An Interview with My Thrifting Hero

Danavee and her $32 clawfoot tub
Have I ever told you about my proudest thrifting find? It's this gigantic 70's woven wall hanging that sure looks a lot like something by Romeo Reyna. It's in excellent condition, the weave's still good, no strange smells. I've seen these things listed for several thousands of dollars on 1st Dibs, Etsy, Chairish, and Ebay, and what did mine cost? $3. Originally $6, but that booth was having a half-off sale.

Killer thrifting finds do happen, but not often. However, some people out there seem to be charmed when it comes to finding treasures at the thrifts. There were Daniel Kanter's Eames chairs, Anna Dorfman's Eames DKX chairs and her Componibili unit, and pretty much everything in Morgan Satterfield's house. I look at these people the way I imagine others must look at athletes. Their keen eyes, sense of style, knowledge of design, savvy negotiating skills, and their ability to see beautiful items buried beneath the grossness of thrift stores leave me awestruck.

Danavee Long is one of these talented thrifters. She really knows vintage and has had some unbelievable thrift scores. In fact, she finds so much good stuff that she can't keep it all. So she maintains not one, not two, but three beautifully curated booths at an upscale flea market in Springfield. And get this: She's my friend. True story!

Here's another true story. I was once out thrifting with Danavee when I mentioned to her how much I would love to have a giant, mid-century ashtray on a stand (this is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night, people). Within just a few weeks, Danavee shows up at my door with the most perfect one, and it's PINK. She had found it at a DAV thrift store, covered in grime, and she had cleaned it up. Then she said it was a birthday present for me.

Holy wow. That's a true friend in my book.

If you're like me, and you love learning people's stories, then I think you'll like what I have for you today. Danavee sweetly accepted my request for an interview, so I could ask her my burning questions and learn how to sharpen my thrifting skills. Here's what she had to say.

When did you first start frequenting the thrift shops? What got you interested?
My grandparents were antique dealers.  My parents were into antiques.  I grew up going to garage sales and was surrounded with vintage all the time. So I guess it runs through my veins. I can't remember a time that I ever wanted to stray from being a collector.

What is the thrifty find you are most proud of?
I have three items that come to mind.......probably my clawfoot tub comes in first.  $32.50 for a pristine clawfoot bathtub.  It's always been a dream of mine to have one, but they are outrageous around here, if they are in good condition. This one will hopefully make the trek upstairs one day when we remodel that bathroom.  My second favorite find was a Heywood Wakefield dresser (and matching double bed).  I remember opening a drawer and seeing the Heywood stamp. MY HEART STARTED RACING!  I couldn't get to the register fast enough.  Lastly and most recently, a surfboard Baumritter coffee table makes my list.  I didn't realize it was a Baumritter til I was loading it up to head home!  I turned it over and it was stamped underneath.  I found a matching example on Etsy for $600!!! I paid $12.50.

Has there ever been a thrifty find you passed up and regretted later?
YES! A set of eight mid-century Christmas tumblers. They had these hilarious Santas on them.  I went back the same evening, maybe an hour or two later, and GONE!  I have thought about them more than once over the years.

How does your significant other feel about your thrifting?
He is not into it himself, but he humors me.  I mean, he was pretty darn great about me dragging home a clawfoot bathtub that we have no use for just yet!  He loves when I find something that could fetch a better price in my antique mall booths. 

What inspired you to start a flea market booth? Any big lessons learned from that experience?
I had a friend talk me into it.  We shared a space for six months.  After that, she was done, and I kept going!  I have learned that anything goes!  Things that you think might hang around for awhile, sell fast..........things that you think will go quickly, hang around for awhile.  You have to be patient.  That thing is just waiting for the right person to snatch it up!

How do you know so much about midcentury modern style?
I'm a "learn-as-I-go" kind of person.  I do lots of googling!  I actually was more into primitives until recently.  I just started reading up online, looking on eBay and Etsy, and learning the brands to look for. 

How often do you go thrifting? On average, how often do you leave empty-handed?
I try to thrift a few times a month.  Sometimes I'm able to go once a week.  Sometimes it's every other week.  It's rare that I leave empty-handed.  It happens, but if I try to recall the last time, I can't!

Do you pay the sticker price or try to talk them down? Any tips on how to do that?
I have never tried to bargain at a thrift shop!  Honestly, I am the WORST at bargaining elsewhere, like yard sales.  I will usually just pay the price, assuming it's reasonable!

Which places around Springfield are your favorites for thrifting?
We have a few Red Rack (Disabled Veterans) stores that I like.  My Heywood Wakefield and tub purchases were from Red Rack locations.  My two favorites are Thrift Haven and the CARE Animal Shelter Thrift.  Those two have the best prices.  My coffee table was from Thrift Haven.

What is the thrifty find of your DREAMS? What are you usually looking for when you hit the thrifts?
I would LOVE to find a vintage Hudson Bay striped blanket.  I am always dreaming of finding a vintage Turkish or Persian rug too. 

What advice do you have for those of us wanting to improve our thrifting skills? 

Have an open mind!  Don't go shopping with blinders on!  When you walk in, have zero expectations....nothing on your radar.  If you are so focused on finding something in particular, you can have tunnel vision and miss out on other things! 

Thanks so much, Danavee!

See more of Danavee's thrifty finds and more about her 1921 Craftsman bungalow on her blog, This Vintage Grove. All photos in this post are by Danavee Long. 

Camper Progress // The Cabinets are Primed

If you follow me on Instagram (and you do, right?), you may have noticed that I've got a few week's lag time between when I do something and when I actually get around to blogging about it. I could blame it on standardized testing season, or on this nice weather, but it's actually just laziness. These days, I've been feeling less ambitious and more willing to waste time relaxing. It's been great for me, but it doesn't make very exciting blog content.

BUT! I have some camper progress that I haven't shared yet! And after all the stupid prep work, it's nice to finally see something changing colors in this thing. As you can see in the photos, all our cabinets were covered in this lovely faux-wood film that was not at all pleasing to my eye and had to go.

Pioneer Square

The new Seattle Streetcar line opened in our Capitol Hill neighborhood recently. The streetcar is kind of fun to ride, and it takes us from about a block away from our house, all the way through First Hill, Chinatown, Japantown, and to Pioneer Square. Pioneer Square is the oldest part of Seattle, even though all of Pioneer Square burnt to the ground in 1889. These are all the building that were rebuilt after that. 

Camper Progress // Buh-Bye, Blue Panels

Time for another progress update on the camper!

In case you missed it, we bought a camper, made plans for a cosmetic renovation, and began removing rubbish and prepping the cabinets for white paint. Unfortunately, we had an obstacle in our way with these goofy blue fabric panels in the cabinets. They matched the Motel 6-looking floral nightmare in the rest of the camper, but they weren't really what we were going for, so we ripped them out.

When we removed them, we figured out they were just really thin plywood panels wrapped in blue fabric that was stapled on the back. At first, we thought it would be easy to remove the fabric and staple the panels back in place.

Watched Lately

9 to 5 was hilarious. The clothing was my favorite part. // F is for Family is a series on Netflix. That oldest son makes the whole show. // Unlikely Animal Friends was light and fun. A rat and a dog, a surfer and a surfing pig, a disabled dog and a chicken, a cat and a horse. So unlikely and so adorable.  // Ghost was fun. Patrick Swayze really had it going on. // I hear so many references to Groundhog Day, so I decided I needed to watch it. It was an excellent story, but it drove me crazy how the timeline was off. Anyone else know what I'm talking about? // Zootopia was in theaters, and it was one of the best movies I've ever seen. I cried during the opening credits. "I want to try everything!" Also, there was a nice nod to Breaking Bad in there.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

There must just be something about the month of March that keeps me too busy to blog. I didn't blog once during the month of March this year, and I didn't post anything during March last year either. But anyway, I'm back from my little break and I have lots to share with you.

First up, my favorite! Rand and I went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival on Wednesday this week. We're both off work for Spring Break, so we drove about an hour north of Seattle to Mount Vernon, WA to see the tulip fields in bloom. The festival runs all through April and it was well worth the drive. It was breathtaking.

It also didn't hurt that it was near an adorable little town with mountains in the distance. It looked like a beautiful place to live. We stopped into a yummy Mexican restaurant called CALLE afterwards for lunch and margaritas. There were other fields we could have wandered around in, but we tried to plan our trip around rush hour times to avoid heavy traffic. I have to say, though, the drive there was also pretty gorgeous. Washington, you are a winner.

Admiring Sally England

{Via Sight Unseen}
It was Sally England's macrame work that first got me hooked on this style of fiber art. When I first saw her work, it was the piece at the bottom of this post, and I didn't know what to call it. I remember I first called it a "net," because that's what it looked like, I hadn't heard the words "macrame wall hanging" used together yet. When I found her website, I was amazed at what I saw. She said she learned everything she knows by purchasing vintage macrame books at thrift stores and teaching herself the knots. It really inspired me to learn that this wasn't something she started in art school, and that she didn't have a long, extensive background in the fiber arts. Like me, she found something she loved and began reading and learning as much as she could about it. Now, her business has grown, and her work has become more and more impressive.  

Our Travel Trailer Redo is Officially On


Work on our travel trailer has begun, and it feels so good. Last weekend, we headed down to Maple Valley, where our travel trailer is stored in a secure storage facility, and we started on the prep work. This is the part that I find most annoying, but it has to be done before we can get to the fun stuff. 

Mid Century, But Not Retro

Yesterday, a friend of mine texted me some pictures of a few mid century pieces of furniture she found for sale. The prices were incredible, and she asked me if she should buy them, possibly for resale. I answered a quick "Yes!" Based on my experience searching for mid century modern pieces on Craigslist and in flea markets, I was pretty confident telling her it was a good investment. This elegant, distinct style is very popular right now, which is bad news for those of us who try to find it for cheap.

This home is a space I really wanted to share for a couple reasons. First, the owner of this home is Elizabeth McTague, a talented macrame artist who inspires me daily with her creativity. If you don't follow her on Instagram, you really should fix that.

Second, sharing this home gives me a chance to talk about that iconic furniture style that's getting harder and harder to score for a thrifty price.

Glamper Renovation Plans

Mkay, we've got plans for days now!

I've managed to turn my dreams for our glamper into a few specific sources and a to-do list. Just in case you missed it, we bought this 1999 travel trailer a few weeks ago, and we're planning to give it an interior makeover. The camper itself is in great shape, so it doesn't need any structural repairs, just a little style updating, because right now it looks like a room at a Motel 6.

Travel Trailer Inspiration

Since before we even bought our travel trailer, I've been collecting a list of blogs and tours for inspiration on how to redecorate a camper. Travel trailers present some unique decorating challenges. We can't let it get too heavy, some furniture is where it is for a reason, everything has to be secured for travel, and poking holes in the walls isn't such a good idea, just to name a few.

So today I want to share a few of the travel trailers that I'm looking to for inspiration, ideas, and advice. Many of these are from blogs that have a wealth of information we'll need as we redecorate and hit the road. Be sure to click through to the sources for "before" photos. You really won't believe your eyes when you see some of them.

Our Travel Trailer // Before

Time for a tour! I'm excited to show you the "before" shots of our new travel trailer. If you remember, we just bought a late nineties travel trailer a few weeks ago. It was in excellent shape for a great price we could afford, and although it had been well taken care of, the interior is quite dated. As you can see above, it includes wood cabinets, blue carpet, and lots of matchy-matchy, hotel-room style florals.


You guys, I've been having serious decorating withdrawal. Yes, camping, travel, blah, blah, blah. That's all nice and whatever, but first let's talk paint colors, mkay??

Oh Darling, Let's Be Glampers

Rand and I just made a big, exciting purchase!

After lots of dreaming, looking, and feeling disappointed, we finally came across the perfect little starter camper and bought it. It's a 1999 Fleetwood Terry, whatever that means. The previous owners bought it new and seemed to be very meticulous about its upkeep. It's very clean and doesn't need anything but some cosmetic improvements inside (LOTS of floral and periwinkle in there right now).

Bohemian + Scandinavian

This beautiful home appeared on my blog feed a few days ago, and I can't stop thinking about it. It's the perfect mix of my favorite styles.

Here's my problem: a look at my Pinterest boards would tell you that I am a minimalist who likes all white rooms and sparse decor. But a walk through my apartment would tell you that I like books and records and art and textiles and wood furniture and the cozy comfort of a more free-spirited, bohemian style. How can I reconcile these two tastes and stop feeling like a giant fraud?

This Swedish home is the answer.


I was talking to my mom last night on Google Hangout, and she reminded me how behind I am on posting pictures on this blog. Because, while there are lots of reasons I blog, one of the main ones is so my mom can see what I'm up to.  So let's catch up!

A New Collection in the Etsy Shop!

Hi, blog friends!

Today I'm excited to share that I have some new goods in the shop, and I think they're pretty neat. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed lots of rope sitting around and being knotted. That's because I decided to go with rope and knots this time around to create a collection of macrame wall hangings to list in my Etsy shop, Viola Maye. These pieces are a big larger than my previous fiber art, and they feature some lovely driftwood I've found along the Puget Sound. Here are a few of my favorites:


As is tradition, I was sick today on my birthday and in the days leading up to it. I refuse to get a flu shot because I hate needles, so every year (nearly always on my January birthday) I get very sick.

On Friday, I stayed home from work because I had a 102 degree temperature, aches, chills, the works. On Saturday, I laid in bed and accepted that death was near. But by God, on Sunday I dragged myself out of bed and up to the top of the Space Needle for Fun Times because it was my birthday.

Thanks for taking care of me, Rand.
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