Monday, 5 December 2011

Magpie Monday - On the tiles and in my drawers

There are a few characteristics I think you need to be a successful second-hand shopper.

One of the most important ones to me is foresight - long foresight!  When you see something in a charity shop or at a boot sale, you need to be able to think how you can use it and incorporate it into your home - if not now, at some point in the future.  You need to seize the moment and grab it while you can, because chances are it won't be there the next day, the next week and certainly not the next month.

You need patience.  Things on your 'want list' don't always turn up straight away, and equally you may buy something that waits in the shadows for some time before it can fully shine.

It also helps if you have an understanding other half/plenty of storage space/no desire for an uncluttered house, but we wont dwell on those points.

Take my box of old tiles I bought.  About 4 years ago, I spotted a box of beautiful ceramic tiles hiding in a crate under a table in the Red Cross shop.  They were priced at 50p each, but I asked if I could take the whole box.  I got them for £10, pretty good because there were two designs, some border tiles and certainly way more than 20 individual tiles.

I couldn't find a use for them in our house at the time, so they sat biding their time in the shed.  When we recently moved house I knew instantly that they'd be perfect for the living room hearth, so when we re-decorated I asked the old man to take out the existing tiles from the fireplace.

I've never seen him move so quick, and he'd got them out before I had chance to take a picture, but here they are chucked in our garden awaiting a new fate.

There was nothing particularly wrong with them, they were just plain old utilitarian quarry tiles, and certainly nothing special to look at.

Unlike these:

He's done a fantastic job, and the 'new' tiles totally transform the whole room.  They look like they were meant to be.  It makes me happy that they have been given a new life and will be enjoyed for many years to come.

We still have the other design, and I'm hoping after this successful mission, I can persuade him indoors to make a splash back for the bathroom sink.

Oh, I promised you a look inside my drawers too didn't I?

Well (adopts husky M&S voice), these are not just any drawers...

Not only are they special because I managed to get them for the knock-down price of a tenner on eBay, they are special because they do this:

I am not one to worship at the alter of HD, and don't like the over-riding feature in a room to be the telly.  In our previous house the TV was kept hidden away in original built-in cupboards, and we really found it was a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'.  We switched on the telly much less, because it wasn't in your face, so I was on the hunt for a TV cabinet.

To be honest, this wasn't exactly what I had in mind.  I wanted a white painted one, or one I could paint myself, but when this came up I thought it was so unusual I put a bid in.  Now I guess I'll have to re-think what other furniture we'll get, because I can't paint this!

What second-hand gems have you found?  What do you think are the traits needed for great charity shopping?

Grab the badge and link up. x

Me and My Shadow
Grab my button
and link to my blog


  1. Great finds. Love the colourful tiles and I want that tv cabinet.
    Let's face it a husky M and S voice will have you in far less trouble/fun than a S and M one.

  2. I love the tiles, so gorgeous.
    My mum has just got rid of her gorgeous rose wood TV cabinet, I nearly fainted when she said she given it away, I'd have loved it. But I would have had to store it, til I found a place for it. But you are so write, it always pays (if you can) to buy the things you love!
    I'm looking for the Magpie fairy to help me on a couple of may take some time!

  3. Excellent - and definitely worth changing he furniture for. Glad you foun one you liked. Tiles look great too!

    Now, when are you free to come and give our place the once over?

  4. Oooh nice one!! Great find!!!! Can you find us another?????


  5. I feel your pain of the chazza shop wish list, I have one as long as my arm but I am biding my time, all the bits turned up for my old man bag eventually so I know the stuff I want is out there. Gorgeous tiles and an amazing drawer unit! Love it all. x

  6. Gorgeous tiles and what a nifty set of drawers. I would never have guessed what they really were.

    Madison xxx

  7. Those tiles are really gorgeous! They look made for the room. And the tv cabinet is fab too.

    My husband keeps a watchful eye on my charity shop purchases so I've had to leave loads of nice things for someone else to buy. Every one of my Magpie Monday posts could include details of lovely things I saw but didn't buy. But I am starting to see the benefits of not stockpiling too much stuff.

  8. Beautiful conversion and the tiles are gorgeous.❤

  9. The tiles are fab - if only my husband would understand that just because I can't use something right now, doesn't mean I won't be able to use it in the future.

  10. Squeakmom - buy it and hide it! That's my tip :0)

  11. The TV cabinet is just gorgeous, as are your tiles. I agree aboutall the ingredients for successful thrifting. I would add imagination to the list, and a smattering of know-how. If you have those things aswell, you stand more chance of bagging a bargain that others will turn their nose up at,usually because it's too far gone or too hideous an object for others to want to buy. It's certainly worked for me over the last 25 years or so!

  12. Those tiles are gorgeous!! Great job using them!

  13. Love the fireplace tiles!!! They are perfect...great foresight!!!

  14. Lovely tiles. Do you know that a lot of salvage yards will pay good money for used quarry tiles? It might be worth checking out, your new hearth could make you a few pounds!

  15. oh Liz those tiles are beautiful, and your husband has done a fantastic job, I love your transformed fireplace. You really do deserve some kind of award (a knighthood?) for your magpie-ing. xx