Thursday, December 30, 2010

Earthquakes, Fiber-optics and Other Unrelated Things

I awoke early this morning, made my coffee and started to clean the tornado-magnitude mess of a kitchen. Minutes later I felt a rumble, vibrations and heard the dogs barking. It lasted a few seconds and one part of my brain reasoned that a large truck was in the driveway, but the other thought, "Hmm, earthquake...?"

Yes, we had a 3.8 mag earthquake in Indiana today. This happens infrequently, but it is thought the central Midwest will one day experience the "big one". I am now closer to it in KY, but I felt one today in Northern IN.

My mom called this morning and was excited because a heavy holiday village piece she found at the Sal Army earlier this week (on a thrift shopping spree we did together) for 75% is a fiber-optic spectacular holiday show. She had found a plug on the bottom and tried a cord from another village building and found the whole thing is lights and action. She said our shopping trip was the most fun she had shopping in a long while. I converted her to thrift shopping back when I was in high school. She now goes on her own (or with a friend) and loves it.

I have a much larger post to finish about my master bedroom make-over. I just need to stop being lazy and upload the photos.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Scratch Line 1

(Bad photo, but almost everything in the photo is Hand-me-down, thrifted, or found.)
So, for my first WIP completion*, I started rearranging our master bedroom after being inspired by her arrangement and New Year goals. A while back I was pining for my sunny California days at the ocean and found myself despising the inland Midwest, craving a bit of salty sea cottage life. On Catalina Island (and I will totally go there when I win that proverbial lottery), I fell in love with the tiny, colorful cottages. One had a glass door with encrusted bits of sea life (e.g. seastars, seaweed, shells). Completely ignoring any sort of personal space of the owners (who weren't there anyway), I stared and stared at the lovely things and even took a photo (and will post when I find the right card). I so wanted to be living in that great cottage.

A few months later (winter 2009-10) I started spotting sea related items in the thrifts. I started to envision a room somewhere in my house that would at least attempt to give me that sunny calm feeling of a seaside cottage. I picked these items up and stored them away. DH painted the bedroom (at my request) a light blue and it made me think of the sea. I found (in my own house) a chenille bedspread in white-and it made me think of the sea. I already had two giant conch shells in the sun room and various sea related tchotchkes scattered about the abode. I gather them all up and made a plan to turn my bedroom into my seaside cottage escape. I could at least pretend, right?

Fast forward, and I do mean fast forward, a year later and I am finally getting around to the design! Actually, this is much better than my usual years (or never) approach. I didn't take a "before" photo (sadly in a way), but I will take after ones and post when I am through (Goal: Get this done before I head back down to KY). First order of business was moving the giant furniture around. I hate the furniture. We bought my MIL's Sleep Number bed this past summer and she "threw-in" the giant, circa 1980's furniture. It is very high quality, solid wood, but ugly, so damn ugly! It is not my style in any shape or form. It is also not the right size for the tiny room we call the 'master'. However, it is functional and has a lot of room for storage, so it stays for now. Eventually, if I keep it, I will repaint it or something. I don't like the finish or the brass handles or...OK, I digress.

I puzzled the dresser and gianormous chest of drawers into a new layout and I think it is a bit more tolerable. The room is one of those narrow rectangles and there really isn't much more I can do. Next, I made the bed. Don't laugh-this a rare event! I put all the white linens I could find (which actually translate as turning a comforter to the white side, placing a white handmade quilt on top and topping it off with the chenille spread). I put one of the sea-related themed pillows on it. I have plans to make some more from graphics found on The Graphics Fairy and I have one more found pillow I plan to alter (another post). Already the room has a salty feel.

(thrifted "angry" sea print)

Now everyone that knows me, knows I am not a "sunny", "cutesy" type. I like the dark, the weird, the mysterious. Yesterday, I went back to a ST. Vinnie's thrift I had visited with my mom on Monday to get an item I thought about in the night (don't tell me you have never had this happen to you!!). After retrieving the vintage wooden ironing board ($1!), I thought I would glance at the mountain of picture frames they offered. Lo and behold, I found the perfect print (not in the best frame, but that is the fun of this project, right?) It is a vintage snapshot of an angry sea ($1) and I love it!
I have a few more projects in progress for the room (and will share these WIPs another post), but I am really happy how it all came together. It is the first time, in my adult life, I have managed a decorating "theme" beyond Christmas.
*One of my 2011 Goals
Linking to Apron Thrift Girl's "Thrift Share Monday"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Goal Challenge

I have already listed my 2011 Goals in the below post, but I wanted to participate in the challenge on ThriftCore. I hope to accomplish these goals in the New Year and I think her challenge is a great way to stay focused on not just the listing of goals, but on the doing of goals. So, here are some thoughts on how I plan to pursue my 2011 goal list.

1. Do not start major new projects and keep the ones I do start (or finish) focused on the ultimate goal of selling property up north and moving the family to KY. This will mean researching new schools (Louisville has some great public charter schools with a Montessori concentration) and neighborhoods to live. Maybe looking at some homes to buy vs. rent when the big move happens in the spring/early summer.

2. In the process of packing up the house, I plan to purge outgrown/outdated clothing, shoes, accessories, knick knacks, etc. I will discard/recycle/donate the broken items, the unfinished projects (that will never be finished), outgrown collections and toys. I will resell/gift/donate read books.

3. This one goes with number 2, but I plan to pack seasonal items with labels and proper groupings. Pack things I plan on moving in sturdy boxes with like items. I want to inventory music, movie, etc, collections. Find a permanent storage location for items. Along with this goal, I plan to make lists to help focus and accomplish goals. I want to go through our paperwork and shred old documents. I hope to create a financial plan we can realistically follow in 2011 (with a major focus on debt reduction!)

OK, here it is in a nutshell. I actually love this time of the year. The light returns, spring is around the corner (seasons fly in a flash, it seems) and I feel refreshed and refocused on what is important in my life.

Ode to New Year's Goals (2011)

(I just like this photo taken in Santa Monica!)

1. Get my family moved down to Kentucky!!!!

2. Purge the clutter, the broken, the out-grown, the unloved and unneeded.

3. Organize the rest.

4. Pay extra on the debts, less on unnecessary stuff.

5. Be creative, crafty, find art in what is around me.

6. Read more. Write more.

7. Exercise again. Find myself lost in nature. Eat better.

8. Try Ebay or Etsy. Or maybe just a yard sale.

9. Finish the Works-in-progress; begin no new ones without attempting to complete the old ones.

10. Photograph more...especially the family I want moved down to KY this year!

Ten simple goals with a whole lot of room for interpretation. In the past I have listed items under categories with sub-parts and specifics. It just didn't work for me. I need flexibility because my life is so wild, so uncooperative to the whole goal making process. I like my ten simple goals. All can be expanded and I hope to make my quarterly lists of "to-do's" and whatnot (this is where specific enters the picture), but as long as I stay focused on these ultimate goals, I can breath and feel I accomplished the bottom-line of "staying focused" in 2011.

I placed the largest goal at the top (in bold, ginormous letters). I need my boys back in my everyday life. I need to check homework and make cookies and take walks after work/school with them. I miss them terribly and the four-hour distance from them seems like I am on a different continent during the week. It has been a joy to be home this week and let them sleep next to me, watch movies together, read together. If you find yourself overwhelmed, wondering how in the H*ll you ended up a married mom of two (believe me when I say my Barbies of youth never had these goals in mind), separate yourself from them and the original focus will resurface stronger than you could ever imagine. Not that I recommend this method.

Moving to another state is going to be difficult. New schools, no extended family, new jobs (I am four months into mine), new home. I love KY and I think my boys (including Dh) will too, but it is a gamble. I hope I am not making bad decisions. I keep telling myself it is four hours only from grandmas and our hometowns (I mean it is not like we are moving to Paris or London or even Los Angeles!), but it is scary. The good kind of scary in many ways.

So, here is to New Years and the return of the light in the Northern Hemisphere!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

To Badly Quote a Legend

(Enesco 1978 bank found in Northern VA)

"Another year over and a new one just begun..."*

So, we managed to visit two family sides (his and mine), make cookies, open the kiddies presents (the Santa bubble is good for one more year) and that would be about it. The house is a mess of scattered toys and cardboard and all the waste I despise so much each year. I am sitting here sipping coffee (a locally roasted gift from a friend in ol' Louisville) and thinking about all I need to do today. I am too lazy to find my card reader and put up any photos of thrifty goodness**, but I have been totally digging all the lovely posts of folks' vintage holiday decor. I didn't decorate much this year (a tree with a scattering of ornaments, a few vintage santas here and there, a two nativity scenes). It was hard to get everything together with only the weekends home.

I have the next week off from work and I know it will fly by in a blink. I want to go thrifting with the Christmas money I get from DH's mom and may call my own mom to see if she wants to go too. I also need to return a double gift (yes, that would be me that bought two copies of the exact same toy for littlest-I didn't even notice when I wrapped them!) and I have Kohl's cash to blow before they expire (I really want one of those single cup coffee makers, but the K-cups are so expensive and wasteful. I can buy the reusable filter, but I use a thrifted percolator and it is not hard to use, so I keep thinking I don't want to spend the money on one. maybe I will thrift one!) Last, I really need to get my hair cut and painted.

Looking to the New Year, I need to get my family moved to KY. I miss them and want our life to be back to "normal" (oh, man, that is stretching it!) I need to get organized and our finances in order. The house is in need of repairs and cleaning (for the market) and I will have to purge some clutter (sniff, sniff). For the past few years, my main focus was on stockpiling for an emergency (the focus of my last blog was homesteading and hoarding emergency preparedness. I usually shop sales and such and put away things to a point we are set for 6 months to a year. Earlier this week, DH tells me we are down to two rolls of TP. What?! I looked all over (basement, closets, cupboards and, yes, we are out of TP). Because I am splitting time between two cities, I need to be better organized. I am the accountant of the family and it is up to me to make sure the boys and hubby are stocked with necessities.

On the old blog I always posted a list of New Year goals. I liked doing this (even though I rarely succeeded in meeting most of them! :), so I plan to do the same here. I also want to make a "Thrift Wish List" like I have seen on some favorite blogs. I need to focus (my theme for 2011 apparently) and realize the importance of necessity and change.

*John Lennon (of course!)
**OK, decided to put up one! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thrifty Monday: Blue Christmas Rendition

(Complete and unused bridge set)

Sigh. It is 9:18 already and I feel like I have done nothing at all today. OK, so I went to work today, finished last minutes gift-buying at the Liquor Barn (can't go wrong with Kentucky bourbon), and spent way too much money at the Goodwill across from the L-Barn, but, really, where does the time go?

This time of year is so hard for me. I can't stand the race of Christmas and the darkness gets to me. It is one of the reasons I celebrate Winter Solstice is that I so welcome the return of the light and feeling like my day has some length to it. Yes, the hours are the same (and in fact we "Fall back" right?), but the darkness makes me yearn for my (thrifted) gnome pajama bottoms and a warm bed starting at 5:30 pm!

And, back to the holiday race, why do we not gift all year long? I can't sit on gifts and it is why I am never organized enough to space my Xmas shopping out all year long. It is always on the resolution list, but never happens. I was stressing because three stores were out of something that goes with a gift for my mother, but then I thought how ridiculous my panic was considering the piece is not a "sale" item and will be available in the weeks following the holiday.

Both my husband and I received work bonuses this year (something that has not happened in three years). We indulged partly because we had this unbudgeted money and partly because I feel so much guilt at being away from my boys during the week (I will be so happy when we are together this again...hopefully this spring/early summer). I miss my kids so much. It was stupid, I know, but the sad thing is I feel we got so much less than when we used a smaller budget (is it me or is everything more expensive this year???)

So, with the New Year goal list making season almost on top of us (suffocating us, no doubt), I plan to tighten the belt, be more organized and get my family moved down to KY as soon as humanly possible. I'll post the list next week with the specifics. Sadly, one of the items will be less thrifting for me (with a side goal of selling off lots of my "junk") at least until some of the bills are paid off. It will be good to purge since we plan to rent a smaller place while we try to sell the Northern house and land. We will buy a new house only when the bills are tidy and manageable.

OK, enough with the downer talk. Seems a lot of us out there are thinking about new years and new goals. Here is some thrifty fluff from tonight's scores:

(Cheese plate and dome)

(Set of 8 7 Tab glasses...dropped one in parking lot)

(Ok, so the Spotted Dick Pudding wasn't a thrifty find [container under it was], but I had to snatch it up for a friend last week at a Irish gift shop. It's a long story, but suffice to say it will have meaning to my dear friend...hopefully shared with a sense of humor! ;)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Reunited After All These Years

(Sorry for the blurry photos in post)
(A Thrifty Monday find give or take 15 years)

So, other than complaining about work (truly I am a lucky girl to have the job I have) and the cold (it is December in the South North so why am I bugging about it?) and the fact the holidays snuck up on us (ah, finally bought the last, crooked tree on the lot), I have found some time for thrifting. What I seem to be struggling with is updating this blog!

Although the extreme travel I have been doing (again with the work complaints!) is getting really old, I find time after hours to shop new locales. Last week, I found myself in the hills of West Virginia and let me tell you the thrifting is good!

I want to show you one of my favorite finds from last week, but first I have to tell you about a find from years ago (I believe 15+ years ago!) because I had one of those thrifting deja vu episodes and my heart nearly leaped out when I found a relative of the first find. The original one I found has a green lid and is stamped "Unipet Upjohn" (pictured above) on the bottom. It has these great pet graphics all around the bottom. Inside the lid is a bell ringer. When I found the first one back in the '90's, Ebay was a relatively new thing (funny, Google probably was too and Etsy was just a seed in someone's head). I could not find anything about it. I loved it anyway and moved it across many states where it currently sits in a china cabinet in Indiana.

Fast forward...I am walking the aisles of a new thrift last week when lo and behold my mystery jar's cousin (amber top instead of green) sits princely upon a dresser. I did the look-around and then gingerly picked up the jar. I turned it over and sure enough the familiar "Unipet Upjohn" was on the bottom. Price: $1.99!

(Found... again!)

I have to say that, having forgotten about my other one a bit, I hadn't researched the jar in modern times. Through the magic of Google I have learned these jars were once a promotional item for pet vitamins in the 1960's. After the vitamins were gone, pet treats could be stocked in the jar and the you could even summon the pet for a treat using the ringer in the lid. Wow. The manufacturer of the promo item: McCoy!

Don't you wish items still came in (purposely manufactured) reusable and fun containers? Talk about being green before green was, well, green!