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November 08, 2017

Hidden Treasures

Even when it’s 80 degrees out (welcome to South Carolina), I love fall and seasonal decorating, so that’s what I had on my mind as I wandered the aisles of my local Goodwill retail store today. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, and nothing was really grabbing my attention, until I did a double-take as I passed this shelf:

(Now, before you start thinking, “golly gee, those shelves are a tad disheveled,” let me assure you there was a Goodwill employee dutifully tidying the housewares section, and just when she’d get an area back in order, a shopper would come through and rummage around, completely undoing her work. Be kind to your retail friends, folks; it’s a thankless job.)

What caught my eye was the edge of something buried among unrelated items.

It was a tray, a bit scuffed but with a pleasant fall-esque finish. Curious, I pulled it out, and found it sturdy and rustic-looking… the sort of thing that might be the base for a little autumnal vignette on a coffee table. Unearthing this unexpected find sent me back through the housewares aisles with fresh eyes.

Every Goodwill housewares department always has a variety of knick-knacks, in pretty much any theme you might like, so it wasn’t long before I started spotting some goodies to fill my tray. A couple of pumpkin-shaped candle-holders were hiding amongst the stock (and they even had candles in them… score!).

While I was on a roll with the candle idea, I spied and snagged a set of wine-colored votive holders.

I had my tray and my candles, but it needed something else…

Another score: leafy metal wall sconce!

It was a bit bent, so it might’ve been a challenge to actually hang on a wall, but for my purposes it was perfect for adding a little unexpected texture and shape to my display.

Once home, I hit everything with an antibacterial wipe (except the sconce… not knowing what kind of metal it was, I didn’t want to risk a random chemical reaction, so it just got a little damp cloth rinse). The votive holders got some Goo Gone treatment for that packing tape residue, then I washed off everything that would be near flame (no need to tempt fate by lighting a candle housed in something recently dipped in flammable liquid; we’ve got enough to deal with around here).

The tray was a bit more scuffed than I’d originally thought, and since it wasn’t real wood, the rub-a-walnut-in-the-scratches trick wasn’t going to work. Fortunately I had some markers on hand, and the browns and blacks did a handy job of sprucing up the worn spots.

A little experimental arranging, and voila!

I’m not sure I would’ve noticed any of these things on their own, but all it took was one piece to start forming an idea that I ended up being pretty pleased about. Now all it needs is a glass of wine beside it. (That, I don’t have to hunt for.)

Happy autumn evenings by pumpkin-shaped candlelight, friends!