By the Chimney with Care…


Felted Sweater Christmas Stockings hanging from a mantle“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there” Clement C. Moore


Christmas stockings may hang from your mantle, along your stair rail  or even under you windows… but where did this tradition of gift-filled stockings originate?

Tradition tells a story, originating in the early 19th century, of a kind nobleman whose wife had passed away after a long illness. The nobleman and his three daughters were heartbroken. After a series of misfortunes, the nobleman and his three daughters moved into a peasant’s cottage where his daughters did all of the cooking, cleaning and sewing.

As his daughters grew older, the once nobleman became even more depressed as he could not provide a proper dowry for their impending marriages.

One night the daughters washed their stockings and hung them by the fire to dry.  Saint Nicholas, knowing the despair of the father, stopped by the gentleman’s house. He saw that the family had gone to bed and noticed the daughter’s stockings. Saint Nicholas then took three small bags of gold from his pouch and threw them one by one down the chimney and they landed in the stockings.

The next morning when the daughters woke up, they found their stockings contained enough gold for them to get married. The nobleman was able to provide his daughters with proper weddings and they lived happily ever after.

cut_around_patternYour family tradition may be to hand a stocking for each child or family member… and even the family pet!

Making your own stockings is a great way to spend some family time together. All you need are a few wool sweaters, some yarn and a hand-sewing needle with a big eye. Follow these simple instructions… 

  1.       A.  Start by “felting” your 100% wool sweaters. Choose sweaters with great knitted in designs in colors that compliment your decorations. If you own sweaters that might be out-grown or have holes, use those… or shop thrift to find fabulous sweaters at very discounted prices. Place your sweaters inside a lingerie laundry bag and wash them using hot water and cold rinse. Felt light sweaters separately from dark as this process can create a lot of lint. Lay them flat to dry.
  2. Using an old Christmas stocking as a pattern, or download our pattern. Place the pattern on the sweater with the top opening of the stocking at the lower edge of the sweater.  Cut around the pattern on the line (or just outside the edge of your stocking) through both layers of sweater.
  3. Pin around the outside edge of the two layers cut, leaving the top edge open.
  4. Thread approx 4 yards of yarn onto your needle. Pull ends to meet so you will work with a double strand of yarn. Begin on the top right of the stocking and pull needle through leaving approx 6”. Tie a knot around stocking to anchor thread. Sew both layers together around the outside edge, ending at opposite edge from where you began. Be careful not to sew across top opening.
  5. Add a tab to hang your stocking: Using the remaining 4 yarns of yarn, cut 12 lengths of 12 inches each. Tie a knot at one end, split into 3 groups of 4 strands and braid to end. Knot end and trim. Use the 6” ends of yarn from the beginning of your blanket stitch to tie around the knots securely attaching tab to stocking. OR cut a 6” section from the sweater cuff or collar and secure to top right of stocking in same spot with the yarn and perhaps a button.

A new family tradition has been created!

Click here for printable directions…  and have fun!


Silent Auction Worthy


Two Meda Chairs, one with arms, one without on Silent Auction at Feasterville Impact Thrift StoresSo items arrive as donations. They look like average items… desk chairs in fact.

Two people look at the matching desk chairs in questions and one says… Trash while the other says Silent Auction!

Begging the question, what makes items such as these Silent Auction worthy?

Lets follow the process…

Two chairs arrive together at our donation processing center from a donation pick up by one of our truck crews. One chair is in excellent condition, the matching chair has no arms. The chair with arms was cleaned, priced and ready to go to one of our stores when someone walked by and noticed its artful lines and extraordinary construction. The second chair is found in an area designated for trash…it is rescued and reunited with it’s twin.

We look at each chair and discovered a name on the underside… some online research is done. What do we discover?

Designed by Alberto Meda in 1996, “the Meda Chair successfully combines comfort, technology and a new aesthetics. The comfortable and flexible armchair follows the movements of the user’s body – even though it deliberately does not rely on any complicated mechanisms. The covers are stretched taut over the backrest and this ensures elastic support for the back and when sitting.” Read more on the Vitra U.S. website…

The prices we see online are staggering… ranging from $997 to almost $3,000 per chair! Whoa baby! We could put a price on the chairs, sell them individually or as a set. Watch them sit there week after week as the price comes down… or…

Silent Auction…. here we come…

By placing these chairs as a set in our Silent Auction, the market (that means you) set the price.

James Mont Asian-inspired chair on Silent Auction in Feasterville Impact Thrift Store

Another chair arrived also as a donation pickup on one of our trucks….

much less question that this is a desirable and interesting item:

A modern interpretation of the traditional Chinese Ming chair. This Vintage James Mont style Black Lacquer Oriental Side Arm Chair was crafted by the Century Chair Company, circa 1960.  Black Lacquer Finished. Ornamental Brass Trim. Dimensions: 27″ Width x 27″ Depth x 31″ Height (Seat Height 18″)

Both the Meda Chairs and the James Mont chair are currently open for bid at the Silent Auction in our Feasterville location!

Our Silent Auction continues until there have been no bids for 7 days! Learn more about Impact Thrift Stores Silent Auction…

Silent auction is not limited to furniture… take a look at these other wonderful items currently available at our Feasterville Store’s Silent Auction:

Hand Carved Cuckoo Clock

Artist, Wayne Morrell created this beautiful oil painting in the early 20th century. A masterpiece!

From Donations… to Furry Friends… Pennypack Pays it Forward


If you are wondering if your younger children are old enough to participate in community service projects, all you have to do is take one look at a group of fourth graders from Pennypack Elementary, and there’s your answer…

4th Graders from Pennypack Elementary School in Hatboro-Horsham PAYES!

These enthusiastic ten year olds are participating in the Impact LIVE Leadership Program, and are positively changing the Hatboro-Horsham community one donation at a time…but more than that, they are going above and beyond, in a very creative green way, to help a local pet store find dogs a loving home.

The primary focus of the Impact LIVE program is to inspire students of all ages to think beyond themselves and consider how they can organize, promote and host a collection drive event at their school to help families and children in crisis. As part of the program, the Pennypack students had the opportunity to take a field trip to the Hatboro store, for a behind-the-scenes tour, and an orientation; which taught the eager minds how donating diverts items from landfills, and is actually another form of recycling.

Pennypack students in front of Hatboro Impact Thrift Store

The students were excited to learn the various ways their generous donations will be “recycled” into cash to support the 16 locally-based charities Impact Thrift financially supports.

Just when it seemed like the morning with the students couldn’t get any better, the fun was kicked into overdrive. The students participated in an upcycling project where they learned how to make super cool dog tug toys from donated fleece blankets, sweatshirts and t-shirts.

By braiding strips of fabric cut from the donated items, the children were able to transform what was once a used good, and put it to good use! Not only did the students have a chance to learn a new craft, they raved about wanting to make more dog tug toys for their own pets, or for Christmas gifts for the pets of family members and neighbors.

A local pet store in Feasterville immediately fell in love at first sight when they saw the personalized upcycled dog toys that the students made, and decided to use the toys as give-aways to anyone who takes a dog home during an adoption event in partnership with an animal rescue organization.

From donations… to adoptions… Pennypack Elementary School pays it forward to benefit both the Hatboro and Feasterville communities at large.

We all could take a lesson from the students at Pennypack Elementary. If you’ve got a puppy who loves to play tug-of-war, take your fleece scraps and make him an easy-peasy rope toy…

Here’s how!

Gather some fleece from old sweat pants, sweatshirts or blankets. Cut the fleece into three 3-inch by 40-inch strips. Cut right across shoulder and side seams – they add texture to the toy! For a large dog, you might want to double up and cut 6 strips.  That’s it!

Mix and match your different colored strips to make a colorful toy.

Holding all three (or six) strips together, tie them in a knot at one end. Begin to braid the long strips of fleece. If using six strands, hold the strands together in sets of two while you are braiding.

Make a basic braid by pulling the left-most strand over the center strand and tug tight. Next, pull the right-most strand over the now center strand  and tug tight. Continue braiding in this manner, braiding the fleece as tightly as possible for a sturdy toy. An easy way to get a really tight braid is to put the knot between your knees and keep braiding. Braid until the toy is slightly longer than your desired length and tie the other end in a knot.

finished braided dog toy upcycle from old sweatshirts and tshirtsTrim the ends of the fleece and your toy is finished! If you’d like to give your pal another place to grab on to the braids, just tie a few knots in the finished braid.

Daisy plays with her new tug toyHave fun playing with your furry friend! And remember, the toy is washable, so when it gets slobbery and gross, you can just revive it with a good washing and drying.

Click here for a printable version of this project! (It is the first on the list of pdfs on Impact Thrift Stores “For the Home” page.)


~ post by Tamika Miller

Deliverance Evangelistic Temple… Committed to Serving the Community


Nestled in the Heart of Norristown, is a Church Committed to Serving the Community.Deliverance Temple, under the servant leadership of Bishop Sandra Coston

It wasn’t long after I stepped inside the welcoming doors of Deliverance Evangelistic Temple, that I realized the churches’ strong sense of responsibility to reach out to the world outside their walls. Deliverance Temple, under the servant leadership of Bishop Sandra Coston, provides meals to neighboring families, as well as tutoring, literacy programs, computer classes and a wide variety of outreach programs to hospitals, nursing homes and prisons; all intended to meet the social, economic, educational and basic human needs of the residents of the greater Norristown community. Therefore, the partnership between Impact Thrift Stores and Deliverance Temple was natural and effortless; as we came together seamlessly to host a collection drive to benefit families and children in crisis.

During the month of October, the parishioners of Deliverance Temple collected clothing and shoes in support of Impact Thrift’s mission to positively impact local communities through its thrift store operations. Even during the midst, and aftermath, of torrential Hurricane Sandy, Deliverance was able to look beyond their own personal needs to forge ahead, and as a result of their dedication they gathered a multitude of donations.

Deliverance Temple does not ask, if they should serve…they ask where they should serve, who they should serve, and how many ways they can serve others? Impact Thrift is thankful for their dedicated service to helping others in their community, and for spreading that love and concern to our supported charities.

~Tamika Miller

Community Donation Drive Shout Outs…


At Impact Thrift, we love what we do! And we love to share stories about being connected with the community. It is only through grassroots community interaction, that we are able to fulfill our mission to financially support local charities.

Here’s a special Thank-You, “SHOUT OUT” to all those who recently joined in to help spread awareness that donating has the power to positively impact lives:

Calvary United Methodist Church Ambler PAEileen Wenckus of Ambler, PA, held her 2nd annual collection drive event at her church, Calvary United Methodist.  Eileen, who is a volunteer at her church and local food pantry, is all about giving back! Eileen went the extra mile and got local businesses involved. She encouraged local businesses to give special discounts to anyone who supported her event. What a great idea! Special Thanks to all the shops in Ambler for supporting Eileen’s “Ambler Donate and Save Day”: Antique Garden Cottage, Ambler Bake Shop, Ambler Golf Shop, Jackets ’n Things, Holistic Apothecary, and No Bare Walls.

Laird Donation Drive fills our truck in Chalfont PaBarb Laird of Chalfont Pa inspired her whole neighborhood to clean out closets and de-clutter to support her community collection drive event.  Her husband and son were gracious enough to provide hot coffee and Yum Yum donuts to anyone who dropped off a donation. Barb was a little nervous about having a good turn-out…but her nervousness was in vain…she and her family nearly filled our truck, and that’s no easy feat! We had tons of fun trying out some of that work out equipment that her neighbors donated; like that ab rocket twister and manually operated treadmill…who knew a collection drive could beat going to the gym?

Frani Morrione and Anthony Stipa of Keller Williams Real Estate Blue Bell Frani Morrione and Anthony Stipa of Keller Williams Real Estate Blue Bell Frani Morrione and Anthony Stipa of Keller Williams Real Estate Blue Bell joined forces with Impact Thrift to show Plymouth Meeting that they care about families and children in need.  Their collection drive event had all the neighbors talking…in a good way! Their neighbors were very appreciative to have an outlet to donate their unwanted items, where their family treasures would be truly valued and given a new home. It was great to see neighbors gathering around and reminiscing about all the fun times that had together over the years on Loretta Lane; while playfully teasing Bob (the neighbor across the way) as he trimmed his tree to ultimate perfection.

To all those who supported their events, Impact Thrift says, “Thank you for Being Green and Helping Others!”

To host a collection drive event of your own… visit our website to learn more or contact Tamika Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator at 267.387.0030, x5111.

You inspire us!


A view of Feasterville Impact Thrift Store from the front of the furniture departmentEnter one of our stores and take a moment to look around.

Think about it.

Everything you see is a donation.

Amazing… Awe inspiring…


Someone drives up to our back door, empties their car with the help of our staff, smiles and offers a kind word.  About half of you accept a non-profit donation receipt for your income taxes.

A wonderful neighbor dropping a donation off at Impact Thrift Stores Montgomeryville

And then you drive off.

Your donations range from a small bag of clothing or box of books to the contents of an entire house on the Main Line and, quite literally, everything in between… including the kitchen sink!

We don’t know anything about you…


We do know that what you do makes a difference. Period.

Your donation makes a difference in our community, allowing us to provide gently-used or sometimes new merchandise at reasonable prices to people who often can not afford to shop in a retail department store or mall AND provide over 200 jobs to your neighbors, friends and family.

Your donation makes a difference in our world, our environment. You are “recycling” items that you no longer need or use. You are offering those items a new lease on life and offer service to a new owner. You are helping to keep items out of land fills and taking active steps to heal our planet.

Your donation makes a difference in the lives of those helped by the charities we financially support. You are helping to feed a family, educate a child, shelter the weary, insure good health and find a child a forever home, right here in the Philadelphia area.

The truly awe-inspiring part is the anonymity of it all. We don’t know your name. We don’t know your family. We don’t know your motivation. We don’t know your circumstances.

But we thank you.



An Elf Tradition


Elf hiding in plain sight in boys room at Pearl S. Buck HouseHave you ever wondered how Santa knows who is naughty and who is nice?

Well, we have the answer…

The Elf on the Shelf

Every day from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, each family’s Scout Elf watches over the children and then at night, once everyone goes to bed, the elf flies back to the North Pole to report back to Santa about what activities, good and bad, took place throughout the day.

Boy's room at Pearl S. Buck House Festival of Trees 2012Before the family wakes up each morning, the scout elf flies back from the North Pole and hides. By hiding in a new spot each morning around the house, the scout elf and the family play an on-going game of hide and seek.

This holiday season, we have shared the Elf on the Shelf tradition as Impact Thrift Stores again has the honor of decorating one of the many beautiful rooms at the Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie, PA. One of the two boy’s bedrooms on the second floor is now the residence of a variety of elves… causing mischief and mayhem… usually while we sleep!

an elf takes a ride on the train at Pearl S. Buck House Festival of Trees 2012All of the Christmas decorations, elves and toys, are reminiscent of or authentic to the time period of the 1940’s and all are gathered from your generous donations to Impact Thrift Stores!

Take a look at the photos and please, plan to visit the house during this holiday season!  The Pearl S. Buck Holiday Festival of Trees is a spectacular holiday tradition for you and your family.

Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.” ― Pearl S. Buck

Celebrate the holidays at the Pearl S. Buck House by touring the 34th Annual Festival of Trees November 13 – December 30, 2012. For more information about the Festival of Trees including times and admission fees, click here.

For more information about Pearl S. Buck International, visit

~Room decor designed and installed by Heather Hamilton and Tamika Miller.

A (minor) Holiday Dilemma Solved!


Christmas CookiesDo you have a fall baking tradition? A favorite recipe for a cake or cookies? Something that everyone looks forward to?

In our family, it is Grandma’s Apple Cake… layers of fresh apples, firm cake and warm cinnamon… yum! My mother now carries on the tradition of baking a Grandma’s Apple Cake for every occasion from family gatherings to holiday parties. We all look forward to the delicious cake and the wonderful memories it sparks.

Now the dilemma… what to carry and serve the cake on? Do you bring the cake to a friend’s home on one of your favorite serving plates? a dinner plate? in a cake carrier? Then, how do you politely ask for the plate back after dessert?

My mom has come up with an excellent solution (she is such a smart woman!)

She shops thrift stores! (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you!)

Thrift Stores always have an ever changing selection of one-of-a-kind serving plates, platters, baking dishes and more. Spend a few minutes, just a couple of dollars, and you will come away with a supply of plates for your Christmas cookies, cakes and casseroles.

Carry your goodies to that holiday event and just leave that plate behind! It cost you what… 95 cents? You have relieved yourself of a little bit of holiday stress and have helped support charity as well! Encourage your hostess to do the same. She will thank you later.
A win-win all around!

Consider shopping Impact Thrift Stores for more than just a serving platter! Take a look at these wonderful tablescapes that we created completely with thrift store finds! Mix and match a variety of glassware, plates and decorations for an eclectic and festive tablescape.








And if you are interested in trying Grandma’s Apple Cake, here is the recipe…


Mix together and set aside:
3 large granny smith or winesap apples, peeled and cut in small pieces
½ cup of sugar
3 tsp cinnamon

Mix together in a large bowl:
1 3/4 cups sugar
½ tsp salt
3 cups flour 3 tsp baking powder

Add to the dry ingredients:
1 cup oil
4 eggs, 1 at a time
7 tablespoons of orange juice
2 1/2 tsp vanilla

Batter will be thick!

Grease and flour a round tube pan.  Alternate and layer batter and apple mixture starting with batter. Place the last of the apple mixture on top.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until toothpick tester is clean.

Allow to cool completely to room temperature before removing from pan. Enjoy!

PS… do you know what makes this a “Jewish” Apple Cake? Oil is used as the shortening rather than butter or margarine, therefore the cake is parve – a neutral food that can be eaten with both meat and dairy dishes in a kosher household.

Tablescape photos by Abby Friedman and Heather Hamilton. Apple Cake baked by Dayna Tarabar.

Christopher Dock Rocks Their Community Service Day


Students from Christopher Dock paint a stair rail outside of the Montgomeryville Impact Thrift StoreOn October 5th,Charlene Rauch, an English teacher at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, and seven students spent the day volunteering at the Montgomeryville Impact Thrift Store as part of their school’s Service Day. Spending the day at Impact Thrift provided the students the opportunity to act as vital members of the community, to share their resources, while creating a very meaningful social exchange between the students and staff members.

A student from Christopher Dock prices Bric-a-Brac at Impact Thrift Store MontgomeryvilleThe students helped to beautify the store by painting a platform, landing and staircase. They processed and priced donations within the Bric-A-Brac and Domestics departments. They smiled.  They joked. They shared. They had a ball.  It was hard to tell that they were doing work at all.

According to Rauch, “It’s all about giving back and being kind,” she said. “Eventually, the students are going to live in this community. They need to understand how it works.

students from Christopher Dock assist in Impact Thrift Montgomeryville domestics processing department

It was a pleasure working with the group of enthusiastic, personable students who exemplified the fact that service is an important part of Christopher Dock’s school, curriculum and culture.~Tamika Miller

Texas Roadhouse Makes Impact LIVE a Little Sweeter


It’s that time of year again, bummer.Corporate logo for Texas Roadhouse Restaurant

Kids have traded in their fun-filled frolicking summer days for cooler weather, pencils, paper and homework. And while they may not be ready to fully hit the books just yet, you can help make their transition a little sweeter.

Texas Roadhouse is partnering with Impact Thrift Stores to make sure that students have a full belly, and a “full”-filling school year. How? By catering a special reward luncheon for school leadership teams that participate in Impact Thrift’s Impact LIVE! Leadership program.

Impact LIVE!  is an in-school Leadership Program teaching students how to organize a collection drive event at their school, as if it were their very own business. Students experience a real-world approach to creating business plans, launching marketing campaigns, and planning all of the logistical aspects of their event. The program includes a field trip to Impact Thrift Stores to participate in fun recycling, repurposing projects. Students learn more about reducing-re-using-recycling waste, and making a green impact on the community; while supporting local charities and inspiring others to do the same. Click here to learn more about Impact LIVE!

Thanks to Texas Roadhouse, Impact LIVE!  leadership teams will be able to enjoy a delicious luncheon prepared from their kid’s meals of all-beef hot dogs, and mini-cheeseburgers, etc. Students will surely have a satisfying meal that’s A+-worthy.

Through the Impact Live Leadership Program your child can make a positive impact on local communities and savor a meal that’s “best in class”. For info on how your school or youth organization can participate, contact Tamika Miller at Impact Thrift Stores!