“Your challenge should you choose to accept it is to spend $20 at St Vincent De Paul and style up a storm“. That was the challenge offered by St Vinnies, and I accepted graciously. I have long been a St Vinnies shopper, and over the years have scored significant bounty. A Bison ceramic vase, a mid century side table, vintage cake forks, retro boots… the list could go on. And don’t get me started on my eagle eyed friends who step out wearing the most amazing fashion pieces found on St Vinnie clothing racks. It is a rare occasion that I leave a St Vinnie’s store empty handed.
If you are familiar with St Vinnies as it is affectionately called, it is like stepping into an Aladdin’s Cave. Unwanted clothes, toys, books, music, ceramics, jewellery and furniture have all been donated by those clearing out. Here, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Armed with my $20 voucher, I was overwhelmed by ideas as I stepped through the front door. A tall red bentwood hat stand beckoned to be re-painted, a sturdy but tired lamp shade could be re-covered, or baskets galore could be planted out or hung hapazardly from eaves cascading with greenery. Shifting my focus onto the shelves upon shelves of knick knacks, the light bulb moment came when I spied various silver trays piled up. I strategically selected three small designs (total cost $6), then moved on to glassware. The amount of facetted and decorative plates and bowls available was impressive. Choosing a flower styled plate and hexagonal bowl ($6) I moved on with just $8 left to spend. A quirky Japanese cloche like dome caught my attention. The $20 was spent. Time for some styling.
On their own the silver trays are simple platters, but when coupled together on the wall, they transform into a vintage mirrored montage. I used just three plates, but the more you add the bigger the impact will be! At just a few dollars each, you could really go to town on a wall feature.
I considered placing a tier of chocolate royals under the cloche just like my Grandma used to have, but an impressive white flower head added the lift I needed against the grey backdrop. Adding a splash of water onto the heart glass plate, the dome turned into a humid terrarium of sorts. But you could place all manner of trinkets inside as an artistic feature.
Last was the little crystal dish – tea lights work well in facetted glass as shards of light dance in different directions across the cut glass making it twinkle. You could maximise the effect by coupling a few together in different sizes and heights for a moody glowing sideboard. I also toyed with placing another flower in the crystal dish, in addition to adding some of my own pieces to complete the vignette.
Next time you walk past St Vinnies be sure to pop in – not only may you find the perfect treasure for your wardrobe or home, but you are also helping St Vinnies support others in need. And don’t forget to be creative!