10 DIY sunburst mirrors

I completed the Netherlands trifecta last Friday. I biked for 30 minutes in the rain to a thrift store. I feel like I should’ve been awarded a Dutch residence permit right then and there.

But all my effort wasn’t for nothing. I rode there with a purpose — nay — a destiny.

Thrift store circle mirror

Ever since I saw it and passed it up, I had been thinking about it. What had I been thinking passing up a large circle mirror for only €5? The thrift store gods were smiling down on me and I just snubbed my nose at them.

Apparently, the gods considered my long wet bike ride a worthy sacrifice, though, because the mirror was still there almost a week later. Phew!

When we got it home, I promptly took a razor to it since the prior owner hadn’t taken much care when they painted it and there were little spots and flecks of brown paint on the surface of the mirror. Also, that price tag needed to come off. Why they don’t put those ridiculously-sticky price tags in more inconspicuous places I will never know.

Razor to clean mirror

So now that it’s all clean, I just have to figure out what to do with it. It’s really large and heavy, so we can’t add anything that would make it much heavier on the wall. I’m thinking sunburst mirror, but there are hardly any ideas about how to DIY those.

Haha, of course that’s not true. There are tons. It seems you can take just about anything and arrange it into a circle around a mirror.

Here are 10 things you can make sun- (or star!) burst mirrors out of:

10 DIY sunburst mirrors

  1. Plastic spoonsHow to Make A Decorative Chrysanthemum Mirror out of plastic spoons!
  2. Wood shimssunburst mirror DIY
  3. Dowel rodsDIY Starburst Mirror
  4. ClothespinsCircle Mirror
  5. Poster boardHow to Make a Sunburst Mirror
  6. BBQ skewersMy Sunburst Mirror
  7. Paint stir sticksDIY: Paint Stick Sunburst Mirror
  8. Tree branches: A Sunburst Mirror Project
  9. CardboardRecycled Cereal Box Sunburst Mirror
  10. Forks, butter knives and spoonsA Starburst Mirror for the Dining Room

We’re gonna do something a little bit different with ours, though. She’s all taped up and ready for action!

Thrifted circle mirror


August Rush

I wish this blog post had the same budget as that movie! Alas, this is not a feel-good Hollywood drama.

However, this post is supposed to make me feel good by reminding me of all the progress we’ve made on our home despite the financial setbacks. Bring on the Hollywood ending!

It did feel really good to open up here and be honest about the job snafu and all the trials that come with expat-riatism (should be a word!), so I will definitely be doing that more. I hope that writing about my experience will make some new expat feel better by knowing she is not the only one struggling with immigration issues.

Anyway, you want to know what never fails to turn my sad face upside down? This happy one:

Our kitten Ludovico

Yes, that’s an updated picture of our little fuzzball Ludovico. He’s made such an impact on our lives already — I actually okayed a scratching post the other day saying “I guess that doesn’t look so bad.” If you want to see A LOT (okay, too many) pictures of Ludo, I post them on my Instagram almost daily. You should follow me!

Ludovico was a big change for us, but a lot of the updates we made  this month were small, affordable ones like adding some hooks and hardware in our toilet and bathroom, thrifting some kitchen necessities, and splurging (well, as much as broke people can splurge!) on a designer clock.

Ikea Grundtal toilet paper roll holder

I didn’t blog about this, but it bears mentioning that you can make a stuck-to-the-wall toilet paper roll holder much prettier by running some acrylic caulk around the edge and smoothing it out with a paper towel, like so:

Ikea Grundtal toilet paper roll holder

See? No more gross see-through holes!

We did make a couple of big changes this month. They were just ridiculously cheap! We added a bunch of hand-me-down furniture to our living room.

Living room

And ain’t nothing wrong with this discounted Pax wardrobe:

Ikea As-Is Pax wardrobe

Well, that is, until we broke it.

Ikea broken Pax wardrobe

Womp womp. That’s okay. “We can rebuild him…we have the technology.” More on that later.

This month, we also added a thrifted chandelier to our living room, lovingly spray painted white, the rainbow’s most forgiving color.

Thrifted chandelier spray painted white

Funny story, I am in the process of repainting it. Yes! It’s true! Maybe this month has been a wash.

Ah well, at least we got some relaxing in before the summer ended.

Bosbad Amersfoort


Thriftin’ for the kitchen

With my recent employment snafu, we’ve had to put some of our big ticket purchase plans on the backburner. That’s okay — I’d rather research a big decision to death before pulling the trigger anyway. And it will give us some time to live in this space, figure out what we really need and what will actually work for us.

It’s also forced us to be more choosey about what we bring into the apartment and how much we pay for it. We only buy something if we really love it. And if we know we will use something a lot, it doesn’t hurt so much to shell out the Euros for it. And it doesn’t hurt when everything we buy is only a couple Euros total.

On our last thrift store run, we found a bunch of items that help make our kitchen and cooking sessions more enjoyable.

I don’t know what this was originally intended for, but we have adopted it as our new spoon rest.

I like how it looks like a fish from the side since Rolan and I love all things fish.

I had been on the lookout for a cake stand to use as a nice landing spot for things next to the sink. Rolan wasn’t sure about this idea at first, but…

… for €1, it had to come home with me.

Also thrifted the oil bottle where we keep our dishwashing liquid.

I had gotten tired of my fruit going bad so quickly because it was piled into a regular bowl with no way for the fruit on the bottom to breathe.

Problem solved.

Never thought I’d find such useful tools at a thrift store!

Salad tongs, egg slicer and pasta measurer — little things we would’ve happily paid full price for. Don’t mind getting them for cheaper.

And, of course, I can’t forget our newest addition.

While Ludovico is technically a “thrifted” kitty, I was talking about his little food and water dishes. We also thrifted a white tray to put under them so his spills don’t end up on the laminate floors. Turns out it was a smart buy. How can such a tiny animal make such a mess?

Hopefully our little spending hiatus will be over soon so we can make this place feel a little less empty. Until then, I’m perfectly happy to keep adopting other people’s unwanted stuff.