arcs and Crafts: Holiday Edition

It’s Christmas crafting time! Which means an immediate trip to arc thrift stores. I bought a lot of supplies for a lot of different Christmas crafts. There are already so many holiday items out at the store!

I spotted this interesting glass globe for only $3.49 and immediately thought of a snow globe. I’ve used jars from arc for globes in the past and wanted to try again with this cool piece. The base unscrews from the glass dome, allowing me to get fun, winter decorations inside.

Among all of the Christmas decorations and bags that I purchased, one was this big bag of tiny trees for $2.99. I knew these would be perfect inside the snow globe plus many more of my other planned holiday crafts. Buying craft supplies at arc thrift is a great money-saver. I always get much more for my money than I do at the large craft stores.

I started by hot-gluing two trees from my arc bag onto the base of the globe: a silver glitter tree and a green tree. Glitter is a mainstay all over my house during holiday craft season.

I found a little gnome to go with the trees in my random bits of crafting supplies at home, most of which have been purchased from arc thrift stores in the past.

One of the other winter crafting mainstays that I bought at arc was fake snow, another source of Christmas glitter. Check out that $1.29 price tag next to the original craft store price of $6.99. Arc prices for the win!

I poured some of the snow into the base and then screwed the glass globe on tight.

Flipping this guy over distributes the snow and then it’s good to go. The easiest Christmas craft on earth, the gnome snow globe. Thanks to arc thrift this was a one-stop, low-budget project.

How Shopping Secondhand Helped me Discover my Style – and Myself.

Emily Karbach || 10/28/18

“Where’d you buy that?”

This is both my favorite and least favorite question when someone comments on one of my outfits. I love it because I love to engage with people about fashion and, of course, I appreciate the compliment! The less fun part is that if someone loves one of my pieces enough to buy it, they may be out of luck. Why? Because my answer to “where’d you buy that?” is almost always “it’s thrifted!”

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A shot from a photo shoot I did last winter. My entire outfit (excluding the shoes) was thrifted at an arc in Fort Collins, CO.

Although I just recently became passionate about it, I’ve been thrifting clothes for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my family had to be frugal with the ways we spent money, so almost all my clothes were hand-me-downs from friends or had been found at our local thrift store. Even as a kid, I loved to go to the thrift store and pick out a bright floral top or some fun patterned pants, and I never minded that my clothes had been used before. To me, it just meant that some other little girl who loved the same things I did was giving me a chance to express myself just like she had been able to. Nowadays, I thrift for a lot of reasons. Sustainability is hugely important to me, so I appreciate the ability to take part in the “reduce, reuse, recycle” movement. Plus, thrifting gives me the ability to experiment with fashion and unique ways to express myself. Also, I’m currently a college student so I always appreciate easy ways to save money! The core of my passion for thrifting, though, will always be the admiration I have for the story behind each piece of clothing, and the excitement being able to give these pieces new life creates in me.

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One of my favorite outfits at Pier 39 in SF, CA. The complete outfit (including accessories) was thrifted from arc Thrift Stores in Denver, CO.

Arc Thrift has always been my favorite thrift store for a myriad of reasons (mostly because of their 50%-off everything Saturday sales!), and the more I learn about their stores and their cause, the prouder I am to support them not only with my business (I try to donate a piece of clothing for every piece I buy) but also with the creation of this blog. Arc creates value in our communities within every part of their business model, and to be able to educate people about that positive impact is an immense honor.

My goal with this blog – which I will be posting once a month – is both to share my passion for thrifted fashion and how I stay true to my style while shopping thrift, and to inspire people so the next time they walk into an Arc Thrift Store they are excited by opportunity instead of overwhelmed by possibility. And of course, I’ll be sharing my favorite thrifted pieces and looks, giving helpful tips for how to find unique and fashionable pieces while thrifting, and the nearly endless benefits that shopping at Arc provide not only to us, but also to our communities, our environment, and our world. I’m so excited to join you on this journey, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us!

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Couldn’t get enough of this San Francisco look! I love wearing thrifted looks when I travel, it allows me to look unique and fashionable while staying on budget.

Happy Thrifting,


Instagram: @emily_karbach

Wood you like to go to arc?

There are always tons of beautiful furniture pieces when you walk into an arc thrift store. If there are imperfections or cosmetic issues you might wonder whether or not you should buy a piece. I’m a big believer that as long as you have a great piece of furniture to start with, you can always paint/fix/tweak whatever is needed.

Wood furniture can be the easiest to spruce up. A lot of times all a piece needs is a bit of a restoration or minor repair around the edges.  When I get a new piece of wood furniture from arc, my first step is always to clean it. I use a special soap made just for wood that won’t dry it out.

The next product I use is Restor-A-Finish. It comes in different stains and it’s like a refresh for your wood.

You rub it onto the furniture like you would a stain and it helps darken any light spots that have occurred because of bumps or scrapes. There are a variety of tints based on the kind of wood you are working with.

It doesn’t make them invisible but it definitely makes them far less noticeable.

The final product that I use is Feed-N-Wax. It’s by the same makers as the Restor-A-Finish and the two are meant to be used together. The Feed-N-Wax moisturizes the wood and shines it up so that it glows. You buff it on and wait a bit and then wipe off any remainder with a rag.

You can see in the pictures below how the scratches are less noticeable from left to right, in the wood that’s gone through all three steps.

It really helps with wear along the edges of a piece of furniture due to normal use and transport.

Needless to say, you should not let a few scratches or a little bit of damage deter you from buying a great piece of furniture from arc thrift. I found my favorite piece at an arc thrift store and it cleaned up beautifully for my home.


arcs and Crafts

Many times, the items that I buy at Arc thrift stores are for organization. I have lots of little dishes and trinket boxes for storage that I have thrifted at Arc.


But I do not have a ring holder for next to the sink when I am doing dishes. I started hunting for one recently and when I did not find one right away I decided I would make my own. I found a small saucer with a great pattern from one of my favorite arc thrift stores.

Then I managed to find a small ceramic unicorn for only $.69 to be the actual ring holder.

I liked how it looked with the unicorn set straight on the plate but I decided I wanted to fancy it up a bit and paint the unicorn gold to match the pattern on the saucer. After painting it I used glue that bonds ceramics to glue the unicorn down.

I love how unique it is to my home since I thrifted the pieces separately and put it together myself. That is my favorite thing to do with items from Arc.


Sangre De Cristo Volunteers for the Community raised $750

Sangre De Cristo Volunteers for the Community raised $750 by participating in arc’s Buck a Bag fundraiser in 2017.  They will use the funds to further their renovation of an old outdated golf course clubhouse into a community and nature center for our area.   The building was built with environmentally responsible construction and forward-looking innovations.  When completed, it will be a demonstration building for green renovation, as well as an attractive amenity for much of Southern Colorado, with public, private, and community-oriented events.  Plans include a nature and environmental center, a local-history area, classrooms, and performance spaces, among other amenities.Picture1

Getting Organized at arc Thrift Stores

by Julie White

With the beginning of a new year comes a chance to start fresh and get organized. I have several little areas of my home that are constantly cluttered and I want to finally get them under control. I hit a few Arc Thrift stores for some furniture and organization inspiration!

I found this big bookcase at the first Arc I went to for only $9.99.

At the same store I found these two storage chests, $14.99 for both.

These looked great on the outside and had tons of storage inside. They’d be perfect to hold blankets or pushed together as a coffee table.

I ended up finding this little bookcase/record stand at the Arc Thrift store closest to my house for only $4.99! It needed a quick dusting but it was ideal for the storage that I needed.

I filled it with books and it tucked perfectly into a corner by a window. There were so many options at Arc Thrift stores and all of them were very affordable. I will definitely be heading back to Arc soon for more organizational projects.


Discover how arc Thrift Stores Buck- A – Bag Fundraiser supported Homeschool Etc.

By: Miranda Halverson

Did you know you could turn your donations into cash for your favorite nonprofit cause?  Not only can you help support arc Thrift Stores and our important mission of helping individuals living with an intellectual or developmental disability, but you can raise money for a cause that is near and dear to your own heart as well.

The fundraiser program is called “Buck a Bag”.  It is easy. Just bag and box up your unwanted household items and clothes. Schedule a pickup or drop off with me. Provide me with a copy of your nonprofit organization’s w9, and then receive a check within 2-4 weeks.  Easy peasy, right?

Over the past 7 years, arc Thrift Stores has given over 2 million dollars to local nonprofits through our fundraiser programs. This is an incredible opportunity that you should not miss out on. Homeschool Etc. ( can attest to the benefits of this amazing program. They have raised over a thousand dollars for school supplies for their kiddos.

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This is a wonderful time of year to schedule your first “Buck a Bag” fundraiser and to give back to arc Thrift Stores and your favorite nonprofit cause. Please contact me to schedule your first fundraiser.

Please call Miranda Halverson at 720.323.5079 to set up your own Buck-A-Bag Fundraiser.

mirnada holiday_flyer

Thanksgiving at arc

In terms of decorations for holidays, Thanksgiving doesn’t always rank very highly on the list. However, a Thanksgiving centerpiece is always great in the middle of the dining table. I found some great options at arc thrift this week for turkey and fall-themed centerpieces.

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My favorite option for the table is this blue mason jar ($1.99 at arc) filled with fall-themed floral picks ($2.99 for a whole bag of them).

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The floral picks have mini pumpkins on them, gourds, leaves and fruit. The bright fall colors look really great with the blue glass.

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Another funky option I found is this giant ceramic turkey dish ($4.99 at arc thrift).

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It’s super kitschy and fun, and the top lifts off so that it can be filled.

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Anything fall-themed would look great inside but I think I’m going to fill the whole thing with buckeyes or nuts in their shells.

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There are so many options at arc thrift stores right now that you’ll definitely be able to find something to fit your individual style and brighten up your holiday table on Thursday.

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Halloween is for the Dogs!

By Julie White

Halloween is not just for humans. Unfortunately for Darla, it is also for pets. I shopped for my very unwilling model at arc Thrift Stores and found some awesome costumes. There were tons of options at the store I went to so I had plenty to choose from.

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My favorite arc Thrift Stores costume find was the Broncos shirt, although it was definitely her least favorite because it had to go over both of her front paws. She was not a happy camper.

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I also loved the clown costume and it was very easy to put on since it was just around her neck and on her head.

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She didn’t seem to mind the turtle shell too much, although if looks could kill I would definitely not be alive after this photo shoot.

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I found all of these costumes at one arc Thrift Stores and they were each $3.99 or less. Let the pet costuming begin!

arcs and Crafts

by Julie White

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I’m so excited for fall that I’ve started noticing autumn-related things more and more. Recently I saw some leaf-shaped wooden bowls at an Arc Thrift Store and decided they’d be perfect for some crafting with friends. The smaller leaf bowls each cost $0.99 or $1.99 and the largest was only $3.99. I purchased some other wooden bowls and receptacles so that everyone had choices in what they were making.

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I have tons of acrylic paints that I’d like to use up and decided that this would be a great project to use them on. I wiped down each wood piece to get off any dust and then everyone picked the one they were interested in painting.

We all started by taping off different sections of our bowls or trays in order to create color-blocking sections for the paints. Some of us created tons of tape divided sections while others chose to only make a couple, keeping in mind that anywhere we had tape would be bare wood when we pulled it off.

Once we had things sectioned off we picked our colors and started painting. We tried to pick complimentary colors both to each other and to the wood itself.

After painting we slowly removed the tape while the paint was still wet in order to avoid dried bits on the edges from falling into wet spots and messing up the designs.

If we wanted to add more color blocks we waited until the sections dried and then taped off another section before painting a different color.

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I sprayed each item with a glossy sealant once they were dry in order to protect the designs from chipping. The dishes are not food safe but they will definitely end up holding keys, chapsticks, mail, etc.

This was a very simple craft that had beautiful results.