Wait, you can recycle fabric?

If you’re an Ithacan and a resale shopping champion, it’s safe to assume you know a thing or two about recycling. If it’s paper, plastic, compostable, or reusable, you know the drill. But what about fabric? What becomes of table and bed linens that are too worn for Mimi’s to take? What if they’re tattered, stained, or missing pieces of a set? Is it even worth donating to Salvation Army or Thrifty Shopper? It seems wrong… but I guess… I should just…. throw them out…?

Wait! As it turns out, donation centers only re-sell about 20% of the textiles they get. For the rest, there is actually more recycling to be done. Click on the picture below to enlarge it and read more about how those donations are used. Your recycled linens could end up abroad or being made into carpet padding. That’s so wacky, random, and cool! lifecycle of secondhand clothing

November 15th is America Recycles day and New York State is making a real push to encourage textile recycling. (Because, let’s face it, we’re already masters at recycling paper products, glass, and plastic). If you want to know more, here are some helpful links:

List of Recyclable Textiles: Some of the things on this list are really surprising. Even stuffed animals? Even Dish cloths?! As long as everything is dry and odor-free, it seems like every textile is fair game.

Textile Recovery/Donation Centers: These are all the places you can donate within 10 miles of Ithaca. If you’re reading this from afar, not to worry, just put in your zip code and get a list of donation centers near you. On November 15th and 16th only, Tompkins County is also hosting events at our food scrap drop off locations where there will be more information about all kinds of recycling, and special activities and giveaways.

Click below to learn more about America Recycles day and New York State’s textile recovery campaign. And, next time you’re sorting old linens you don’t want anymore, make Mama Earth proud and “Clothes the Loop!”

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Staff Pick: Rich Dining Set

If you’ve ever stepped foot in our store, you know we hold a vast patchwork of styles. You’ll find antiques from the 1850s around the corner from a sleek modern armchair just built last year. And you know what? We love it that way. We even pride ourselves on it.

whole dining setwood inlay close up

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps that’s why this dining set appeals to us so much; it’s eclectic all on its own. The tabletop boasts several wood grains thoughtfully laid out to create richness and depth. The intricate chevron inlay border gives it an Art Deco flair. But the table base and four chairs are solid oak, ornately carved and assembled in a more country style. To top it all off, the seats are upholstered in a vibrant cerulean vinyl, certainly not the original fabric (but easy to clean for kids, and easy to reupholster if it doesn’t fit your style).

So you have to wonder, what’s the story? What lives has this table lived? Will a visit to your home be the next chapter in this beautiful dining set’s journey?

side detailVintage dining set

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Before and After: Rustic Egg Baskets

Your home’s front entryway is the first impression it gives to visitors. So what do you do when there’s no overhead lighting there? You can’t have it looking all dark and dreary, but wiring something into the ceiling is time consuming, expensive, and potentially dangerous if you don’t know how.

Swag.

Swag.

Frequent Mimi’s shopper, Andrea, used a vintage egg basket from Mimi’s and a simple swag light kit to add whimsical lighting to her front entryway. She has an incredible ability for seeing potential in everyday items. What once was a simple wire basket is now a chic, industrial light fixture. Though lighting projects sometimes seem daunting, this only took her ten minutes! It’s the perfect solution to a lack of built-in ceiling fixtures.

Because Andrea used a “swag kit” to plug the lamp into the wall, the project required absolutely no wiring. If you are interested in giving your home a lighting makeover, swag kits can be purchased at box stores or on websites like Amazon for about $10. They also come through Mimi’s from time to time at a reduced price, so be sure to check here first ;)

Andrea 2

So charming!

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Before And After: Turning the Tables!

At Mimi’s Attic, we see a lot of tables. Dining tables, coffee tables, high tops, pedestals- there’s a table for everything, and we’ve got them all. But if there’s anything more diverse than our table collection, it’s our customer base. Mimi’s customers are so interesting and creative, that they even invent NEW kinds of tables! This week, two of our mastermind customers undertook awesome projects to make Mimi’s-found tables their own.

The first table fable comes from one of Mimi’s favorite regular customers. Our friend Meryl found this funky little $10 side table at Mimi’s and completely re imagined it! Now outfitted with a zesty coat of paint, Lego mats, and storage bins, it’s a one-of-a-kind play table for her kids! Seriously, this is  genius. Meryl, you are just too cool for school. With this new play area, those kids are bound to grow up as remarkably creative as you!

Meryl After 2

 

Next, the award for most ambitious DIY master of the week goes to…… Tatiana!! She took on not one, not even two, but THREE projects that started with Mimi’s Attic finds. One of these projects was inspired by a problem many people have when shopping second-hand: it’s hard to find matching items. But matching is… well, it’s not an exact science. Tatiana found two side tables that were completely different in color and structure, but both had a bit of French Provincial flair. An unlikely match at first, but if they went out for coffee, they’d have loads to talk about. After this fancy little paint job, its clear they were meant to be together!

With this last one, I don’t mean to brag here… but we totally called it. Tatiana took this industrial trunk and made a totally hip, unique coffee table!! She added cute little legs and some popping blue paint to give this shabby looking trunk a complete makeover. It looks like it fits perfectly in your chic, eclectic living room. You have such a sharp eye for design, Tatiana!

Tati Before A

Tati After A

Here at Mimi’s we are endlessly grateful that our customers are so wonderful. Many thanks to Tatiana and Meryl for sharing their bold, crafty spirit with all of us!

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Before and After: Flower Bed

If you’ve been through Mimi’s this summer, you may have met our spunky sales associate, Whitney. Can’t remember? She was the one wearing a brightly patterned dress and a huge smile who probably greeted you with a bounce in her step and a song in her heart.  (We love her). Well, she recently updated her bedroom and needed a new bed frame. Being the firecracker she is, she saw it as an opportunity to express her remarkable creativity!

Whitney Before

 

When this bed came in, it was certainly cute, but a little too boring for Whitney’s taste. I mean, a solid color? And that color is white? Where’s the fun in that? But it was sturdy, fairly new, and came with all of its original parts. For $45, it was a great deal and a perfect starting point for a project.

 

 

Whitney After

 

And who else but Whitney could have thought up this project!? In her hands, this blank canvas was brought to life! Because she’s an artist, she already had plenty of acrylic paint lying around. So, she went straight to work with bold crimson and magenta, then jazzed it up with pops of colorful handiwork on the flowers. It’s almost as vibrant and colorful as Whitney, herself. Way to go! We can’t wait to see what other dazzling ideas you’ll dream up :)

 

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From Shabby to Chic!

SometimesJBradac Before, by the time a table makes it to Mimi’s Attic, it’s had some miles put on it. Maybe someone didn’t use a coaster once or twice. Maybe an overenthusiastic toddler took a marker to it in the name of art. It may have seen better days, but as long as it’s still sturdy and practical, we’ll give it a chance at a new life! That’s where you, our brilliant customers, come in. You see not just what that well-loved table is, but what it could be.

 

JBradac AfterJust look how one customer, John,  transformed this Chemung side table! He started by lightly sanding the surface and smoothing out a small chip with wood filler. After a few coats of paint and wax, it’s hardly recognizable!  Now this table looks fit to hold the tea of a wealthy foreign diplomat, or the unpublished manuscript of the next great American novel. Those old scuffs and scrapes are a distant memory and the future of this table looks bright!

The whole process only took him a casual five hours. Do YOU have some time to kill and a dream for that perfect DIY project? Follow John’s example and dive in!

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Before and After: Media Stands!

This week, we received two emails from different customers about repurposing furniture to make media stands. Isn’t it funny how the world works that way sometimes? There must have been something in the air this month that made people think, “You know, the area where I keep my TV could be so much cuter….”

ANYwho, we loved these transformations so much we just had to share! Perhaps you will be inspired and get on the bandwagon, too!

The first comes from Margaret, a customer who had been looking for the perfectly sized media stand for ages. She finally came across a dresser at Mimi’s that fit the bill. Except … it was a dresser. That minor detail didn’t stop her, though! Margaret removed the top three drawers to make space for a DVD player and even put dividers in the remaining drawers to hold CDs and DVDs. So clever! She applied a dashing coat of “Distance” colored paint from Sherwan-Williams and added some Lewis Dolan blown-glass drawer pulls for this stunning final product!

dresser before

finished cabinet

 

cds organized

Interior drawer view. How delightfully organized!

 

The second transformation comes from one of our regulars, Georgie. Her media stand started out as a long, shallow desk. She added a shelf to the middle for additional storage, took out the back panel, and painted it this charming, soft blue. The solid color really brings out the details of the construction. You can really see the moulding and drawer pulls.  Really, it seems like this desk was destined to be a media stand all along!

If YOU have a project that started with a Mimi’s Purchase, send us the pictures! We’ll even give you $5 in store credit!

photo 2 (41) photo 1 (40)

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Oh The Possi-Vanities!

You know what? Vanities get a bad rap. People imagine a prima donna fussing over her hair for hours and hours at the mirror. But hey, toss out those stereotypes and look what you’ve got! Adorable woodwork, a practical mirror, and STORAGE (perhaps the hottest commodity of all). So today we highlight two customers who saw vanities and didn’t see a fuss… They saw possibility!

Mary and her husband, Joe are such frequent customers, we consider them part of the Mimi’s family. They’ve been buying and selling with us ever since the beginning. When Mary set her eyes on this vanity in our clearance section, she knew it would fit perfectly in her home with a little alteration. Her vision? Cut that vanity in half and make two bedside tables! Joe was skeptical about the project at first, but he snuck into Mimi’s without her and bought it as a surprise. What a fella! We even played along and told Mary it had sold to someone else. Who doesn’t love a good scheme!? Joe got to work and had these bedside tables ready for their new life in no time!

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It originally came with drawers (not pictured).

Go, Joe, Go!!!

Voila! The finished product!

This is such a genius project! And the execution is stunning. We only wish we caught Mary’s surprised reaction when her dream bedside tables were unveiled! Those lamps were also a Mimi’s Attic find and they match perfectly! I don’t know about all you readers out there, but everyone here at Mimi’s is SO impressed right now.

Our next vanity fairy tale comes to you from Rochele at Mint Velvet Vintage Interiors + Antiques in Corning, NY. Her shop is full of naturally beautiful and upcycled vintage gems. Recently, she’s been combing through Mimi’s and plucking up sturdy undercover treasures that need a dash of TLC.

Rochele_Before2Rochele_Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

When she came across the vanity in question, it was sturdy and had lots of natural charm, but it was just so dark and, well, a little blah. The finish was dull and scratched in some areas. Some clever coats of paint later and it looks like something out of a Mackenzie Childs catalogue! What an incredible talent you have, Rochele! Lovely readers, stop by Mint Velvet Vintage to see the transformation yourself! Corning’s not that far, you guys.

Rochele_AfterRochele_After2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, next time you see a little vanity in Mimi’s, don’t imagine yourself wasting away in front of a mirror for hours. Imagine yourself, super rugged, with a saw, chopping it in half! OR if that’s not your thing, you can get yourself covered in paint making it into something wonderful and new! Either way, take pictures and share them with us!! We love seeing what you clever people come up with!

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Aged Oak Chair Gets Some New Flair

Sometimes we get pieces on our sales floor that have seen better days. Though they’re still sturdy, time has aged their upholstery, warn down their finish, and chipped their paint. But cosmetic damage doesn’t mean a piece is at the end of its life! Paul, a practicing woodworker, stops by whenever he’s in town looking for just these types of pieces. (Perhaps you’ve even seen the beautiful rocker he up-cycled back in early winter). He knows how easy it is to bring the sparkle back to a used-furniture gem.

This time Paul took home an aged oak dining chair with a black leather seat. Though it had some rustic charm, it definitely needed a little TLC. Paul snatched it up (for $25) and got to work!

oakchair1

First, Paul stripped the old wood stain off the chair and sanded it down. Then he completely disassembled the chair to refinish it. While the chair was in pieces, he went through and replaced damaged dowels before applying the finish. After reassembly, he applied a warm, light tung oil finish. We think it mingles well with the vibrant new tacked vinyl upholstery. He added some additional support to the seat with leftover wood from other projects and voila! Now he has a very handsome oak dining chair to add to his collection! Just look at how the grain pops as opposed to before!

oakchair2

Thanks for being an amazing woodworker, Paul!

For sharing, Paul received $5 in store credit! If you have any Mimi’s marvels that you have repurposed or redone, YOU can send us a before and after picture, too. You too could receive $5 in store credit and become Mimi’s-Famous with a blog entry. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Simple Fixes Measure up to a New Life

Vicki is one of our regular customers. Like many others, she loves to come in and browse our new (secondhand, of course!) inventory. As Ithacans know, we see all sorts of styles  of furniture from the 19th century to present, and finding that special piece can take a couple Mimi’s browses. You might find something that’s nearly perfect, but not quite right. When that happens to Vicki, she takes the fate of her décor into her own hands.

paintednightstands

For $60, Vicki took home both of these nightstands. There are no “before” pictures, but we remember their former life. Although they are solid wood pieces, one was stained a grayish color and the other was green…ish; both were likely more appealing a couple decades ago. With a few simple coats of white paint, they were given a brand new life! Despite being mismatched in shape, they sync harmoniously together with their new color.

And let’s all just take a moment to appreciate that headboard… Yeah, that’s right, it’s an old fireplace mantle! She salvaged the piece and covered the center with plywood that she padded and upholstered herself. Her bedroom looks like a photograph out of a Pottery Barn magazine or a room in a swanky B&B. Props to Vicki for not only getting crafty but for helping save the planet by choosing previously owned pieces. Way to go!

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Vicki says she’s been blessed with the ability to see what items can be if they’re reimagined or given a new coat of paint. Here’s another project that she threw together. We think it is simply brilliant. You see an ordinary day bed, right? Wrong! That’s actually two TWIN beds! The headboards became the back piece and the footboards became the arms. What a stunning result!

TABLE

And this industrial work table was one of our favorite staff picks! Older pieces, she says, add comfort and warmth to a space that new pieces just don’t. We love the way its rustic charm blends with the rest of her sleek, sophisticated décor!

RED CHAIR

Vicky says she sees decorating as a fun, relaxing, and ever-changing art project. This beautiful, unique armchair is also a Mimi’s find. She says, “No matter where I find my items, be it Mimi’s Attic, antique shows or a flea market, I’m always filled with anticipation that the hunt will reward me with  treasure.” Lucky for the rest of us, Vicki doesn’t bury her treasure, she takes pictures to show the world!

We’re honored that we get to be a part of what makes your home so marvelous, Vicki. From all of us here at Mimi’s, we’re excited to see what you come up with next!

 

 

 

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