Tag Archives: Iowa

From Winter Parkas to Shorts

When the temperature hits 50 on the bank sign here in Iowa, we do not hesitate for one tiny second to go from this:

winter parka in Iowa

to this:

spring shorts

But are you prepared?

Other than mentally ready to  shed the layers and layers of organic cotton, denim, wool and fleece you’ve grown accustom to assembling day after day for what seems like an eternity now, is your closet ready?

This week, we are celebrating everything that is SHORTS.

shorts in spring

All of our locations have an abundance of trendy, new to you shorts at prices that will allow you to get all of your favorite brands for far less than you’d pay at the mall.

Got $20?

I think it’s safe to say that you could pick up 2-4 pairs of name-brand shorts for just that and nothing more.

shorts in spring

SO …

Go get your spray tan on and head into Stuff!

{I’m no weather man, but warmer temps are definitely on their way}

{ all pics courtesy of College Fashionista }


Staff Assemble Knock-Out DIY T-Shirt Scarves


These three lovelies from our Cedar Rapids crew were inspired to buy 25 cent t-shirts from our store and turn them into fabulous upcycled scarves!

Emily (left, 2 years on the team), chose to fashion a lime-green spaghetti scarf… nice choice!

Steph (middle, 3 years on the team), went with a two-tone ruffle scarf… love the colors!

And Jamie (right, 2 years on the team), powered out an awesome combination of the braided and spaghetti scarf … are those wooden beads I see in there?

Seriously girls, I am impressed!  And inspired!  

{ and a little jealous, I might add }

Did I mention they recycled t-shirts they purchased from the quarter bins at our store?

Check out this link to get a little know how.



{ p/c My Blessed Life }

Have you made an upcycled t-shirt scarf?  We’d love to see it!

Happy Weekend!


Misfit Chairs

mismatched chairs1

I have eight mismatched chairs around my dining room table.

Don’t get me wrong, this is exactly what I wanted, but they all look like this and BORING!

So I think it’s time to mix it up, a good project during Holiday break,

but I can’t decide which way to go { all one color or different }??

Here’s some inspiration for my misfit chairs:

yellow chairs 2

{ p/c A Beautiful Mess }

red chairs

{ p/c Dreams & Happy Things }

turquoise chairs

{ p/c Better Homes & Gardens }

mismatched chairs

{ p/c Never Without }

What do you think??

If this has inspired you to get yourself a series of super cool misfit chairs,

we { Stuff Etchave OPTIONS!

Check it out:

chair Collage

This is a tiny sampling of what I found in our Coralville location, and the other four have a whole lot more.

Even misfit chairs need a home for the holidays. 🙂

Happy Monday!

Iowa Artist: Isabel Bloom

isabel bloom

Do you know Isabel Bloom?

Well, maybe you don’t know her … I don’t know her either, but I wish I did.

Maybe you are familiar with her work?

isabel bloom violet

{ This is Violet.  She is my favorite. }

Being born and raised in Iowa, and a fellow artist, I have a special place in my heart for Isabel Bloom and just want to share some details about her that I find fascinating.

Isabel Scherer Bloom

  • born in Galveston, Texas, in 1908.
  • moved to Davenport, Iowa, in 1909 and remained there for the rest of her life.
  • original education was in dressmaking and design.
  • started attending the Stone City Art Colony in 1932.
  • studied under Grant Wood.
  • met her future husband, John Bloom (also an artist), while at the Colony.
  • created and starred in a children’s program at the Davenport WOC television station for several years called “Make Believe” ( she made all the sets )
  • her figurines are crafted from the locally available materials of concrete and river stone.
  • she sculpted in their basement studio in her spare time, mixing her own cement with a shovel.
  • got her business started by submitting several concrete pieces to shops in Chicago
  • Hoops, a garden shop on Michigan Avenue, was the first American retail outlet for the Isabel Bloom figurine line.
  • by the early 60’s, she quickly outgrew her basement and rented studio space in an abandoned ice cream factory.
  • she maintained a studio, which became her shop, on Brown Street in the Village of East Davenport until 1981.
  • Bloom sold the shop to a group of Quad-Cities businessmen who expanded the retail chain on a national scale. The original storefront is still a staple of its quaint shopping district.
  • She continued to advise and promote the figurine company until her death at age 93 in 2001.

Living here in Iowa, we are fortunate to have access to an abundance of Isabel Bloom figurines.  Shoot, it’s practically a staple in the gardens & homes of local residents.

We are also extremely fortunate to receive several pieces on consignment at all of our Stuff locations.  At any given time, you can walk into our Davenport store and find at least a dozen pieces for sale in the case.  The extra special, often retired pieces are featured in our “Silent Auction” – like this one currently available:

{ Girl With Bird,  1ft 7in tall  – isn’t she beautiful? }

Here’s a little sample of what else is currently available in the case at the Davenport Stuff Etc …

Thanks for letting me share!  Perhaps you are an Isabel Bloom fan too?


Star Picks for Fall

Inspired by the September issue of Bazaar Magazine …

Bazaar Magazine Extras

Bazaar Magazine Extras

Bazaar Magazine Extras

Our Cedar Rapids Stuff Etc put together their STAR PICKS for FALL 

Cedar Rapids Stuff Etc Star picks

Cedar Rapids Stuff Etc Star Picks

Cedar Rapids Stuff Etc Star Picks

And ALL of our picks are less than $19.99 each!

Reading Books is For Noobs

This was the latest statement from my only non-reading child (1 outta 4) …

I guess there’s always gotta be one, huh?

But the rest of us COMPLETELY disagree.

When I am reading a book, I get completely lost … transported.

I may be firmly planted in Iowa, but I can travel the globe, and sometimes even time,  when I read a book.  I am inspired by other’s heroic adventures or stories of those who came before us.  And I am moved by the sheer romance of relationships, journeys, and experiences between the pages, cover to cover.

A book is an excellent escape … a welcomed silence in a world of chaos.

I feel a little empty, a kind of sadness when I finish a great book .. in a way that resembles mourning the loss of a good friend that I may never see again but will always be a part of me.

It warms my heart to see my kids reading.  To hear them giggle to themselves because something they read was funny.  And I love it when they ask if they can read just one more page or one more chapter before they turn out the light.

I guess if this makes me/us ‘noobish’, then so be it.

Besides, I think noobish is sexy…

I encourage you to read at least one good book this summer.

I’m anxious to hear what you’re currently reading or would recommend.

And if you have kids, I encourage you to get your child signed up for the Stuff Etc Summer Reading Kid’s Program.  It’s a discount punch card that earns them a punch each time they purchase books and when they’ve reached ten punches they receive a free gift from Stuff Etc!  Pick one up today at your nearest Stuff Etc location and let the reading begin.  Click here for more details.

Giving Back in June

Part of the Stuff Etc culture is giving back to the communities in which we serve.

Each month Stuff Etc chooses a local non-profit organization (or two, sometimes three, this month four) to feature in their stores to help raise awareness and much-needed funds.

In JUNE, we are sponsoring four very different but worthy organizations.

In Coralville & Iowa City, we are featuring 4Cs.

4Cs Community Coordinated Child Care promotes the well-being of children by assisting families, child care providers, employers and others with their child care needs. We address challenges to the community’s child care system and serve as a resource for the development of new programs.

  • We help parents find occasional child care (short-term care, typically provided by University of Iowa students in the family’s home).
  • 4Cs Home Ties Child Care Center provides free, temporary child care for families facing serious life issues.
  • Crisis Child Care of Johnson County provides short-term, emergency child care when families facing crisis are not able to provide regular care.
  • We provide support to Johnson and Washington County early childhood educators in developing professional, child-centered programs. This support includes, but is not limited to: state regulations, nutrition, child development and behavior, infant care, and meeting quality indicators.
  • We provide professional development and consultations to center and home-based child care providers.
  • We administer the Child and Adult Food Program (CACFP) to home-based child care programs in Johnson County.

In Cedar Rapids, we are featuring Bridgehaven.
Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center has been serving the greater Cedar Rapids area for over 25 years. Our services are at no cost to the patient, so there is no need to worry about billing or the hassle of insurance paperwork. You can feel comfortable knowing we do not benefit financially from your decisions.  All services are private and confidential. Bridgehaven does not offer abortion services or abortion referrals. 
We provide: Pregnancy Testing, Ultrasound, and Options Information; Post-Abortion Recovery and Support; Earn While You Learn Program; and Relational and Sexual Health Education.

In Waterloo, we are featuring The House of Hope.

The House of Hope is a Christian based organization under the direction of Christian Community Development. It is a two-year transitional housing program for homeless, single mothers and their children. The mothers are generally between the ages of 18 and 25 and the children are usually newborn to 8 years old. Those who apply to the program live well below the poverty level.

During the transition time, women receive support, guidance and assistance with employment, education and life skills. Safe housing, food, clothing, one-on-one counseling, community referrals and assistance in locating appropriate childcare is also provided for the women. Women are required to work and/or attend school full-time. They are also required to attend in-house groups and meet weekly with a case manager. With two years of support, guidance and stability, women are ready to make the needed changes in their lives and become self-sufficient individuals.

In Davenport, we are featuring Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

The promise of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.

Since its inception in 1990, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® – Quad Cities has raised in excess of $4.9 million towards the fight against breast cancer. Unlike many other charities, up to 75% of the proceeds stay here locally in our eight-county service area to provide mammograms, ultrasounds, and prostheses for women who cannot afford them. The money raised also funds programs educating the entire community about breast cancer. Up to twenty-five percent of the Race proceeds are sent to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in Dallas, Texas to fund national breast cancer research and project grants.

This weekend is a WIN/WIN for both the shopper and the featured charity! Donate a DOLLAR at the registers when checking out and in return, you will receive 20% off your entire purchase of full-priced items Friday, Saturday and Sunday – June 1 thru June 3rd.

And all month-long, be sure to toss in your loose change, maybe a dollar or two, into the umbrellas when you shop our stores.

Every penny that is collected is donated to the featured organizations each month.

Thank you in advance for your support of this ongoing effort made by Stuff Etc to help our local organizations – organizations that never waiver in their support and give so much for the residents of our communities.

The Ultimate Accessory

Is it safe to say that a designer handbag is a woman’s ultimate accessory?

I wouldn’t.  But my sister would … FOR! SURE!

One time I went to remove her handbag from a chair so that I might actually sit down … in a chair …  that I thought she was “saving” for me.  WRONG!

It was a chair that was being saved for her purse. And I quickly got a lesson in all the “bad mojo” that can occur from sitting a handbag such as hers on the floor.  Who knew?

Apparently a whole lot of other women know, because every where you look – on the street, magazines, online,  etc – there is always attention being given to “the bag”.  I have actually witnessed women stopping other women just to compliment a handbag and ask to touch it.  Who are these women?

They are our consignors.  AND our shoppers!

Check out these designer beauties that you can find RIGHT NOW in our stores:

{ at Coralville }

(cream– Fossil $59.99; tan – Coach $69.99; red– Gianni Bini $59.99)

{ at Davenport }

(red– David Pilner $39.99; gold – Coach, in silent auction, bids start at $75)

(both – Coach – in silent auction, bids start at $90 (silver-NEW) & $75 (blue)

{ at Iowa City }

(Stuart Weitzman, $65)

{ at Cedar Rapids }

{ at Waterloo }

(  spring floral , AMI , $16.99 )

And there is WAY more where those came from!

Baby sister … I’m thinking of you when I see that Betsey Johnson bag!

{ sshhh … don’t tell, but  I’m secretly crushing on that red Pilner … who knew?! }

Click here to find our five Stuff Etc locations!

Happy Weekend

I am overwhelmed with excitement that this weekend is Daylight Savings Time!

” spring ahead “

Every time I hear “spring ahead” in reference to daylight savings time, it’s like I’m driving along a long and dreary road and suddenly there’s a gigantic, happy road sign alerting me that Spring is just ahead … and this makes me smile.

I. Love. Spring.

Everything starts to turn green and the earth is renewed once again.

Flowers.  Fresh smell of dirt being plowed.   Rain showers.

Warm sunshine.  More daylight at the end of the day.

Did I say how excited I am?

Are you ready?

Check out the next 7 day forecast here in Iowa:

AAAHHHHHhhhh…  I can feel it already!

Hope you all have a Happy Weekend …

and don’t forget…

spring ahead!

Help us Give Back: March

“It’s easier to build STRONG CHILDREN then to repair broken adults.”    ~ Frederick Douglass

This month, Stuff Etc is working to help build strong children.  Please help us!

There are umbrellas hanging at the registers of all of our locations ready to collect your loose bills and change.  The first weekend of the month, THIS WEEKEND to be exact, we are offering a 20% discount on all full-priced purchases when you make a $1 donation.

It’s a win/win!

Our Iowa City, Coralville & Cedar Rapids locations are supporting:


{courtesy of The Daily Iowan, Jan 2011} Iowa City native Angie Jordan created Children of Promise — a mentor program for kids who have a parent on parole, on probation, or in prison — in 2008, when she was only 22. She had a dream of having an effect on kids who may not have many positive role models.

While studying anthropology and psychology at the University of Iowa, she said, she had many experiences in social work that gave her a passion for kids with difficult family lives.

 This led to her interest in helping children who grow up with parents in the corrections system, who are more likely to have problems with the law themselves. Children who have a parent in prison are five times more likely to be incarcerated than their peers, according to Women’s Prison & Home Association Inc.

All young people have the potential to succeed in life and contribute to society, but many do not get the support they need to thrive. Nearly half of the U.S. population of youth between 10 and 18 years of age live in situations that put them at risk of not living up to their potential. Without intervention by caring adults, they must navigate complex life situations and challenges on their own, leaving them vulnerable to poor decisions that can undermine their futures.

We at Children of Promise believe that we can help kids and youth by increasing the protective factors they have in their lives. By providing youth with caring adults to build relationships with, exposing them to positive community activities, and educating them about healthy life decisions, we believe that we can help to reduce the impact of negative factors like family history of incarceration, single parent homes, and various forms of transition.

“What’s cool about mentoring is you get to create a relationship based on reciprocity,” Jordan said. “So whatever you put into it, the kid just gives back. I’ve learned so much where sometimes I feel like I’m the protégé.”  The program currently has 35 matches, but it needs more mentors for unmatched children (there are hundreds of at-risk kids in Linn, Johnson and Jones counties needing matches).

Click here to get more involved with Children of Promise. 

 Our Davenport & Waterloo locations are supporting:

JR ACHIEVEMENT OF EASTERN IOWA (Waterloo)                                & JR ACHIEVEMENT OF THE HEARTLAND (Davenport)

{courtesy of the Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, May 2011} Teanna Steward nervously smiled as Junior Achievement of the Heartland honored her as its one millionth student served this school year.

Teanna, a seventh grader at Rock Island’s Edison Junior High, said Junior Achievement has given her a different
perspective on life and better prepared her for the road ahead.

Junior Achievement of the Heartland has been serving the Quad-Cities and surrounding communities since 1956. It covers 24 counties in eastern Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin, impacting more than 56,000 K-12 grade students this school year.

Nationally, it’s the 19th largest area in number of students served and fifth largest in market penetration.

Bobbie Grace, Teanna’s mother, said Junior Achievement helped her daughter mature and become more responsible. “It truly had a (positive) effect on her,” Ms. Grace said. “It has shown her what responsibility is about, money, and understanding finances. It really gave her a positive attitude and helped
her in the classroom with her grades. Because of Junior Achievement, Teanna “loves to mentor and help other children and is respectful of adults,” Ms. Grace said.

Kristen Holmberg, Teanna’s seventh-grade consumer economics teacher, says “Everyone needs to learn how to balance money. Students have learned parents have bills to pay, and they learn that when mom says not on this payday, they know why.”

Click here to get more involved with Jr Achievement of Eastern Iowa 

Click here to get more involved with Jr Achievement of the Heartland