When Event Planner, Christi Duea, is planning a party, a trip to the Mercer Island Thrift Shop is often on her to-do list. “I usually know the theme of the party but need to find items to help me tell the story. Often, I find an item that might have been used for one purpose and I can tell it will be perfect once transformed. Finding a second life for an old item is very satisfying.
Christi, with a child in both middle and high school, volunteered to organize a breakfast event for the teachers as part of Staff Appreciation Week. “I knew I wanted to add a colorful, warm touch to the breakfast table but needed something inexpensive and easy. Like many of her ideas, she thought of it at night - and remembered the thrift store always has an eclectic selection of coffee mugs. "It was so easy to do once I had the idea!" 12 bright mugs with red flowers helped brighten up the staff lounge.
One of Christi's favorite transformations was turning old vinyl records into Gold plate chargers for a Grammy Themed Bat Mitzvah. As the party was at the Spaceneedle at night, she really wanted to create something special. The Thrift store sells vinyl records and Christi collected, then painted more than 100 for the place settings and another 84 for the backdrop of the dessert bar.
Christi has been using items at Thrift Stores and giving them a new life for years. Sometimes, she will buy an item first and come up with the final result later. This happened earlier this year. MIHS Baseball Booster hired Christi to help create an “Americana” rustic environment for their auction. Christi stopped in the Thrift store and bought 2 white boards for $5 each. She removed the backing, wrapped the frame in burlap, added a few denim flowers and using twine and clips, created an engaging display for photographs.
Christi encourages everyone to go to the thrift for re-purposing old items. Christi's favorite go-to Thrift item are glass vases. "I spray paint them silver and then rinse with water and I have Mercury glass!"