Thrifty Halloween Door Decor

Thrifty Halloween Door Decor
To set the mood for Halloween in your home, one of the easiest things you can do is to update your front door decor with a spooky little facelift. Since it’s the first thing you see when you arrive home, a display on your doorstep instantly creates whatever tone you want for the season. And, it’s easy to have a lot of fun with doorway decoration because, in such a small space, a little bit can go a long way. Today I want to share the spooky secrets that added spirit to my stoop with a DIY customized door mat and a bat frenzy Halloween “wreath.”
Does it seem like all of the best looking doormats are super expensive? I cringe whenever I have to spend more than $15 on something that I will literally be wiping my feet on. So, I always keep my eye out for small rugs and mats when I’m thrifting. My local Goodwill often has inexpensive, basic mats and with a little time and paint I can turn them into something that is just my taste. For this Halloween project, I channeled my old friend Billy Shakespeare with a quote from Macbeth. But I’m going to show you how to do this yourself so you can customize your mat exactly the way you want. First, let’s gather up our supplies…
Materials for the customized mat
-    Welcome mat
-    Poster board and painter’s tape or contact paper
-    Small, coarse paintbrush
-    Porch paint (or any latex paint) – You don’t need much so ask if you can have a sample!
-    Exacto knife
-    Scissors
-    Pencil
-    Paint mixing stick
-    Access to a computer and printer
-    Scrap cardboard
Step 1: On the computer, open up typing or image editing software. Write your chosen phrase in whatever fonts you like best. Visualize the layout of the phrase on your mat. Place plain paper out on your mat so you know how many pieces will fit (standard mats will probably fit a rectangle of four full sheets of paper, 2x2 landscape orientation, with a little extra space on every side). This will give you an idea of the size font you’ll need. For example, I knew I wanted the word “wicked” to take up about half the width of my mat (centered) so I kept increasing the size until it took up 1 ½ sheets of paper since my mat could almost fit three sheets. From there, I could estimate the other font sizes in comparison to this one. Print your text whenever it looks about right. If it looks bad when you’ve got it laid out on the mat, just adjust the size and reprint!
Note: Don’t worry if your text gets cut off slightly (like the bottom of my W in “wicked.” The printed text is just to make a template so, as long as it’s not a lot, you should be able to fix this when you’re cutting.

Step 2: Trim your poster board or contact paper as closely to the same size and shape of your mat as possible. My poster board was a couple of inches skinnier than my mat, so I just made sure the top and bottom lined up appropriately and was careful to center the design before I pulled out the paint.
Step 3: Trim the excess paper off of your text and lay it out on your poster board or contact paper in whatever way you choose. When you find the right layout, stick it in place on the poster board.
Step 4: With cardboard under your work area, cut your letters through both layers of paper with an Exacto knife. Remember that letters with holes in them (like As, Ds, etc.) will need to keep their centers so create a little bridge that attaches these to the template. You can correct it after the stencil has been removed. At this stage, you can also fix any text edges that got cut off by the printer (see the bottom of my W).
Note: If you do forget to leave a bridge for the center of a letter, just reattach it with a thin piece of tape. No big deal!
Step 5: After you’ve cut out all of your letters (or shapes!), remove the taped papers on top to reveal your mat’s template!
Step 6: Center the template over your mat, mix your paint, then dab generous globs of paint on the letters. Be careful to dab straight down, not to brush or allow the bristles of the paintbrush to slide under the template. This will ensure that the edges of each letter remain crisp. When you’re done painting, carefully lift off the template and allow plenty of time to dry before putting your mat to use.Now that we’ve got the foundation of your door display all set, things are looking up… All the way up to the door itself! Here’s how to make a gothic-looking bat display:
Materials for the bat “wreath”
-    Ornate thrifted picture frame
-    Fake bats
o    (I have one big, detailed plastic bat for the center and a bunch of smaller foam bats. My Goodwill had them front and center right when I walked in the door so I didn’t even have to hunt around! The big one is great for inside the frame while the light foam ones work perfectly outside the frame.)
-    Chicken wire
-    Needle nose pliers with a cutting edge
-    Black twist ties
-    Staple gun and staples
-    Thick black velvet ribbon
-    Scissors
-    Wreath hanger
-    Work gloves (optional)
-    Poster putty
Step 1: Remove the backing and picture from the frame.
Step 2: Using the cutting edge of the pliers, carefully trim a piece of chicken wire so it will stretch from one side of the back of your frame to the other. You could place it across the entire frame, but I didn’t want to see much of it so I only added enough to hold my biggest bat on. If you needed to have enough for the whole frame, you could also spray paint the wire to blend in with the color of your door so it’s less visible. Or, you could even stretch faux cobwebs over the wire to mask it if you’d like. I do recommend that you wear thick gloves while you’re working with the chicken wire as it can be super sharp!
Step 3: Use the staple gun to secure the wire in the back.
Step 4: Place your bat where you want it then use the twist ties to secure it in place. I added one around its neck and one around it’s ankle. To make them less visible from the front, twist it directly around the bat first then again around the wire itself. This way it hugs the bat tightly instead of reaching back for the wire in a conspicuous way.

Step 5: Cut your ribbon to the proper length. To determine this, I held my frame up against the door dangling (with support) from the wreath hanger and tested a few lengths to see what I liked the best.
Step 6: Tie or staple the ribbon to the back of the frame.

Step 7: Use the pliers to bend in any sharp points in the wire against the frame for safety.
Step 8: Hang up your frame on the door then use poster putty to adhere the smaller bats. To make it look like the bats are flying out of the frame, let their wings stick out over the frame itself. Stick bats beside and above the door as well for that wild, out-of-control look, just make sure the door can open and close without bumping into them.
Add a witch’s broom, pumpkins, or other festive features to round out the rest of the display and you’re ready for Halloween! This will surely attract trick-or-treaters on Halloween night by quickly making your home look a little haunted. And, little did you know, as well as giving out candy this All Hallows Eve, when you shop at Goodwill for your decor and costume supplies you’ll be giving to your neighbors in yet another way. After all, only Goodwill unites caring and enterprise to empower people and build communities that work. That’s why I start every seasonal shopping trip with a visit to my closest Goodwill!

 

3 Ways to Update Thrifted Baskets

3 Ways to Update Thrifted Baskets


Quick quiz—what screams summer, makes organizing a cinch in any place at all (even on the go!), and is waiting for you at your local Goodwill? Thrifted baskets! From burly laundry baskets to breezy woven seagrass, these permanently picnic-ready decor pieces will feel right at home in every room of your home and even out on adventures! Today we’ll highlight three quick and easy ways you can customize thrifted baskets for looks and functionality.



To add trendy tassels you’ll need:

-    A basket
-    Yarn
-    A small book or something else that makes just the right size tassels
-    Tapestry needle (Optional—can be helpful if the basket’s weave is tight)



Step 1: Wrap the yarn around the book (or whatever you found) until it looks thick enough. I went around 18 times. Slide the loops off of the book and cut along one end.



Step 2: With the yarn still folded in half, place a new length of yarn through the center of it. Then, lay that on top of another horizontal string. Double knot the horizontal piece of yarn around the tassel. You can wrap this around as many times as you want before tucking the ends inside the tassel if you want to (I kept it simple with mine).



Step 3: Repeat steps one and two until you have enough tassels.



Step 4: With the knots you just made placed against the basket, thread the top strings of the tassels through the basket and double knot them in place around the weave. If your basket’s weave is too tight for you to do this with just your fingers, use a tapestry needle to get through the narrow nooks. Do this, evenly spaced, all the way across the top of the basket.



Next up, I loved the unique shape of this square basket that I spotted while out thrifting, but I knew that adding some handles would make it easier to carry while full. While I was at it, I figured I’d just slap on a chalkboard label, too, so I could stick it up high on a shelf if I wanted to and I’d still know what was inside.



To add handles and a label you’ll need:

-    A basket
-    Faux-leather belt
-    Tough string
-    Tapestry needle
-    Paint mixing stick (or similarly thin wood)
-    Saw to cut the paint mixing stick
-    Power drill with a small bit (I used 1/8” bit)
-    Small paint brush
-    Chalkboard paint
-    Hammer
-    Nail
-    Scrap wood
-    Chalk marker
-    Sandpaper


Step 1: Cut your thin wood to the right size for your label. I used a saw to slice a 3.25” long section of the paint mixing stick. After that, drill two small holes toward either end of the label. Sand all sides well then wipe off the dust. Paint with chalkboard paint according to the container’s instructions and let dry.


Step 2: Measure two lengths of the belt to make the handles. Mine are each 6” long. Use the actual holes in the belt or add your own holes by hammering them in with scrap wood behind the belt.



Step 3: Thread a length of string through the needle, position the handles and label (after it’s completely dry) wherever you’d like them, and thread them through the basket’s weave to the be secured with a knot on the inside. Try to stitch the needle between the weave of the basket if possible so you aren’t poking holes into the straw/wood itself.



This last one is easy as pie and just as charming. I found this basket a couple of months ago and I love its size and shape so much. However, I noticed that since I keep it in a little nook in my bedroom, it tends to look pretty dark and shadowy over there. I was looking for a way to brighten this piece up and a fresh strip of white paint definitely helped!


To get that paint-dipped look you’ll need:

-    A basket
-    Paint (I used spray paint, but you don’t have to)
-    Paint brush if necessary
-    Painter’s tape
-    Newspaper



Step 1: Tape off the section you want to paint making sure to cover everything you don’t want to be painted. Remember that paint (especially spray paint) can seep through the basket’s weave so you may want to fill the basket with paper on the inside, too. Press the tape firmly into place so nothing can sneak through!



Step 2: In a well-ventilated area, paint the bottom with spray paint or by hand with a brush. Make sure you follow the directions on your paint to make sure you’re doing it safely.



Each of these is just a quick afternoon project that adds personality to one of the most versatile items on Goodwill shelves. Pile ‘em high with picnic supplies, replace your beach bag with something boho, or get a grip on your indoor organization. You could even use your thrifted basket to tote donations in on your next thrift store trip! Goodwill is where your stuff goes to work and any baskets you buy there are sure to carry more than their fair share of the workload. Have fun making them your own!

6th Annual Neighborhood Challenge

Holding a garage sale requires you to gather an assortment of unused items, price them, place them, and bargain with avid garage sale attendees all weekend. After the initial glee of a successful sale, a terrifying thought can occur, “After all this hard work, what am I going to do with what’s leftover?” Even if you’ve been picked clean besides a few t shirts and a leather recliner it may feel burdensome to figure out what to do with the items. There is no way they are re-entering your home, but they also won’t fit in your car for a quick trip to Goodwill. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could pick up the items for you? Goodwill is one step ahead of you.

Goodwill began doing neighborhood-wide pick ups after annual garage sales in order to give people a convenient way to donate their unsold garage sale items. As more neighborhoods got involved in the pick ups, Lincoln Goodwill created the Neighborhood Challenge. The first Neighborhood Challenge was held in 2013 and it evolved a post garage sale pick up into an opportunity for neighborhoods to build camaraderie and spark a friendly sense of competition between neighborhood associations.

Today, neighborhood associations across Lincoln compete in the Neighborhood Challenge by holding a neighborhood pick up after their garage sales. The top three neighborhoods who collect more than 2,000 pounds receive a cash prize to strengthen their neighborhood. The Challenge has allowed neighborhood associations to complete community projects ranging from landscape improvement to neighborhood events.  Thus far, Goodwill has worked with over 15 neighborhood organizations across Lincoln and last year the Challenge collected 17,321 pounds!

We want our 6th annual Neighborhood Challenge to be bigger than ever! Our goal is to collect 20,000 pounds of donations and increase participation. The Challenge begins on April 15th and it is not too late to get involved! Join the Challenge. Click here for more information and to register for the event!

If you aren’t participating, but still want to keep up with all the fun, ‘like’ our Facebook page! We will have dates of the garage sales and post what neighborhoods will do for their community if they win! In addition, if you are holding a garage sale, but aren’t participating in the Challenge, schedule a free home pick up here or call 402-438-2022.

Valentine's Day at Lincoln Goodwill

Valentine’s Day at Lincoln Goodwill

There are more ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day than a romantic dinner with a box of chocolates. So whether you are having a girls’ night out, watching scary movies with your dog, or giving your mom a much deserved call, we want Goodwill to be a part of your preparation and celebration.

Say bye to BAE
First, you can get rid yourself of the lingering memory of your ex by donating their stuff to Goodwill. You can finally move on and support employment programming in the process. In addition, donate something that you love, but don’t use anymore. You don’t have to leave your house to do this! If you have a large furniture item that no longer fits with your décor, schedule a curbside home pick-up under the Donations tab and we’ll free up your space for free.

Spread the Love
You can also utilize Goodwill to spread the love this Valentine’s Day. Sign up to volunteer with us and see first-hand how we work to help those with barriers to employment. All you have to do is submit a quick online application and attend a volunteer orientation. Then you can spend your V-Day doing good for the community. You can also shop our stores to spread the love by finding the perfect gift for someone you care about. Buy paper and markers from our bits and pieces section and make a good ol’ handmade card. To add extra zest, find a cute jar to fill with candy! Tie a ribbon around the lid and you have yourself an affordable and thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift.

Treat Yourself
No matter your relationship status, you deserve to treat yourself! Come into Goodwill and you will find a unique set of jewelry that changes every day. You can buy delicate hoops for work and shimmering teardrop earrings for later in the night (or maybe even little heart-shaped studs if you’re in the spirit)! The fun part is you never know the treasures you will come across. Don’t miss the $10/10 clothing sale the Friday and Saturday before Valentine’s Day. It’s the perfect time to treat yourself. Bring a bag to donate and fill it back up with affordable new items to fit into any V-Day plan.  In addition, when you round up your change to the nearest dollar at check-out you help our partner organizations: Lincoln Literacy, Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Community Justice Center, and YWCA Job Outfitters. Treating yourself supports Lincoln organizations that work to give people job readiness tools.

5 Ways to Reduce Your E-Waste

1.    NEVER throw electronics away
This may seems obvious, but only 12.5% of e-waste is recycled each year! There are many alternatives to throwing an electronic away. Earth911.com allows you to search in your area for the item you want to recycle and gives you a donation location. Just type in your zip code and the electronic and they will give you a list of nearby places that accept your product.

2.    Donate to Goodwill
Goodwill takes many forms of technology ranging from radios, video games, computer monitors, and almost anything that can plug into a computer! With the wide range of products accepted, Goodwill is a great resource for recycling old electronics.

3.    Think before you buy
Before going all in on the latest and greatest product, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” There are many options before buying a brand new product. You can increase the life of current electronics by buying protective cases and installing inexpensive upgrades for increased space and speed. This idea leads to number four…

4.    Buy electronics used
You can also find deals online from someone who is switching or upgrading their electronics! If you are worried about the products having problems, check reviews and return policy to ensure the legitimacy of the website and the possibility of return.

There are many outlets for buying used electronics. This ranges from Facebook groups, listings on EBay and Craigslist, or stores in town selling gently used products. By giving an electronic new life you can get a great deal and keep a product out of the landfill. Also, be sure to check out Goodwill’s Computer and Electronic store on 17th and Sumner!

5.    Educate Yourself and Others
As you continue to learn about the benefits of e-cycling and recycling in general, spread your knowledge. If you discover a nearby recycling site that takes old electronics, tell your neighbors! If you get a great deal on a used iPhone, share the place or website with friends! Continue to educate yourself on e-waste and e-cycling, then spread the knowledge and we will continue to reduce e-waste in our community and world.

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