Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Happy Halloween! Great DIY Costumes for the Eternal Procrastinator on a Budget

Always an eternal procrastinator on finding a costume for Halloween, I always expect myself to create a great costume on a small budget. To assist the optimistic procrastinators like me, here are some ideas that I thought I could share that you can create last minute without breaking the bank.

The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is a fun and colorful option and you can create pretty inexpensively. Find a floral embellished or embroidered top, brightly colored wrap or scarf to use as wrap on your hair and accent with faux flowers. Pair with a full colorful full skirt. Accent the ensemble with lots of colorful beads. To complete the looks, braid your hair up into buns, take eyeliner and create her signature unibrow and finish with bright lipstick.

Orange is the New Black is a super-hit phenom in our pop culture and the ease of putting this costume together is for the best of procrastinators. Find an orange jumpsuit or two piece uniform pantsuit. Wear a long sleeve white t-shirt underneath and pair with black tie up canvas shoes. Get iron on letters and numbers to create an inmate number on the back.

Be inspired by the garden by having a garden gnome get-up. Buy a blue shirt, a red santa hat and go to your nearest fabric store and find shaggy white, piece of fabric big enough to create a beard. Cut the fabric into a shape of a beard.
Create an opening for the mouth, then fasten a string or band to both sides to hold in place like a mask. Take the left over fabric and paste onto the front of the hat to make shaggy eyebrows.

I had a friend came up with a long time ago with a very clever last minute DIY costume and definitely for someone who is budget conscious. Be a deviled egg. Find a white t-shirt paint a large yellow oval on it. Add devil horns to your head and costume is complete.

Everyone loves the American icon Rosie the Riveter from World War II. For all those vintage girls, a super easy, inexpensive costume. Just add retro red scarf and tie over the hair. Wear a cropped fitted denim shirt and tie in front and dark jeans.

Do you want to be comfortable and not cold during Halloween? Try being a kid in footie pajamas with pick tails and teddy bear. An easy costume you can pass-out in if you have had too much to drink after a night of partying.

For those conversations that you want to avoid at a party try being a mime. This budget buster costume is a simple black and white striped shirt, black pants and beret. Paint on white face with black details. Wear black gloves and let your hands do the talking.

If you are a Breakfast at Tiffany's fan, try being Holy Golightly aka Audrey Hepburn. Wear a black, long, vintage dress. Accent with a sparkly necklace, tiara, fake cigarette holder and black long gloves. Whip up wicked cat eye and add long gloves. All you need is a strong martini in hand and you complete her look.

Want to drink like a goddess all night? Try being a Greek Goddess! Make a head
wreath out of faux flowers, leaves and grapes that you can purchase from the Dollar Store. Wear a white bodysuit or white tank and skirt. Create your gown by taking a white sheet or curtain and tie it around your body (DIY tutorial here). Cinch the center with a gold belt and finish with gold sandals.

For the minimalist, try being a stick figure. Dress all in white, take black duct tape, stick to front of outfit as stick figure. Draw a smiley face on paper plate in thick black marker. Cut out eyes. Take rope or band and tape it to back of plate so it becomes a mask.

In love with furry critters, those of the feline variety? Try being a crazy cat lady.
All you need is your slippers and a big fluffy robe. Attach stuffed animal cats staples all over your robe. Add large hair rollers to your hair and glasses to your costumer for full effect.

So my friends, there is no excuse to get out there and have some fun this Halloween no matter how much you are a procrastinator or have a tight budget. Besides, the DIY costumes I see are always the best.

What is your favorite DIY costume? Please share with are fashion loving procrastinators like me.

Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone!

Christine Sanderson
- Le Thrift Consignment

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tips to Help Clean and Restore Your Designer Handbags

We all love our designer or vintage handbags, but over time they start to show signs of aging. Through the years of owning Le Thrift Consignment, I have learned some valuable tips through my consignors and customers to help achieve the best outcome for cleaning and restoring your handbags.

Before trying any of these products or tips, please test them on a small, unnoticeable part of the bag. If the color changes, lightens or lifts, refrain from continuing.

Magic Erasers 
The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser  is a great cleaning product and is perfect for Vachetta (Louis Vuitton) or light colored leather on your designer bag. I would not suggest using it on a darker colored bag, as I have not tried it yet with a darker leather. The Magic Eraser gently lifts any dirts or oils from the leather. I do advise that you are gentle with applying your magic eraser on the bag. Use warm water in a bowl, dip the magic eraser in the water, wring it out so that it is damp. Gently blot the magic eraser on the leather. Do not rub too hard as it will lift the finish on the bag and ruin the texture of the leather. Please note: I have tested this technique with generic brand magic erasers and they fall apart quicker.

Metal Polish
To brighten up metal hardware, use a metal polish cream. I would suggest
Flitz Polish or Blue Magic Polish Cream. Find an old toothbrush and dampen it. Apply a sparing amount of polish to the toothbrush and then in a careful circular motion rub the polish on it. Be careful not to get the polish on the leather. Use a clean, damp rag and gently wipe the polish off. You may need to repeat these steps a few times to get the grime or scratches off the hardware.

Leather Conditioner
Leather conditioner is a great way to keep canvas, leather and even exotic skins supple when restoring a handbag. Make sure you wipe with the grain of leather or skin. Apply the
conditioner lightly, a little goes a long way. Some products that I would recommend are Leather Honey, Cadillac Leather Conditioner or Chamberlain's Leather Milk

Use a clean soft rag when applying the leather conditioner and gently rub in a soft, circular motion. If it is an exotic skin such as snake, rub in the direction of the skin, not against it. Use the conditioner sparingly as if you use too much, it will leave residue that will attract dust over time. Allow time for the leather conditioner to sink into the leather or skin and dry. Do not use any hand lotions after cleaning and carrying the bag. The oils of the lotion will immediately soak into the leather you just cleaned. Leather conditioner can also be used with canvas bags to keep the material moisturized.

If you have used the Magic Eraser beforehand, I would recommend that you use a leather conditioner after cleaning to protect the leather. Be sure that the cleaned leather is completely dry before applying the leather conditioner.

Baby Wipes
What is gentle enough for baby is also good for your handbag. These are
great to wipe or clean fabric, leather or vinyl interiors. Apply the baby wipe to the interior and lightly rub. Repeat a few times to get most of the grime out.

Rubbing Alcohol 
For stubborn stains on interior fabrics, try using rubbing alcohol. Use a damp,
clean sponge and literally apply rubbing alcohol to sponge. Dab alcohol on to lining and repeat steps until the stain starts to lift. Make sure to rinse the sponge with clean, warm water as the stain starts to lift. If you can pull the lining out of the bag, this is better as it prevents the leather or canvas from being touched. For more stubborn stains you can try soaking the affected part in the alcohol. Carefully rinse the cleaned area with water after the stain has been removed.

Stuffing the Bag

Make sure when you are not using your bag to stuff it to keep its shape. This prevents the handbag from getting warped or loose its shape. I usually use old, clean, soft t-shirts that I don't wear anymore. Any acid free, colorless or white tissue paper also works very well. Do not use newspaper as it may transfer the ink to your lining.

Duster Bags
Ladies, the last advice I would like to share with you is to use the dust bags that come with your handbag when storing them. They protect the bag from fading and dust. If you don't have a dust bag you can purchase one second hand on Ebay or buy a new one on Amazon. I prefer the fabric ones over the plastic ones as they allow the materials on the bag to breathe and protects them from UV light. 

I hope that this information on this blog helps you with restoring or maintaining your designer or vintage handbag. If you have any questions feel free to email me at

Ciao for now!
Christine Sanderson
Owner - Le Thrift Consignment

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Restoring Vintage Canvas Designer Handbags

Recently, a vintage, Gucci cross-body handbag came into the store on consignment. I was so excited to have it in the store as I am a big fan of the vintage designer bags. They are made so well and the craftsmanship rivals the designer handbags that are made today.

There is nothing better than a perfectly restored designer, vintage bag. However,  this bag and many of the canvas bags often come with stains or discoloration that comes with use and age. The great news about this is that most bags like this can be easily restored to their natural glamour and inexpensively.

With this handbag I used an old toothbrush, a few soft fabric rags and Oxy
Clean Laundry Stain Remover Spray. You can buy cleaner this online or any large retailer like Target or Walmart. Before starting, I would suggest finding a small area to test, to make sure that it works well with the canvas before applying it to the bag. Especially if the bag has something sticky to it. Take a lightly wet rag, then spray the Oxy Cleaner on to a concentrated area. Slightly rub the test area in a circular motion to see if the spray reacts well to the canvas.

If the test is successful, amply spray the Oxy Clean to the rag and slowly, in a circular motion start working on the stain. Do not rub too hard, as you are restoring the bag and don't want to wear off the design on the canvas. Also, be careful to keep the Oxy Clean away from any leather trim on the bag. 

The vintage Gucci Cross-body handbag that came in with discoloration from aging.
Once the Oxy Clean is on the area, let it sit for a few minutes. Take a wet toothbrush and again in a circular motion brush the canvas. A used toothbrush or soft bristle toothbrush would work best. At this point the stains or discoloration should be lifting from the canvas.  You may need to repeat these steps if the stain is really set in.

Immediately after this step take another rag, wet it with slightly warm water and wipe off the Oxy Clean. Make sure it is fully cleaned off, thoroughly hand dry it and you will see the results. It should look like new again.

This hack does not work with all stains or discoloration, but in my experience of restoring and cleaning bags, it has worked with most.

Although not perfect, you can see a dramatic improvement of the canvas after cleaning.

Although, I have use this method yet, I have heard baby wipes work well for this type of project as well. I will post another blog after I have tried baby wipes and if it is effective.

This Gucci 1970's cross-body is now available for sale at

I hope that this information helps with restoring your designer canvas bag. Email me at if you have questions about your handbag. I love to talk shop with our customers and clients!

Ciao for now,
Christine Sanderson
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