My monthly “Reader of the Month” feature is quickly becoming one of my favorite posts! It’s so fun learning about the people behind this blog that make up the community!
I say this all the time and it’s true: a blog is nothing without its readers.
Instead of nameless people who bounce around from blog to blog, remaining faceless and unknown, here at Thrift Diving I like to take the time to feature the people that actually come back again and again and who add value to this community. Not to mention that it’s pretty cool for not just me to recognize their names and faces, but for other readers to recognize each other! Isn’t that how friendships are forged?? 🙂
Today’s reader of the month is one of my absolute favorites: Haley!
She and I have also become Facebook and Instagram friends, and while we have never met in real life, I feel like I could meet her tomorrow and we’d start chatting away like we’ve known each other for many more years than we’ve been connected online.
(And I can’t tell you how much I enjoy seeing pictures of her sweet little girls!)
So let’s turn it over to Haley!
Where do you live?
“Cincinnati, Ohio. We bought our first house in October and we’re DIYing all the things!”
[Haley also has done a couple of my Room Makeover challenges, too; you can see her toddler room makeover here that she did as part of our November room challenge!].
How long have you been thrift diving and loving junk? Share with us your earliest memories of thrift stores and how you learned to love them.
“Since birth 🙂 My grandmother loved going to garage sales and thrifting. She was always finding great deals and collecting things… she was what you would call a maximalist. She had so many sets of china, almost everyone in my family got a full set when my grandparents downsized. She used to hit up every single garage sale and rummage sale in the area and I remember tagging along on some of those adventures.
My parents also like antiques and I remember occasionally going to antique malls when we were younger. In college, my friends and I loved hitting up thrift stores to get cheap clothes. I have furnished my home with secondhand pieces that I’ve received from family, purchased from thrift stores, or even trash picked. My man loves cruising through Craigslist, Nextdoor (neighborhood app), and EBTH looking for good deals. Thrifting and ‘junk’ has touched almost every area of my life and I really couldn’t picture my life without it.”
What’s your most prized possession you ever bought from the thrift store?
“The piece I love the most would probably be my gradient dresser. My friend and I thrifted this when I was 7 months pregnant and I bought it without having any idea how we were going to get it in the car or if it would even fit in the spot I was buying it for…..
It ended up working out perfectly and we spent the rest of the day painting it and thinking of the sweet babe that was going to store her clothes in it. It is one of the only pieces of furniture that we brought from our apartment to our house with us and is one of my favorite things in my daughter’s room. It now houses both of our daughter’s wardrobes (and even some toys and our VHS collection). It’s a pretty basic piece, but I loved working on it with my best friend and almost 3 years later touching it up with the babe we painted it for.”
What’s the most expensive thing you ever bought from the thrift store?
“I bought this desk for about $65. We got this from the same thrift store I bought the gradient dresser from. My mom and I didn’t know that you just had to bring the tag to the front and we ended up dragging it up to the cash register squeaky wheels and all… so many stares from the other shoppers. It wouldn’t fit in her car so we paid a guy with a truck a couple bucks to drive it up to their house. We spent the rest of the day painting it and getting ready to move it to my apartment. I spent a lot of time sitting at this desk sewing and working on other projects.
When we moved into our house, I no longer had a use for the desk (I like to spread out in the dining room now), so my man moved it into his studio, painted parts of it, changed up the knobs, and even cut up one of the drawers to fit music equipment into it.”
What’s the DIY or craft project of which you’re most proud?
“The craft I’m most proud of would be my first baby quilt. I ‘splurged’ on fabric I loved and used some from my fabric stash. I didn’t know too much about sewing except the basics like threading the machine, sewing in a straight line, etc. I learned a lot about quilting and made up some stuff along the way. It took me 6 months to make, but it was so sweet seeing my child wrapped up in something that I spent so much time making. She has spent the last 4 years cuddling under that blanket and that makes it so much sweeter. I’ve made a handful of quilts since that first quilt and improved my skill/speed, but that first quilt will always be extra special.”
Why do you like reading Thrift Diving and how long have you been reading? What are your favorite types of posts or projects on the blog?
“I love that Serena always gives great information about what she is working on. I’m always learning something new and she explains it in a way that is easy to understand. She also does a great job engaging with her readers. I’ve been reading since about a month before Serena left her full-time job [January 2015], so I’ve loved seeing how the blog has evolved since then. I don’t think I have a favorite type of post since I’m always learning things and getting inspiration from everything that is shared on Thrift Diving.”
What other DIY blogs do you like to read? Are there other blogs that you love to read outside of the DIY niche?
“The real question is what other DIY blogs DON’T I read… I love reading blogs, seeing what bloggers are working on, learning new things, and gathering inspiration. I mostly read DIY, interiors, and some lifestyle/mommy blogs, but mostly love the DIY ones.
Some of my favorites DIY blogs are Vintage Revivals (always coming up with something new and different) and Yellow Brick Home (always informative and I love how they explain their thought process). Non-DIY blogs I get inspiration from Messy Nessy Chic (always sharing interesting things from around the world and I’m always getting lost in links reading more about something she shared) and my friend Coffee + Cleveland (a travel blogger who currently lives in Russia. She loves abandoned places and street art, so I’m always getting color inspiration from the things she shares). I also spend a lot of time pinning on Pinterest and I’m constantly finding new bloggers that I love.”
What DIY or crafting tips do you have for others?
“Just start! Also, break up big projects into small pieces. When I was learning to quilt, I was so intimidated by the process. I broke it down into steps and just forced myself to do it one step at a time. When I finished cutting, or basting, or quilting, I would take a break and hype myself up for the next step. I started doing this with most of my projects and I have gotten so much more done and learned a lot in the process. If you aren’t sure about something, do the steps you know and then spend the time between steps learning everything you can about the things you don’t know.”
Haley’s Rockin’ a Fred Sanford Tee!
For every Reader of the Month feature, I send them a little gift–either one of my I Love Junk More Than Fred Sanford shirts or a tote bag. Haley got a shirt and was nice enough to send a picture of herself wearing it when I asked her to send one! 🙂 I love it!
Thanks, Haley, for reading Thrift Diving and for sharing your story and projects with us!
Check Out the Previous Readers of the Month!
Okay, friends, leave a comment below and give Haley some love! 🙂
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Thrift Diving inspires women to decorate, improve, and maintain their home themselves...using paint, power tools, and thrift stores! Use these 5 printables, checklists, and ebooks to get started!