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Honoring Service Members on Memorial Day

May 22, 2015

Goodwill Staff & Military VeteranOn the last Monday in May every year, the summer season rolls in following an important United States holiday: Memorial Day. All across the country, individuals take the day off and children are pardoned from school to honor and remember the millions of American soldiers who sacrifice so much to defend the lives of civilians. Memorial Day is one collective, patriotic effort to say “thank you” to our heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Goodwill offers services for veterans to successfully reenter the workforce and provide for themselves and their families. Since World War I, Goodwill has worked to meet employment needs of service members and as a collective international organization has provided services to more than 100,000 veterans and military family members. These services include employment and occupational skills training, as well as career and transitional resources to help veterans locate positions as civilians and build careers once their military service ends.

While we enjoy time spent with family and friends this Memorial Day, remember to thank and recognize those who have fallen for our freedom. Consider how you can serve those who are currently struggling to find employment. Donate to a Goodwill near you this Memorial Day to help fund job training and employment services for veterans and their families in our community.

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and services in the Southern Piedmont region of North and South Carolina, visit

Shelve It: Transform an Old Drawer into a Wall Display

May 12, 2015

If you’re an avid thrift store digger like me, chances are you’ve come across a few odds and ends that seem useless at first glance. But if you’re feeling creative, you can envision the potential of anything — even a discarded old drawer.


In a recent visit to a local thrift store, I came across a few drawers and decided to transform one into a quirky wall shelf. What was once a boring cast-off would soon become a conversation starter! Here’s how I did it.

This was a pretty beat-up, dusty drawer, so I started out by cleaning it well with a rag, soap and water. Even after cleaning, it was still a dirty shade of white. I knew then this job would require a lot of paint to spruce it up.

Next, I gathered a few materials, including spray paint, scissors, Modge Podge and a foam brush. I also decided to line the inside of the drawer with sheet music, but you can use anything, like book pages, stationery paper, wall paper or gift wrap.


Then I began the process of spray-painting the drawer a pretty mint green color. Don’t forget to flip it over after it’s had time to dry, and paint the other side, careful to touch up any weird spots.


Next, I placed the sheet music inside to get a good idea of how much I needed to trim off the side in order to fit perfectly in the drawer. Oh, and the sheet music came from the thrift store, too, and it has come in super handy with all kinds of crafts and charming creations.


This is the step where the almighty Modge Podge comes in (seriously, what would we do without it?) Here, I used it to affix the pretty papers to the bottom of the shelf. This will be the backdrop for the soon-to-be shelf.

Finding a lovely knob was important to me, since otherwise it might not be immediately obvious that this was once a drawer, which is the beauty of the project, right? I found this one at a local hardware store. Once the glue dried, I easily affixed the knob with the help of a screwdriver. This is the moment when this vision really began to come together, and I got excited.


The only thing left was to find a spot to display what had become much more than a drawer or even a shelf — it was now wall art!


I decided on a spot in my home office, so I can look up at my cheerful little masterpiece all day long. I filled it with trinkets like a teacup filled with fresh flowers, a cute Elvis clock, and an old photo of my mom, sister, and I on the beach. There’s also a framed notecard that belonged to my grandmother; she saved a mother’s day note from a flower bouquet my father sent her back in the 1960s. He was in Memphis, so I thought that tied in well with the Elvis clock!


I also happened to have a sheet music rose from another day of crafting, so I affixed it to the top to bring the piece together even more. I think it’s the perfect final touch. What do you think?


What kinds of trinkets would you fill your drawer shelf with?

Kelly Rae Smith is a crafts and home décor expert based in Charleston, S.C. who writes for To view a large selection of wall art displays similar to the one Kelly writes about in this article, you can visit the company website.

Turn a Mirror into an Impressionist Work of Art

May 4, 2015

The chance of finding an original Monet painting at Goodwill may be slim, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own version of an Impressionist painting. Claude Monet was the founder of the Impressionism movement in the late 1860s, a style of painting that is more representational than realistic, with an emphasis on color and the effect of light. In the spirit of Monet, I decided to create my own masterpiece.

1 Mirror Impressionist Art

I found three round mirrors: 3 in., 6 in., and 7 in.

Think like an interior designer and always work in odd numbers—three or five items look better than a grouping of two or four.

2 Mirrors

You will also need Sharpie markers, rubbing alcohol, a small flat paintbrush and a soft cloth (for cleaning).

Thoroughly clean the mirrors with the alcohol and cloth.

3 Sharpies and Alcohol

Decide on your color scheme. I prefer a blue/green palette so I chose Fine Aqua, Turquoise, Purple, Blue and Green Sharpies.

Randomly scribble on the mirror. I started near the edge and used all five colors. Make sure you “fill in” each area. It’s okay to overlap your colors. Do as little or as much as you like. The best part is, before it dries, you can erase the marks with more alcohol and start over.

4 Draw on Mirror with Sharpies

Dip the paintbrush into the alcohol and drip it onto the colored area in two or three spots. Slowly and gently turn the mirror so the colors begin to blend together. Tip it even more to allow the colors to run toward the middle or the opposite edge. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Stop when you get a look you love. Or if it turns to mud, wipe it off and do it again.

5 Drip Alcohol on Marks

Once the mirrors are completely dry (alcohol dries quickly), lay one on top of the other. Move them around until you get an arrangement you like. I planned to stack my three mirrors, so I made sure my colors stayed on one-third of the mirror. Hold them together with heavy glue or adhesive. I like to use the removable picture hangers by 3M because they won’t damage your walls.

6 Layer Mirrors

Not only do mirrors reflect the light into the room, but you end up with an original work of art that even Monet would approve of!

Merri Cvetan is an interior designer who writes about her innovative DIY projects, including this mirror “art” piece, for The Home Depot. Merri’s interior design career began after she purchased an 1890s fixer-upper farm house. Home Depot’s selection of mirrors, which might just bring out your inner-Monet, can be viewed here.

Earth Day Ideas: Giving a “Second Life” to a Recycled Chair

April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day! Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont is excited to celebrate our beautiful planet and support environmental sustainability today and every day. DIY projects from Goodwill finds are a great way to recycle pieces and give something a “second life.” Our friend Emily at the blog Our House Now a Home completed a fun and easy refurbishment project that saved a useable chair from the landfill.


Chair Redo Tutorial – No Sewing Needed

By Emily Burmeister, Our House Now a Home

Today I am sharing a DIY project about a chair I redid for my daughter Nora’s room. Total hours spent was maybe one…one whole hour. That is it! I found this chair on the side of the road with a lovely “free” sign attached to it. I could not believe my luck. I was actually on my way to go chair hunting to look for a chair exactly like this.

Now when I found it, it was not this adorable pink chair. It was…well ugly, old, worn and in need of love. But a really sturdy chair. I think the people who put it out could not see the appeal. I hope to reach all of those people eventually so no more chairs are down on their luck in a dumpster or on the side of the street anymore. One chair at a time!

I don’t know if this was for sale in a rummage sale at one point because it had a price of $4.99. I would have paid that too! I like wildlife and birds, but this cushion is a little too rustic for me…and that is saying something.


So first on this chair redo list would be to take off of the cushion so I can paint. It is really simple – there are some screws under the bottom of the seat itself that you unscrew and take out. Done!




Next comes the sanding. I always rough-up wood furniture pieces a little. It allows the paint to stick to the chair much better with a smaller chance of it coming off so soon. Of course it is painted wood. It will need to be touched up, but sanding helps it last a little longer. I never go crazy with sanding, just enough to make it feel slightly rough. To know if the sanding is done, a good gauge for one is to feel it. It should be rough enough to not feel the smooth, glaze finish that was on it. And it should be dusty and scratched up. I always have to fold the sandpaper over to get into the corners. Otherwise it can be tough to get in there. And the corners will not be sanded properly otherwise. Be sure to get it all sanded.



The sanding was done – notice the scratched and dusty appearance. That would mean it is enough to have the paint stick to the surface. I scrubbed off any glazing or finish. Now for the painting – the fun part. The one you get results with. We used a very bright pink spray paint. It is a Rust-Oleum gloss in Berry Pink. And it is berry, very pink. This was my compromise to Nora who wanted her whole room painted in this very pink, pink. I would give her other things in this pink, but not the walls. Re-doing furniture when she is over pink is a lot quicker than a whole new wall color.

When spray painting, I always go from side to side lightly painting the surface. Keep in mind always with spray painting that more than one coat will and should be needed. The first coat will have a lot left to be seen. Go slowly from one side to the other. If you get too close to the chair or put too much paint on at first, you will get running paint. The spray paint can should be at least 6 inches away from the piece you are painting. This is to prevent it from getting layered on and dripping. I did one coat, let it dry and then did one more coat. It usually does the trick quite well.


So while the second coat of paint dried, I went to work covering the chair cover, getting rid of ducks and adding some bugs. I used a leftover curtain that I bought from Goodwill a while ago. I found these great curtains for my daughter’s room – Pottery Barn brand, still in the package for $5.00 at Goodwill. I used two for her room, but there was another one I bought, not sure at the time what my intention would be for it. Well it turns out I intended to use it for her chair.

I started by laying out the curtain. It is much longer than the cushion, so I set the cushion on top of it to determine how much fabric I would need. It was a little over twice the size of the cushion. I left 2 inches of fabric on the side of the cushion. This allows the fabric to be folded over onto the cushion so you have material to nail it into the cushion itself on the underside. It is a fairly thin cushion, so not much was needed to fold over the side. Always double-check and fold the edge over before cutting just to make sure. Especially if you have limited fabric. I have enough leftover to sew a pillow, which is awesome.




Now the folding of the fabric and the stapling. This is a fairly pain-free endeavor. To fold onto the bottom of the cushion, I always start on the straight side. Pull the fabric snug, but not too tight and use a staple gun to attach the fabric going down the row. Hold down and use a staple gun to punch the staple in, putting in one staple about every 3 inches or so. There should be no lifting of the fabric between staples. If there is, just throw in another staple. You will hate it later if you choose to put on different fabric and have to pull out the one million staples, but here and now and this particular project…staple away!

The one tricky part is the corners and curved edge. The corners needs a little more attention. I simply take the already nailed in straight side and hold tight, smoothing it out. Then the leftover fabric (maybe 2 inches worth) that is on the side of the cushion, I fold over onto itself, example below.


Folding, and keeping it all neat and tidy while doing it. Keeping it as smooth as possible.


Once it is folded, pull tightly. I always try to keep the folded piece as thin as possible so there are not any gathered or bumpy parts to the side or even under the cushion. You never know how it will lay once done. So the neater the better.


Folding it down tightly, making sure the fabric is not too snug.

Hold down while a trusty assistant staples, watching closely at the fabric and fingers.

The curved edge is what I was worried about. I have done them before, but always with a chair where the curved edge was hidden with the back of the chair. This curved edge is also in the back of the chair, but with little to no back to hide my not-so-neat folds. Time to bring out my folding and stapling skills. I started by just moving the fabric and folding it sporadically to see how it would fold and lay. Once I got a feel for it, I began by folding the piece closest to the already stapled side. Folding the small edge and flattening it down myself. It began to get an appearance of ruching, holding down each fold and moving along the curved edge. Then my husband Dale came in and stapled it down. Always right along the edge, just under the cushion bottom. You can go in after and staple the extra material afterwards so nothing catches.


The folding and ruching begins. Keep it tight and clean.


Then I slowly move around the curved edge, pulling, smoothing, tightening and then stapling it down.


Notice the staple, just at the edge. Also staple over the fold as well to make sure the fold does not come undone.


This shows the staples being put into the fold as well as the flat part. Go staple crazy!

Once I was happy with the results, I had a new cushion. It may look sloppy and ugly from the bottom, but nice and pretty on the top where it matters.


I should also add when laying the fabric down and before stapling, make sure the fabric is straight on the cushion. No leaning bugs here!


So now I have redone the cushion and painted chair. Time to add the two together and call it done. For this, I sat the chair upside-down on our coffee table. I put the chair on the coffee table so that the cushion could sit on the seat, but upside down so I could screw in the screws to the chair cushion. For this I also made sure the cushion lined up properly and was not sitting too close to the edge of the chair or one side more back than the other.


Make sure the fabric is out of the way of the place you will be screwing in.


Once that is done, securing the seat into place it is also done. My old throw-away chair is now a new and improved pretty, pink chair. It turned out adorable and was exactly what I was frantically looking for.


After spray painting the chair, I always inspect the detailing to make sure it all got even coverage of the paint. A quick re-spraying is sometimes needed for some pieces with lots of small details or cracks.


I paired the chair with a old desk my Grandma gave me. It was actually my Mom’s and mine growing up. It was white and very old when we got it. The two together look like a match made in heaven…a pink heaven. Perfect for my 6-year-old Nora.


So there it is – the pink, lovely chair redo. All in total I spent $5.00 on this project. About $2.00 for the curtain (I spent $5.00 for all three panels, so I guesstimated the amount for one panel I used for this project), and then $3.00 for a can of spray paint. Not bad for an adorable piece of furniture that brightens up her room. I hope you were inspired to use and redo those old chairs and not throw them out. Easiest and cheapest redo ever. I am going to start a save the chair campaign or something. Who is with me?!

Spring Cleaning Tips & Trends from the Queen City Style

April 17, 2015

This spring, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont has partnered with Whitley Adkins Hamlin, author of the Queen City Style blog, for spring cleaning tips and fashion trends. Whitley is a Charlotte-based professional wardrobe stylist, personal shopper and fashion blogger, featured in the May 2015 issue of SouthPark Magazine and recent winner of Charlotte Magazine’s 2015 BOB (Best of the Best) Award for best personal stylist.

Whitley Adkins Hamlin, author of the Queen City Style blog

Whitley Adkins Hamlin, author of the Queen City Style blog

Spring is the perfect time to welcome a new season and start fresh by cleaning out your closet, home or office, and donating unwanted items to Goodwill. Below Whitley offers some key spring cleaning tips.

The Queen City Style Wardrobe Refresh Advice:

1. Schedule a time to clean out your closet: Commit to doing it all at once. Mentally transition from fall/winter to spring/summer.

2. Divide your closet into subcategories: Shirts, sweaters, pants, belts, shoes, etc. so that you can closely compare and see if you have multiples of each item. Do you have three black belts when you only need one? Extra pairs of jeans that don’t fit anymore? Discard unnecessary multiples to Goodwill.

3. Be honest with yourself: How long has it been since you’ve worn that item? Subscribe to the one, two or five year rule and part ways with a piece if it’s been that long since its last wear. However, there are exceptions if you invest in or inherit high quality items that will physically and fashionably stand the test of time.

4. Thank your cast-offs: Say “Thank you for giving me joy when I bought you.” Instead of holding on to a piece you no longer wear for emotional reasons, donate the item to Goodwill and appreciate the joy you will create for another.

5. Lovingly put away out-of-season clothes: Fold everything neatly, place on a shelf or in plastic boxes and store your shoes in shoe boxes. Keeping your possessions organized takes a little more time on the front end, but your pocketbook will thank you for providing the care to allow your wardrobe to stand the test of time.

Whitley also offers tips on several popular trends this season, all of which may be found at your local Goodwill store.

The Queen City Style Spring 2015 Fashion Trends:

1. Track down the suede: As is the bohemian style of the 1970s, suede is a very big trend for this spring – it’s lightweight, yet chic.


2. Reach for the silk scarves and bandanas: Silk scarves are a timeless, classic accessory that will never go out of style. They may not always be “on trend,” but they will always be in fashion. Goodwill always seems to have a great selection of scarves from different decades. Style tip: you can tie them around your head, ponytail, neck, waist, wrist or attach to a bag as a colorful accessory.


3. Put away the over-the-knee boots: Now that the cold weather is over, instead wear ankle boots. They go with everything from skirts to cropped pants, dresses and jeans.


4. Wear a denim jacket as an easy layering piece: Put the heavy coats in the hall closet – a denim jacket is a classic you can wear all four seasons of the year. It’s lightweight, compact and can dress up or down any outfit, like this military style denim jacket.


5. Top it off with a fedora: Put away the beanie caps and break out your most polished topper – another easy find at Goodwill.

Goodwill makes spring cleaning easy and can help clean out more than just your closets and dresser drawers. From the office to the garage, Goodwill makes it simple and convenient to drop off your donations:

  • Goodwill has 22 retail stores and more than 50 donation sites throughout the Southern Piedmont that accept donations.
  • Goodwill accepts clothing, books, housewares, electronics, small appliances, sports equipment and furniture.
  • You can schedule a free home pick-up in the Charlotte-metro area. Items eligible for home pick-ups include at least two large, gently used furniture pieces, clothing, shoes, electronics and other household items.
  • If your community or organization is holding a spring yard or garage sale, you can call Goodwill to pick up remaining items from the sale. For more information about home pick-ups and service area, visit

Goodwill relies on the generosity of its donors to fund programs that give people in our region the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential through family sustaining employment. Spring cleaning donations are a benefit not only to those overhauling their homes, but in turn for the thousands of individuals that benefit from Goodwill’s job training and employment services each year.

Many thanks to Whitley Adkins Hamlin for her spring cleaning tips and trends. Help turn a pair of jeans into a job for someone in our community this spring!

How to Make a DIY Table from Corner Bookshelves

April 2, 2015

I try to keep an open mind when I’m shopping at Goodwill stores or flea markets. Sometimes I find an item and have no idea what I will do with it, but can’t pass it up because I know at some point I’ll come up with a great DIY project. Other times, I spot something and an idea pops in my head immediately. That’s what happened when I found four corner bookshelves. Together, I imagined, they could be a cute little side table.



Of the four shelves, one was painted; the other three had a stain finish. Although all four shelves are the same size and shape, they are obviously handmade (maybe a shop class project?) so not an identical match. But that’s okay.




In order for the table to sit flat on the floor and have a flat top, I cut off the curved top and bottom pieces with a power saw. After screwing the four shelves together, I used an orbital sander to smooth out the top and bottom.


I knew the table wouldn’t be perfect, so I spray painted it in satin espresso. A gloss finish or bright color would just highlight the flaws. Keep that in mind when painting anything, including walls. Imperfections are less noticeable when painted with a flat or egg shell finish!



I often rearrange my porch furniture depending on the weather or the number of guests, so wheels make moving furniture around a cinch. I purchased a package of four wheels and screws and attached them to the bottom. Pre-drilling holes makes adding the screws easier.


I also knew the top would need to be covered up. I had a 20 in. round glass table topper that fit perfectly. Since I’ll use the table on my porch this summer, I used a piece of fabric left over from upholstering some chairs. It’s an ikat pattern – a dying process that’s been around for centuries, and has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years.


After ironing the wrinkles out, use the glass top to trace the shape on the fabric.



You will need a sponge brush and Mod Podge Decoupage glue. Wash the glass and allow it to dry. Spread two coats of Mod Podge on the entire surface. Immediately lay the patterned side of the fabric on the glass. Apply three coats of Mod Podge to the unpatterned side fabric and let it dry.


Lay the glass top on the table. Since the fabric is on the underside, it is protected from the elements and spills.



With the final finished project, I have lots of space for displaying and arranging books and collectibles, plus a lamp and a cool drink for spring evenings on the porch.

Interior designer Merri Cvetan writes about home décor, as well as her DIY furniture craft projects, for The Home Depot. Merri’s design career began after she bought a 1890s farm house fixer-upper, which is now her family’s home. To view Home Depot’s Home Decorators Collection of outdoor furniture, including porch items, click here.

Closet Door Ideas: DIY Makeovers to Repurpose Old Doors

March 3, 2015

If you have recently removed your closet bi-fold or 6-panel doors, and they are now lying in your basement or garage, why not repurpose them?

Upcycling and repurposing old doors is no longer just in the realm of artists – it’s a full-on design trend, at a time when many homeowners are removing closet doors to make a closet office or to create unique storage spaces. Instead of putting those doors out in the garbage pile, take a look at how you can repurpose them into decorative elements and furniture for your home.

Sliding barn doors from repurposed closet doors


Repurposed closet doors take on a rustic country charm as barn doors (Image via: Fab You Bliss/Pinterest)

As a designer, I’m always on the search for solutions to help my clients save space without sacrificing beauty. Barn doors have gained popularity in the interiors world, as the hardware affixes to the outside of the doorway opening and allows the doors to slide rather than swing into a room. This saves interior space and brings a rustic touch to your interiors. Barn doors work beautifully for bathrooms, closets and sectioning off public spaces from the rest of your home.

To turn your closet doors into barn sliding doors, you will need to purchase barn door hardware. This will include the track and the rolling mechanisms to attach to the top of each of your closet doors. For smaller room openings, you can use just one closet door instead of two. Your local hardware store may carry them or check online for “barn door hardware” to get more decorative finishes to match your interiors.

Wake up your tired bedroom with a closet door headboard


Add a repurposed closet door headboard to your bedroom (Image via: HGTV – Layla Palmer)

Headboards have come a long way since the traditional “4-post” bed with traditional hardwood or wrought iron detailing. Today, headboards give your bedroom a focal point, and can also bring a sense of accomplishment to the room when using repurposed closet doors.

Hang a single door horizontally, or create a vertical pattern with painted closet vented slat doors. The wonderful part of repurposing your closet doors is the mood they can convey with a new coat of paint or wood stain. If you are a DIY’er, you can distress the surface with sandpaper, hammer, chains and other tools to give it a rustic “Shabby Chic” decorative appeal. The pictured vented slat closet doors from HGTV’s Layla Palmer have been white-washed to give a coastal, weathered appearance.

Recycle a door into a lively dinner table


Enjoy the outdoors with a repurposed closet door dining table (Image via: Dishfunctional Designs/Pinterest)

Repurposed doors can also lend rustic appeal to your outdoor spaces. I love this garden table that has been painted, stenciled and set atop woodworking sawhorses bases for a garden table anyone would love. Keeping the doorknob affixed to the table adds to the whimsical nature of the outdoor eating area.

Remember to sand down edges with sandpaper or an electric sander to ensure nails, screws and loose wood are removed. This will help your tabletop have a smooth surface before painting, and will ensure that guests don’t get hurt by a rough corner of the door.

How will you use your closet doors in a new way? From decorative barn sliding doors to a bedroom headboard, the projects are endless. I’ve also seen coffee tables, room dividers and dining room tables made from repurposed closet doors. Use these tips to get your creative juices flowing and come up with a new project that is your own style.

Ronique Gibson is a home design expert with more than 13 years of interior design experience. Ronique writes about her décor ideas for The Home Depot. If you want to view a large selection of closet doors and other types available online at Home Depot, you can visit the company’s website.


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