, I peeled up the tape and moved it down for the next line. Since there’s no punctuation in the sticker pack I got, I used a paint pen to add the period.

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And that’s it for the pumpkin! Now, let’s figure out this table runner, shall we?

 

– TO MAKE THE RUNNER –

Materials

– Thrifted fabric

– Fabric paint

– Poster board, cardstock, or contact paper

– Yard stick or tape measure

– Marking tool

– Exacto knife

– Coarse paintbrush

– Scissors

– Painter’s tape (if using poster board or card stock)

– Something round to trace like a plate or lid

– Scrap cardboard

 

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Step 1: Wash your fabric. If it’s safe for the dryer, you’ll want to do that first, too, to get any shrinking out of the way.

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Step 2: Measure, mark, and cut the fabric. Lay it flat and choose the size and shape you want for your runner. Before you do this, decide whether you’d like to add any seam allowance. I left my edges raw because I wanted an aged and almost primitive look to my design. But, to make it last longer and look more crisp, you might choose to finish the edges.

 

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Step 3: Cut the fabric. I cut out notches on each end of the runner just for fun. To do this, I measured up a few inches from the end and found the center of the runner at that point. I made a little mark then used my straight edge to draw a line connecting each corner to that center mark, thus creating a triangle. Snip away the triangle from there and you’re good!

 

Step 4: Finish the edges (optional). If you’re planning to sew your edges, now’s the time. You could also finish them with Fray Check if you want to prevent fraying and still skip the sewing.

 

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Step 5: Create your stencils. If you’re using cardstock, plan for one moon on each page. If you’re using poster board or contact paper, you might want to create a little grid with evenly-spaced moons so you can move the phases around to play with the spacing between each once it’s laid out on the runner.

 

Step 6: Trace the full moon and two other phases onto the paper. The full moon is obviously just tracing once all the way around your circle. For the other two, trace most of the way around the moon then slide the plate/lid over slightly to one side and trace again on the same edge of the lid to connect the moon’s two points.

 

Step 7: Cut out the first three phases. With cardboard behind each phase, use the exacto knife to cut and extract the centers of each stencil.

 

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Step 8: Flip the two crescent phases and trace them on paper to create the last two stencil pieces. Cut these out.

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Step 9: Find the right placement of each phase on your runner and tape or pin them down. Place scrap cardboard behind each phase so the paint doesn’t bleed through to the work surface below.

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Step 10: Paint each phase! Use your paintbrush to dab paint onto the runner within each phase’s stencil. Make sure you’re dabbing straight down not brushing the paint on so it doesn’t leak under the paper. After you’re done, carefully remove the stencils and wait the appropriate dry time before using.

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Now your crafting is complete! If you shopped for Halloween supplies in our stores, then you have already joined Goodwill in giving back to your community. Of all the things on this table (besides the food, napkins, and paper plates), there are only three items on that aren’t thrifted. The silver serving tray was purchased during my most recent trip, specifically for this tablescape, alongside the fabric and pumpkin. The rest of the items have been collected in my visits over the last decade. That’s a whole lot of assistance I’ve contributed to my local community!

 

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While you’re out thrifting don’t forget candles! I always grab candles when I see them at Goodwill. They’re smart to have on hand for power outages plus they make the spookiest lighting you can imagine for a Halloween party. Oh, and they’re lovely during the holiday season as well. Am I getting a little ahead of myself? Sorry! I can’t help it. After all, you know what comes after Halloween… Until then, happy crafting, my thrifty friends!

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DIY Projects for the Perfect Summer Party

By Julia Marchand

It’s July, which means that it’s prime time for backyard parties. With longer hours of sunshine and soft breezes to offer relief from the heat (and from the bugs!), I find myself looking for an excuse to stay outside as long as possible. I’ve also recently found a few super fun DIY party projects that I am eager to try out. Who’s got a birthday coming up? I may need to throw you the perfect backyard summer fiesta.

Image via DesignImprovised.com

Before the big event, a little party prep is required. The menu will be set and the décor planned, but it’s the little extra touches – like presentation – that really set the tone. That’s why I love these embellished serving trays decorated by Haeley of Design Improvised (one of Goodwill Industries of San Antonio’s official bloggers!). With just a little paint, thrifted trays go from blah to BAM! and they don’t break the bank either.

Image via Blog.GoodwillSC.org

For a little celebration style, these easy party hats are a must. The template is available via Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina, and, of course, the faux flowers can be found in Goodwill stores! Even if your friends are just popping by after work, topping them with a cap like this will instantly transform them into party mode. You could even have guests make their own as an activity to keep hands busy while the conversation flows.

Image via StyleMePretty.com

What’s a party without gifts? You know how it works for a birthday or shower, but even a just-for-fun party can be amped up with favors. I am constantly seeing embroidery hoops at my local Goodwill stores, so when I spotted these DIY tambourines made from the hoops on Style Me Pretty I just loved the idea of trying it out for myself. I actually already have a whole bunch of lace that I found once while thrifting so it would be almost effortless for me to whip up some of these cuties to hand out to guests.

If all of this sounds great, but you’re looking for a reason to celebrate, how about this: Every 27 seconds of every business day, a person served by Goodwill earns a good job. Every 3 seconds, another person accesses Goodwill opportunities to build careers and strong families. So many people around the world are struggling to support their families so Goodwill’s successes are truly something to applaud. And you’re helping, too, just by shopping at their retail stores. Keep up the great work and make sure you enjoy the summer before it’s over!

 

What’s your sweetest Goodwill find?

by Rachael Kaminski, Internet Marketing and Events Coordinator

With today being Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share a little love for Goodwill. I’ve been a Goodwill shopper for quite some time now. My mom would take me shopping at the Grand Haven Goodwill store to pick out formal dresses for all my high school dances. She would spend months hand sewing thousands of beads onto the dress to make it one of a kind, unique, and absolutely perfect. My mother was quite the seamstress. She would take a bland dress and make it into work of art. I loved knowing that no one would have “my dress.” I never had to worry about having a fashion faux pas of who wore it best.

My most recent “sweetest” Goodwill find would be a mirror that I have above my mantle. I hate to pay full price for anything and with my love for crafting this was the perfect DIY project … and yes, it was project I did 100% by myself. I had to include that because DIY projects to many men means your wife coming home and saying “I saw this great idea on Pinterest,” ripping apart the house or pulling out every crafting supply and after a few hours of unsuccessfully “DIYing” calling out for help because your great idea turned into a “Pinterest fail.”

When I found this mirror, I knew it was a solid quality piece. The mirror was heavy, but the frame needed a little TLC. It looked like it had been a part of a vanity. There were four holes I filled with wall putty or spackle. Once it dried I sanded the frame down and used a chisel to chip away some of the wood to give the distressed appearance. I then painted the frame turquoise and further distressed it after it was painted. I think it turned out great!

The sweetest Goodwill find I have ever heard about was what Joyce Kinstner found 15 years ago at the Whitehall Goodwill store. She met her husband! I don’t know if there is a sweeter Goodwill find story. It just goes to show that you never know what you may find at Goodwill!

Do you have a sweetest Goodwill find you would like to share? Please post a photo of your treasure on our Facebook timeline and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $35 Goodwill gift card! Share the love, but don’t hesitate! Today is the last day to participate in our contest. Happy Valentine’s Day!

DIY Hanging Planters

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I love making one-of-a-kind gifts for my friends and family every holiday season, but if you’re like me, it’s hard to find the time to craft something completely from scratch. That’s why I love being able to repurpose thrifted goods into something that is useful and beautiful without it taking weeks to make. The hanging planters we’ll be putting together today, for example, take only a couple of hours to complete! At this rate, you’ll have everyone crossed off of your to-gift list before the first candle of Hanukkah is lit!

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Here’s what you’ll need to craft your own hanging planters:

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Supplies

  • Thrifted ceramic jars (or adjust the project for tins or glassware)
  • Thrifted belt
  • Drill
  • Ceramic tile drill bit
  • Painter’s tape
  • 4 screws that fit properly into the drilled hole
  • 4 coordinating washers
  • 4 coordinating nuts
  • 1 nail
  • Small hammer
  • Scissors
  • Pen or pencil
  • Measuring tool (a sewing tape measure works perfectly)
  • 2 plants
  • Hooks/hardware to hang the planters (if the planters won’t be hung in a stud, make sure you include wall anchors)
  • Safety mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Small piece of scrap wood

 

Step 1: After washing your thrifted ceramics, plan the placement of the holes. You’ll need two on each planter. Put a bit of painter’s tape over those areas and mark where you want the holes to be. The tape keeps the drill bit from skidding across the glaze as well as protecting the surface from small cracks the drilling could cause.

Step 2: Gently set a nail on each mark and tap it a tiny bit (so carefully) just to dent the glaze. This creates a starting point for the drill bit to bite into.

Step 3: You may want to take this one outside as there will be some dust. With your safety equipment on, carefully drill all four of your holes. If the dust is clogging up the hole, try sucking it out with a vacuum or wiping it with a damp cloth or Q-tip.

Step 4: Remove the tape and wipe the planters down. You may even want to rinse and dry them if there’s a lot of dust inside.

Step 5: Measure and cut the length you’ll need for your belt straps. Mine are each 13” long. After cutting them to size, I rounded all four ends of the straps.

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Step 6: Decide where the holes in your straps should be then mark all four of those. Place the straps, one end at a time, on the scrap wood and hammer the nail through to punch a hole. You may need to wiggle this around quite a bit to stretch it so the screw will fit through.

Step 7: Thread the screws through the straps and planters one at a time, securing them from the inside with the washer then nut. Tighten as best you can then all you need to do is add greenery!

Dangling plants like burro’s tail or ivy would look amazing in here, but to keep things festive I decided to start with clippings from my Christmas tree. This way plants can be swapped out seasonally, by style preference, or to best suit the light wherever my pal decides to install her planters. You may want to include hanging hardware with your gift to make it even easier to put up.

Photo12.jpgIf you wanted to, you could also include a note which shares the source of your supplies along with Goodwill’s mission: to generate opportunities for people to build brighter futures for themselves and their families. This way, the person who receives your gift knows that these are so much more than just planters. When you holiday shop at Goodwill stores, your gifts just keep on giving, and I can’t think of anything merrier than that.

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Find a Goodwill treasure … online

brett and shopgoodwill

By Brett Rockey, E-Commerce Manager

Treasure hunters are a special breed. How many of us frequent our local Goodwill store searching out hidden gems and trinkets of value? Who doesn’t love perusing the clothing racks and sifting through the infinite variety of donated items?

Did you know that you can access these treasures and great finds from the comfort of your home or phone? Shopgoodwill.com is an ever-changing online auction site of items collected from the vast inventory of donated goods from Goodwill organizations across the country, including ours (West Michigan.) Created in 1999 by Goodwill Industries of Orange County, shopgoodwill is the first online auction site to be operated by a nonprofit.

Whether you’re a serious collector or casual treasure hunter, shopgoodwill.com is the place to find that special item you’ve been looking for. Earlier this month, Lifewire ranked the auction site second-best only to eBay, and because member organizations of Goodwill Industries International are the sole sellers, buyers know the site is safe and free of fraudulent sellers.

The best part about shopping with shopgoodwill.com is that you are able to shop when it is convenient for you; not just when the store is open. Take a moment to check us out, see all of the great treasures we have available, find those unique items both local and across the nation, all while supporting Goodwill’s mission of helping people find meaningful employment.

Check out the items we have posted locally here: https://www.shopgoodwill.com/muskegon. Insider tip: If you purchase from our Goodwill you can save on shipping by picking up your items at our headquarters in Muskegon!

Recycle with Goodwill

By James Cherney, Retail Operations Director

November 15 is America Recycles Day, a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. It’s a great day to reflect on what more you can do to reduce your environmental impact and practice the principles of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

Beyond recycling plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass, paper — and all the other personal waste produced from our daily lives — Goodwill can help you recycle a lot of other things! Founded on the business model of selling donated items, these goods are diverted from the waste stream. It’s a cycle that extends the life of usable items, while generating revenue and jobs for Goodwill’s mission-based programs.

Last year, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan reused or recycled over 9½ million pounds of donated material!

Computers/Electronics: Goodwill offers a free, easy, and environmentally responsible way to get rid of your unwanted computers, printers, flat screen monitors, TVs and more. Simply donate at any of our 16 Goodwill store and drive-thru donation centers. These items are either sold, or broken down into parts and recycled. We partner with reputable recyclers to maximize the commodity value of donated items while diverting toxic waste from our landfills. We no longer accept CRT TV or computer monitors (flatscreens are fine!). For a complete list of items we accept visit: www.goodwillwm.org/donate/what-to-donate/

Clothes/Textiles: Clothes that no longer fit, are out of style, or you simply don’t wear any more, are gratefully accepted. Items are priced, resold, and reused by someone else. And don’t throw your ripped jeans into the trash; we accept them too. Damaged, torn, or unsaleable clothing items are sorted and sold to various recyclers or salvage brokers for the greatest value.

Furniture: Downsizing, moving, remodeling can all result in unwanted furniture. Donating to Goodwill could be the perfect solution. With the advent of DIY-ing and the popularity of upcycling due to Pinterest, your shabby dresser might be reborn as shabby chic! Goodwill does offer a limited pick-up service in the Muskegon area for large items if you are unable to bring to Goodwill yourself. Please call 722-7871 to schedule.

And don’t forget, your generous donations fund our job training and employment services for people in West Michigan. We sincerely thank you!

For lots more ideas and information about recycling in your area, visit the America Recycles Day website at http://www.americarecyclesday.org

Visit donate.goodwill.org to calculate the human impact of your Goodwill® donations.

Donate 4 the 🌎

By Mark Helsen, Transportation Manager

Spring has finally arrived! That means Goodwill is very busy with many community partners collecting donations that can be reused, recycled, or sold in our stores. There is always a lot of focus and demand for donation drives in April, especially around the Earth Day weekend.

Our community partners include local municipalities, corporations, school systems, other nonprofits, churches, neighborhood associations, and many large and small business throughout the year. This April and May we will be working with Younkers, Casnovia Township, Gerber, Muskegon County, SpartanNash Stores, Hackley Public Library, City of Norton Shores, and Holton Township.

We are excited to start a relationship with Advanced Technology Recycling in Grand Rapids as a recycling partner for the old-style television and computer monitor also known as the CRT (or cathode ray tube). This recycler is a free source for these items for this calendar year. They have a goal of 4.5 million pounds to collect this year. If they reach that goal then there will be more funding available for proper recycling of those items in 2018.

Goodwill will collect and estimated 50,000 pounds in e-waste to be sent to Advanced Technology Recycling in the months of April and May. We realize that there still is a lot of e-waste in our communities and we are happy for the opportunity to collect and recycle responsibly.

Here are some of our upcoming donation drive and recycling events:

  • Saturday, April 15: Casnovia Township is holding their annual spring cleanup event
  • Saturday, April 22: Muskegon County Recycling Event held at 1350 E. Keating Ave. from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. This free recycling event is open to Muskegon County residents. You are invited to recycle many household items include computers and TVs.
  • Saturday, April 22  and Sunday, April 23: SpartanNash Earth Week Donation Drive

Participating Goodwill store locations:

  • Allendale – 5269 Lake Michigan Drive
  • Grand Haven – 1112 Robbins Road
  • North Holland- 393 East Lakewood Blvd.
  •  South Holland -1180 South Washington Avenue
  • Manistee- 282 Twelfth Street
  • Zeeland – 9479 Riley Street

Receive a SpartanNash coupon, good for $10 off a $25 or more purchase at your local Family Fare or D&W Fresh Market store.

Goodwill can help your organization coordinate a donation drive. We can provide you with empty containers to fill with e-waste, books, household wares, clothing etc., which we can pick up later. Goodwill also does staffed collections in some of the communities we serve. Collection events need to be scheduled in advance. Contact me at 231-722-781 x251 to find out more.