Saturday, December 31, 2011

And We Didn't Die of Botulism

Tonight the man and I tried the infused cherry vodka I made 04/2010 (or at least this is what the hastily scrawled marker said on the Mason jar lid). I vaguely remember throwing sweet cherries we picked in Michigan into jars and adding 100 proof vodka. A little shaking for a few days and then a long, forgotten ride on a shelf in the basement, Sweet Cherry Vodka was made. I think I was actually suppose to make a syrup after a couple of days of infusion and properly preserve it, but (if I remember correctly I was planning to make a cordial), I begin a long, slow stumble to Louisville and a very hectic life and so many projects were banished into the crevices of a stressed out mind.

So, tonight I strained the cherries out and stared at the gorgeous magenta liquor. I put it in a recycled, clean bourbon bottle. Despite it's aesthetically pleasing appearance, I was scared to try it. I'm not sure why as I have been preserving my own food for years. Man came home, I showed him the cherry vodka and he picked it up and tried it. "Mmm...," he said. Then made himself a drink. I sipped a little and waited to see if the mixture was contaminated. Well, two hours later we are both still here and enjoying our drinks.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

12 for '12 for 12

12 for '12 for 12

Edited: I love the categories My Freezer is Full came up with and changed a couple of mine and added descriptions to each of my goal categories.

I like goals. I like challenges. I am horrible at accomplishing either one. I am an over-achieving procrastinator. I put off what I find disagreeable. I find a lot to be disagreeable. I am often unhappy with my "now". I am highly unorganized. I have an eye for details. I am often lost in the details. I am a perfect self-imperfectionist. I can be slightly OCD about things.

Current obsession: I am ready for a change. I need to reduce my debt, lose weight and apathy, balance my work/life ratio, volunteer, eat healthier and more local, purge crap I have accumulated, Buy Nothing New, clean and renew my environment, be mindful of my carbon footprint, work better, prepare for a rapidly changing world, be kinder to others, live more simply, be more satisfied...yeah, yeah, it is on and on. I am simply overwhelmed by all I really need to think, act and corral in my life. The best cliché I can come up with is the forest and trees one. I've really let my proverbial forest go all wild and dark and scary with gnarly, smog-choked trees and I'm having trouble seeing either one. Or something like it.

This next year, a brand spanking new 2012 one, I resolve to stay focused. I am going to challenge myself to a set of 12 goals in 2012 in each of the 12 months-hence 12 for '12 for 12 Challenge. I am going to be talking a lot about these goals (thought I would warn you) and making myself think a lot about these goals. By writing out my accomplishments, I can hold myself accountable, push myself to achieve a higher quality of life. At least that is the undermining purpose of this challenge. At the end of each month, I plan to summarize the accomplishments.

All the goals are broadly defined categories for the flexibility of detail. Some will (hopefully) carry over into each of the months (like, for examples, the ones involving weight loss and debt reduction), others will sprout, bloom and seed all in the same 30 or so days. The fun is I get to create the details each month for the category. By the end of the year (and providing the Mayans weren't on to something about this 2012 calendar ending thingamadoodle), I hope I can end this challenge having actually completed a set of goals (and all the great things that will be part of the fall out of actually accomplishing something active in my life and creating healthy habits). To my abstract mind, um forest, it seems like a healthier means of finding one's trees.

Learn: This can be accomplished in many different ways: read, take a class, participate
Complete: Borrowing this one from Fullfreezer because I, too, have a million and one uncompleted projects
Move: Exercise, dance, hike. I need to lose weight. I need to refind my energy.
Sustain: The planet, my children, my job, my health, my life, myself
Plan: Plan for the future, plan for change, plan on doing things in ways that allow me to achieve a better quality of life and living...
Nourish: Also borrowed from Fullfreezer (used to be "Eat")-I like the idea of nourishment for the body vs. food. It also extends to mind and soul.
Create: Craft, relationships, ideas, gardens, etc.
Grow: gardens, food, children, myself
Observe: photograph, visit new places, watch for birds, see the changing seasons, etc.
Budget: mostly money, but other things can be placed here as well.
Play: Do something fun. Play soccer with my boys, go have a beer now and then, go to a concert.
Love: I really need improvement here. I need to allow myself to love unconditionally, let old grudges go, forgive, love myself.

And there you have it, simple and flexible, a goal plan even this challenge-challenged girly can achieve. Right? If not, even just sitting around watching The Graduate for the umpteenth time can fit in there somewhere. It's fool-proof, fail-safe!

Happy New Year!

(and THANKS for reading my blog this year!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Goal Kick

Sorry to bore you with all this goal, goal, goal, blah stuff. I am not even going to bother with a photo tonight. So, it occured to me tonight that we seem to be at a very cherished part of the year: The New One! Many cultures celebrate New Year as strongly as the Christmas, etc. holidays this time of year. In many parts of the world, New Year means renewal, a time to cleanse our surroundings, both home and body, as well as our minds and souls. It includes feasts and oranges and settling the scores of old years and ringing in the new.

For the past 10 years or so I have created a list of goals for myself to achieve in the given New Year (like many). I am always so full of hope at this point. Then, life gets busy and messy and I fall back into bad habits and the goal list gets ignored (like many).

I've heard it takes 20 days to create a new habit. I need to test this theory, I really do!

So, I am still working on my goal list for 2012, but I have an idea to incorporate all my hodge-podge lists I've made this year into a neat "12 for '12 for the 12". Basically, I will make a broad set of 12 action goals: Play, Cook, Read, Learn, Save etc. and then I can focus on my 41 goals as they fit a category (or two). Fuzzy? I'll explain it better in a couple of days. Its part of the challenges I am setting for myself in 2012. Other than trying to continue on with Etsy and the occasional fix, thrifting is really not going to be much of a focus (as I am planning to do a "buy nothing" year to meet some financial goals). I hope you continue reading. I thought about making a new blog for my self-challenge (and may still), but for now it is not always easy to keep up with this one. As Van pointed out about gardening and too much too soon, I want to set steps I can actually achieve (not overwhelm myself further-2011 was the Year of Overwhelm) and realistically I am not the habitual blogger I was in my former years. However, I really want to record my progress, keep a diary of my steps towards my goals. I find that useful.

Until 1/1/12, I am checking in on my 12 before 12 progress. Um, I am trying...really, I am! :)
12 8 by 2012:

1. Finish all my case files (work thing) -in progress (please, please let me get them done this week!)

2. Bake Christmas cookies (hopefully this weekend)

3. File, shred, or recycle 2011 paperwork (at least Jan-Nov)-in progress (almost done)

4. Send package to friend in AU (hang head in shame-it's been months)-ei, ei, ei

5. Clean garage (and to borrow Van's word: BE BRUTAL)-no, too cold-what was I thinking? :( I think I will replace "garage" with "apartment" and I am making headway there! :)

6. Paint and decorate Lyndon's castle (this one better be crossed off by the 25th!) badly

7. File my piles of papers in my office (work thing)-in progress

8. Complete Individual Development Plan by due date (work thing)-must finish by Friday (it's due!)

9. List ten new items on the Etsy site. -probably not going to happen, but I will try Saturday.

OK, you made it to the end of my 12 before 12 before 12 for the '12 for the 12. Thank you for reading, My Friends!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Looking to the '12


I wish I could ask for the gift of time for the holidays. I would pass it around like cookies, I really would!

OK, so I have mentioned a few times I used to keep a "simple living" (kind of), "homesteading" (kind of) blog and, despite giving the blog up, I have kept many of my interest in the area of urban farming (or small scale farming since I eventually bought a small farm and moved out of the city). Since moving to Louisville (part time...ah, who can keep up with all of this!), I have wanted to become active in urban gardening/farming again. I did plant vegetables in the neglected flower beds at my apartment this past year and have had many stimulating conversation with my co-worker about urban farming, but because I was getting used to my job, all the blessed travel, and just re-adjustment of a life, I did not do much beyond this one simple act. Now, all of this is about to change...

First, I joined a grassroots group dedicated to this endeavor and will be attending my first meeting next month. Oh, actually in February, I guess, because, yes, I have to travel for work...again.

Anyway, I also joined a urban gardening group in my blighted home city (the one I moaned about a month or so ago when I learned my property value had nose-dived into the dirt). The group seems to be struggling (from my perspective), but I have offered my help in the form of passing along ideas from the more successful group in Louisville or to provide a blog post now and again. I am excited!

Do any of you belong to a grassroots group dedicated to city revitalization or gardening? I'd love to hear about it! I am so looking forward to spring this year and, once again, getting my fingernails dirty!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Giveaways are the Best

Quick post because I am getting ready to leave for my 4 hour trip back to KY. Thought I would boost my chances (well, maybe...I mean if I tell you about this one and you enter I supopose I am lessoning my chances, but how can I not!). Check out Vintagegoodness' great book giveaway!

Everyone should have a copy of Creepy-ass Dolls for their collection! (I know I really want it! :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


~Insert photo of happy puppy~

I seem to come and go here on the ol' blog. Mostly, as I have stated over and over, it has to do with a high-demand job and all the blessed traveling I do (both for a living and because of my seemingly transient lifestyle I have made for myself). Sometimes, I just don't blog unless it has to do with the thrifting habits (of which have been kind of sparse). I figure most of my readers are here for that bit and don't care to hear me blab about the so-called grey areas of my life.

Yes, I am in another grey area. This will be your only warning.

First, I have to say I am deeply concerned with Global Warming. I believe, as a once scientist, that we are in an environmental quandry. We are also in an economic quandry, as we all know, and combined, history is really making its mark on our backs.

I bring up the first because yesterday and today the temps in KY were nearly 70. It is mid-December! (And, I really hate to admit this to y'all, but I loved it!)

The other quandry is also a big complication. I have hinted about my career, but let's just say I am a "servant" and leave it at that. For the past few months, rumours have been flying all about us and whether we will have jobs through next year. Some of my very good friends-people I used to work with before moving to KY-are losing their jobs (well, some get to chose if they will transfer to a new location). This week I heard my own position is facing the same plight (transfer or lose the job).

Truth be told (and rumors are true) I will lose my job because I cannot transfer [again]. Four hours away from my children is far enough. I could not even fathom being able to only see them once or less per month due to distance. Sadly, because I have to travel so much for the job as it is, I have been unable to move them to stay mostly with me (husband still has his job up north and in-laws provide care). It really has been the hardest year of my life (and I am not just speaking figuratively).

Economically, losing my job will be hard on us. We have become used to my higher salary and the job perspective is not so sunny in No. Indiana. I would really have to be creative in finding a way to make ends meet. I sometimes wonder (especially on sleepless nights) if I will find another job in my field. I am full of doubt.

Of course, all could be rumors and only rumors, but time (as in the next few months) shall tell. i really just needed a kind ear to listen to my worries. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WTF! Tuesday, I mean Wednesday

I spotted this lovely frame some time ago at a Louisville Goodwill. Yes, a high quality, tasteful gift for that naughty female poodle in your life! Or perhaps a place to just keep a photo of your X. Of course, it would work wonders for someone with the initials B-I-T-C-H. And, last, but certainly nor least, don't buy it, but instead prop it up on a shelf near that oblivious woman who blocks the thrift aisles and stares for what seems like hours at a chipped, scary faced clown knick knack that belongs on the next installment of WTF! Tuesdays....So many options!

Check out more thrifting horrors at Sir Thrift a Lot!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12 X 12

I can so relate to this post and challenge started by Oh, Hello Friend (but found via Van's Thriftcore). I've posted my 41 goals a couple of times and have really been trying hard to accomplish them by next Oct, but I am only making slow progress. I need to jump start my goal list a bit. And, give myself a little morale booster as well.

The point of this challenge is to actually cross everything off a list (I think or at least this is what I am taking from this challenge. I, too, am a serial, procrastinating list maker). I have many, many items I need to get done before the end of the month (and New Year!) and, unfortunately, most them center around my ever-busy job.

On top of that, I actually made a sale on the Etsy site (and it made it safe and sound to its happy new home), so I guess I will stick with it a bit longer. I have been stockpiling junk for years anyway, no, let's be honest here, I am beginning to see signs of hoarding!*

*Inserting footnote in center: Not the icky kind anyway!

I need to purge, lighten my load a bit, clear the physical stuff, so the all the other stuff can calm the F down in my life. Plus, I really want to showcase my favorite finds, but I seem to have lost a direction in the chaos that has been 2011 (and the last part of 2010).

Sadly, I just discovered this challenge, so I am not going to disappoint myself by making a list of twelve I will in no way shape or form accomplish in 23 days. S0, I am making a list of 8. Seems like a nice, round number.

Speaking of numbers, and a bit of an aside, I have guessed the winning Powerball two weekends in a row! And, of course, I have never bought a ticket! :)

Ok, seems I am procrastinating again...

12 8 by 2012:

1. Finish all my case files (work thing)

2. Bake Christmas cookies (hopefully this weekend)

3. File, shred, or recycle 2011 paperwork (at least Jan-Nov)

4. Send package to friend in AU (hang head in shame-it's been months)

5. Clean garage (and to borrow Van's word: BE BRUTAL)

6. Paint and decorate Lyndon's castle (this one better be crossed off by the 25th!)

7. File my piles of papers in my office (work thing)

8. Complete Individual Development Plan by due date (work thing)

9. List ten new items on the Etsy site.

(Yep, I added a ninth goal! Work seemed too heavily represented as usual).

Wish me luck! (Thanks, Van, for helping me find this challenge!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yea, I just posted, but...

Wigwam Village #2 in Cave City, KY

OMG! This is going on the Goal List! I have got to spend a weekend at this place. And, the best part, IT'S IN KENTUCKY and less than an hour from Louisville!

The Wigwam Village caught my eye on Eartha Kitsch's blogroll. I found Eartha's blog via Rae's great blog and Rae constantly sparks my interest in something (I think I am referring to that yummy looking pumpkin monkey bread at the moment!)

Not really Wigwams, but wonderful heated/cooled Teepees!

Dollhouses Castles

A week ago, Kim K. at Musings with Kim showed her darling gingerbread house she made for her little girl. I fell in love and decided I was going to make one for my nieces Hattie and Harper. So, when I found a few minutes to spare I scoured Michaels looking for one of those unfinished house shaped CD holders...with no luck. I was thinking I need to remember to put this on the mental thrift list (I couldn't even find them online!) I decided this will be next year's project (and little Harper will be closer to three and more inclined to play with it).

While at Michaels, however, I stumbled upon this unfinished wooden castle! Because I am the mom to boys, this is the perfect Christmas project for me to make for them. Ironically, I had just mentioned to my mother-in-law that I wished they made dollhouses for boys as Lyndon loves playing with the one I thrifted earlier this year. I am so happy to have found this castle.

(Disclaimer: I don't believe in boys can't play with girls toys and vice versus, my brother played Barbies with me plenty of times in our youth and I with his Hotwheels. It's sad we divide our society into sexist categories at such young ages. School, unfortunately, seems to have brought the societal notion that some toys are only for girls and others for boys into our household-much to my chagrin).

So, next week I am going to quickly transform it into a proper place for knights and dragons. Hopefully, I'll have a finished product to show you (I borrowed that photo above as I am traveling this week for work. Check out the finished one!)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hey, What's for Dinner, Mom (Giveaway)

Hey What's For Dinner

I was just curious? Do any of you check out my blogroll? See, I have some really fabulous blogs listed over there (and I am constantly adding new ones I stumble upon). You should check them out. In fact, note to self, I have some to add. Ah, but I digress.

I want to bring your attention to one in particular. See, the wonderful blog is celebrating a Blogoversay. Coincidentally, I also just had my one year blogoversary for Lime Kiln and her blog was one of the first one I added to the Roll: Hey, What's for Dinner, Mom. Laura not only thrifts, she cooks, she homesteads, she raises boys, she writes and...she does all of this in Alaska! The snowy, cold part of the United States in case you are lost on some tropical warm island somewhere and forgot. (I bet she laughs and laughs when we lower 48 start moaning about cold and snow in January-I know I would!!)

Laura also has some great linky projects: The Penny Worthy Project & Just Another Meatless Monday (to name a couple of my favorites). I have saved so many of her recipes to try.

Now, I know you do not need any more incentive to check out her blog, Blogroll it, social media it, follow it, etc., but there is more... Laura is giving away a KitchenAid Mixer to honor her blog's birthday!! (And, I am not ashamed to say, I totally want the teal colored KitchenAid!)

(And, she is providing it all alone-it is not a paid endorsement!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekly Thrift Feed: Kermit Edition

(Kermit sings to a camel from Jerusalem)

This is going to rank up there with one of my favorite finds of 2011: Kermit! It's an original stuffed frog from 1976. By the way, have you seen the new Muppets Movie? We saw it on Black Friday and I highly recommend it if you are a vintage Muppets fanatic. Ah, the memories this film brought back...!

I have always loved vintage handmade items and this polyester patchwork puppy is no exception! He joins my other vintage Christmas pillows on the ugly hand-me-down couch (someday I will replace it. Sigh.)
Unfinished wooden Yule tree. I have grand plans for it...but you all have heard about my life and its busy-ness, so we'll see if I get to it this year.

Three small boxes of Shiny Brights. I am not telling the price because you all would be jealous. :)

A couple of cheapo animal story books. I love the pictures and plan to share them with you this week for Corey Moortgat's Lil' Vintage Story Books link party. She is a fabulous paper artist and I love her blog. I have a lot of vintage story books and have wanted to participate for some time. Here's my chance!

The other vintage story book. I probably had these as a youth as I loved anything animals (still do).

OK, just a glance of my weekly (or close to it) thrift feed. Sharing my vintage treasures at Her Library Adventures and possibly others (TBA).

Oh, and I have news! I sold my first item on my Etsy site: Flea Circus Star!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

41 Goals List Revisited (Dec)

Well, November flew. I don't believe I even glanced at my personal goal list last month, although I did manage to cross two items off (Etsy store created and the B12 injections started). I am behind on others (like, wasn't I going to make a thrifted recipe once a month? Will two items count in December?)

December's really here.In other words (John Lennon's actually), " Another year over and a new one just begun..." To be frank, I am just not really a winter fan. I despise the cold, the high heating bills, driving on icy roads, the constant dampness, the darkness. I tend to get a little melancholy this time of year (although, 2011 seems to have been an overall melancholy year for me due to many factors). That being said, I see a few items I need to focus on this month: working out (great for melancholy), reading, writing, the first two goals, the one where I don't let work pile up, and any other involving indoor activity. I mean I really doubt I will hike any state parks, hold a yard sale, or (truth be told) even get out much until spring (107 days and counting).

OK, here it is again...

1. Play with the boys more often
2. Record their lives (e.g. photo albums, scrapbooks, etc.)
3. Get out and make some friends (KY)
4. Be a tourist in my home place(s)
5. Plan a Nashville vacation with Hubby in Oct.
6. Plan to attend next year’s family reunion in VA (paternal side)
7. Pay down 25% of our debt
8. Purge at least 25% of our crap
9. Create an Etsy store or try selling (not buying!) on Ebay
10. …Or at least have a yard sale
11. Work out three times a week (my choice!)
12. Find the “choice” in things, not the chore
13. Prepare to move next summer to new apartment or house
14. Sell or keep renters in little house (rented)
15. Refinance little house
16. Attend one event in Louisville per month.
17. Take more photographs, print out these photographs
18. Learn to use the Camera (better)
19. Learn to artfully edit photographs
20. Walk/run a marathon next spring or summer
21. Finish the vintage camper by next summer
22. Read one new book per month (sad, I used to be such a reader)
23. Purge read, never-read-again books
24. Try listening to books in the car while traveling for work
25. Go to the dentist X2 (I’m late on my check-ups=friendly reminder to self)
26. Organize-leaving it vague on purpose (work and home)
27. Take lunch to work, eat at home mor
e28. Write again-anything!
29. Work on my blog, be diligent about posties, don’t pigeon hole your life
30. Don’t pigeon hole your life (warrants a repeating)
31. Learn a new craft32. Hike KY state parks
33. Get the B12 injections as suggested by dr (maybe it would help the fatigue)
34. Get a new tattoo
35. Try a new recipe from thrifted Cookbook once a month (maybe even per week!)
36. Don’t let work pile up, be efficient
37. Take a class
38. Do yoga again
39. Donate blood regularly
40. Try growing cactus from seed
41. TBD

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekly Thrift Feed: Thanksgiving

I am really trying hard to stay out of the thrift stores for reasons I talked about a few posts ago (need to pay off a few bills and also declutter a bit). Cold turkey, Thanksgiving or not, is never good for a thriftaholic, however, so I allowed myself a bit of $1 budget this past week for a record album featuring pop English bands of yore...
...A trio of Holt Howard tall boy glasses (I plan to list these on Etsy this week);
And a six pack of state glasses! Behind the three Great Lakes states are Georgia, Niagara Falls, and New Orleans. I now have at least ten of these babies. I want to display them in an old soda crate (I saw it out in blogger land, but have no idea where now).

I have a couple of other items to share later this week, but this is just a taste of my weekly finds. Want more? Check out Her Library Adventures for more weekly thrift/flea market feed!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Wish List

OK, so I really am one of those, "You don't need to buy me anything" folks (and I truly mean it, I'd much rather find gifts over receiving) and, as a lover of things thrifted and old, I rarely want anything "new". I also do not do Black Friday (I worked retail for many years to get through college and did my share of BF from the other side). However, in the spirit of fun and all that is American consumerism, I thought I would make a list of what I would love to find under the tree...for me!

1. Charles Frazier's latest book Nightwoods. I loved both Cold Mountain (I also love the movie version of this book) and the wonderful historic Thirteen Moons. I thrifted copies of both of his former books, but Nightwoods is really new.

2. Any of these artists' latest albums: Features (and a ticket to their Jan. 13 show in Louisville would be fabulous as well), Feist, Coeur de Pirates or Snow Patrol.

3. A couple of these repo vintage stuffed animal patterns.

4. This wonderful print from Why Louisville. Actually, while you are there, I would also love this t-shirt!

5. Goodwill (or other thrift store) gift cards. Santa Baby, really, this one is a no-brainer!

6. Coffee shop gift card. Love, love, love my caffeinated drinks.

What would be on your list?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekly Thrift Feed: A Bit of Holiday

This week's happy find was a plethora of vintage elf-type ornaments. Most were made in Japan or Hong Kong. I love their happy, kitschy faces.

The ones in the very center remind me of Willy Wonka's Oompa Loompas. The taller one has very creepy eyes! The Crochett and Tiny Tim ornament says it is a Kurt S. Adler ornament.

This mouse is my very favorite of the bunch. I have such a weakness for vintage animal kitsch. Plans for her involve a re-purposed Wreath O' Kitsch. I love her big head and beady, black eyes and think she should be front and center this holiday season!

What did you find this week? Check out more thrift porn here and will make you drool!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November Lights

(Holland Mold Tiger Bank, Jie Gantofta Sweden Baby, Strawberry Shortcake picnic basket, Danish vase/candle holder, Italian scarf)

It seems like it has been cloudy on any day I have some minutes to spare and attempt to photograph. My house is so dark and shadowy (something I never noticed until I tried photographing objects!) I had a busy last week at work, so I didn't get much done as far as blogging or Etsy goes. I really hope we have a few sunny days this week. For now, I am going to blame the lighting on my awful photos and procrastination! ;)

Above are a few recent finds (with the exception of the Jie Gantofta Sleeping Baby which I found months ago in West Virginia). I plan to add all of it to the shop this week (hopefully, this weekend. By the way, I know I've seen the weird man-figure candle/flower holders on the blogs before (Ole Christensen Keramik Danmark), but I am hard pressed to remember where. Any one know the era of the guy?

And, speaking of W. VA., above is my favorite find: a tiny W. VA button! I found it in a box of odds and ends jewelry at a Louisville thrift store. It costs me .25c which is probably high for just one button; however, I absolutely love it! I wish I had found a few more. The cashier was pricing the other odd earrings and such I had isolated (to upcycle into necklaces) and saw the button. She said, "You want this...?" (I think she was going to throw it away).

I've actually been staying away from thrift and flea markets of late. I already posted my whiny post about my housing issues and every extra dollar is going towards that at the moment. It would kill me to stay out completely, though, so I have set myself a very strict budget. Fortunately, twenty-five cent buttons fit the bill!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Should Be Sleeping

(Happy Picture Needed Because Not a Happy Post)

As the old Leonard Cohen song goes, "It's two in the morning, I'm writing to say that I'm better..."

Well, it is 2:39 am to be exact and I am having a bit of insomnia. My mind is working overtime due to many issues I have on the table at the moment. The main one was a recent shock when I had the little house I've owned for 15 years appraised for a refi. I knew things were bad and the house had decreased in value, but I had a vague idea what it was worth based on the taxes. When I received the bottom line, it seems my house has plunged 50% in value over the years I've owned it. The saddest part? The major plunge has been between 2009 and now.

What this means is I am approved for all practical purposes to swap out a high interest mortgage on said home for more than I owe (based on credit worthyness and my net worth apparently), but I do not have the value in the home for what I need. I am about 7K short of what the bank will loan me.

Now, it seems I owe exactly what the house is worth. Good news, I suppose, as I am not "upside down"...yet. However, because I no longer live in this house and it has become an "investment property" (yea, some investment...the rent my tenant pays barely covers the current mortgage payment and nevermind the INCREASING taxes and insurance) due to be unable to sell it, the bank tells me they will only give me 75% of the value of the home. I spent about $400 (appraisal and credit check costs) to find all of this out.

I called the current mortgage holder and explained to them my situation. I have a balloon loan on this property (bought when I was a Very. Stupid. Girl in my early twenties) that is about to come due. I have been a good payer (on time) over all these years and never refinanced from the original mid-nineties interest rate (i.e. criminally high). They said they would take the 75% as a payoff with no damage to my credit. "Yay!" I thought foolishly.

So I called back the other bank (one, I might add, I have another mortgage with, have had loans that are now paid in full with, savings, checking, relatives that work for them, relatives that bank with them, a bank that started in the small town I live in now) and told them what my current mortgage holder has said. No, says my bank, if you don't pay exactly what you owe it looks bad to us and we won't loan you the money. Um, OK.

Of course, I am not happy on many accounts, but what really pissed me off was the loan officer's patronizing speech after I told him about the other banks offer to me. He says, "What if you borrowed $50, 000 from your friend Bob. However, two years later, the value falls on the house and you go to him and offer him $48,000 to pay it off. Wouldn't this just be wrong? How do you think your friend would feel?" He then went on to say the houses losing value was all our faults because the banks had lost money in the stock markets. Make sense? (Please elaborate if it does to you...:(

Well, let me see, in my case I owe $25K and have paid "Bob" faithfully for 15 years at a high interest rate. My friend "Bob" has already received his original investment plus some from me. A profit!! And, I am offering to pay back 75% of what is now owed on a house he is just going to get back and will have to sell at a loss if I can't finance it (in the scenario) and it is his decision to take the offer. Hmm, his 25% loss now is really, really small.

After my little scolding, the banker then went on to say something about how "short sales" are only hurting investors and that those who do it are basically stealing from the banks. I hadn't even considered the other bank's offer to be a short sale. Just an offer for less (win win for them).

Anyway, I am thinking about moving my other mortgage (great interest rates now anyway) and all my accounts out of the patronizing bank. I am asking to borrow less than a car from them. I am asking to borrow exactly what is owed and apparently what the house is worth by the appraiser they hired. I have an excellent history of repayment. My credit is good by whatever weird and complicated formulas they use.

Meanwhile, I am paying all extra money on the little house in preparation of the upcoming balloon due date (June 2012). I hope to have it paid down to 75% of what the worth is (today), but who's to say it won't get worse. And, trying to live in two cities with today's recession has become a money-tight affair these days. We all have net worth less than we did five years ago. Fucking hindsight, I should have paid this damn thing off years ago (I always held out in foolish hope that it would sell).

O, and the negative value, it was not the house per say; it was the comp values of other homes selling in the neighborhood for pennies. Kind of out of my control if people are taking way less than their houses are worth these days. We are all just trying to survive.

Grand Opening


I finally listed 10 items on Etsy and I am exhausted! I do have two more items to post tomorrow, but I ran out of almost good lighting today.

So, want to see the shop? Check out Flea Circus Star and let me know your honest feedback (e.g. photography, prices, the look, etc.).

The hardest part (well, besides taking decent photos) was figuring out prices. I am not an expert on vintage (nor do I really want to be). I just know what I like and what I would pay for an item. As the proprietor of Nashville's Pre to Post Modern said, "We don't like to hoard vintage...!" I did look around the Internet a bit and tried pricing under the average. I also do not have a scale handy (I do in Louisville though) and calculated my shipping rates based on USPS Priority Flat Rates which I will have to adjust at some point. I also do not really say I will ship internationally, but I will. I just need to check on rates for a particular destination. I plan to add a tidbit about reserving for international buyers until I can adequately quote them.

I am really greenhorn to all of this and hope it is fun and not frightful adventure!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 11 11

O, man...I have to give credit where credit is due. I have been desperately trying to get my Etsy shop up and running and have new respect for shop owners out there. It is hard work editing photographs (properly...not the lazy way as I do for this blog! :)

I was hoping to open up on 11-11-11. How lucky would that have been? unfortunately, I am still pecking away at the photo editing and uploading. Maybe...hopefully, I will have my grand opening by Sunday.

At the very least, I finally have my shop's banner done. This should have been simple, but I changed my mind on my shop name three times before settling meekly on one. I think I like it. In fact, I may change LKL's name as well to reflect the choice. Maybe.

I have so, so many posts to write-up. I have all my Nashville adventure & finds (thank you, Rae, for your fabulous suggestions!), Louisville recent finds, and some other loose ends of life that has been passing me by of late. The best part is I went back to a DSL at the farm house (I'd been using a mobile air card due to my constant travel) which will make it easier to keep caught up on the weekends (air card does not get decent signal out in the sticks).

Anyway, the above photograph is a forever ago find (I can't even remember the Who What Where of it anymore). It is a sneak preview of what one may find in my (very) soon-to-be shop!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sleep and Things

YAY! I slept in today...until 8 (, so programed).

I am officially on vacation starting today. The first one I've had this year (other than a day here and there taken for other reasons) and husband is coming down to Louisville, so this means no blessed four hour drive home. Instead, we are driving three hours to Nashville for a thrifty and thrifting stay (I used my bizillion hotel points for three free nights).

I have a list of places I want to visit: Cool Stuff Weird Things, Tennessee Antique Mall, Goodwill outlet (we don't have one in Lou or IN), Ernest Tubb's record store and several recommendation for the Loveless Cafe. I have the Thriftshopper list of stores as well. I have been briefly to one area in Nashville (for work) and saw several chain type stores I may find the time to try (however, I will be back for work in the area in a few months so may concentrate on other areas). We also hope to hit a honky tonk (old style), and Indie rock show and a museum. It is Halloween weekend (my favorite holiday!) and I probably should have made a costume. Time, for me, is the ultimate treasure (I, sadly, seem to have none). For the most part, when I travel for pleasure, I keep my options really open (no itineraries for me-I have enough of those for work!)


Meanwhile, before hitting the road, I need to clean up the teeny apartment (can't wait to move next spring), make my coffee, and do some more hunting for weird things to do in Nashville!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Keeping Up with the Etsians

(The orange stuff of thrift dreams...)

Here's my dilemma: I have wanted to open an Etsy shop for some time. I have made excuses, literally been the butt of my own excuses (i.e. no time, no time, no time). I have read all the posts, drop-downs and FAQs I can about it on reselling sites and blogs. A name for the shop has surfaced and burst in my thoughts more than once. And, I definitely have the stock.

Oh, and I have been a thrifter since I was 15! The other day I was sorting through some old boxes o' crap, items thrifted in the mid-nineties (yes, I know) and what do I find-Kitschy Deer. I'm not kidding, I was thrifting deer before they popped up everywhere in Vintage Modern Land (and I still love them).

The same goes for Made in Japan, animal planters, paint-by-numbers, Pyrex, owls, knitted toys, vintage sheets and other wonderful items we all covet. I am constantly amazed how similar all our tastes are out there.

Years ago, I was an active member of a Yahoo forum dedicated to thrifters. It was started by Al Hoff (or one of her 'zine* fans, but she participated as well) and we shared all our fun, vintage finds. Ebay was rather new (outside CA) and many of the participants were resellers, but the majority of us just liked kitsch. I think I knew then that thrifting was about to change (or had already begun to change). I am going to admit to you now that I was sad. I knew the world of thrift was about to become more challenging. See, in those days, at least in the Midwest, thrifting was a-mazing. Lots and lots of mid-century (1930-1970) stuff, general kitsch, vintage clothing, kitchenalia, religionalia...all of it at dirty, cheap prices. I can still remember being overwhelmed by the vintage dresses at the local Salvation Army (I couldn't afford all of them I wanted and not because they were expensive-there were just that many!) And the kitsch...wish I had possessed a (small) digital camera back then!

Over the years and three houses and one apartment later, I have purged the collection many times. I sold great, vintage things for dirt cheap at yard sales. I re-donated many items (and tried to resist buying them back). Then, I rebuilt my collections again and again.

Anyway, all of this pining and whining is just to say that I think I am ready to dip my toes in the world of Internet reselling. Should have done it back then, but didn't. Is the trend winding down? Perhaps (I'm still buying it both in person and online). Either way, I have three options: purge and redonate again, live with my hoarding tendencies, or find a way to share my great treasures with like minds. The last will at least combine a passion with something useful!

My one, big, over-analytical question is if I am too late. The reason I say this is there are so many resellers out there now who have put in the time to build up their shops and following. They were the inovative ones that started out on the proverbial basement floor. Now there are so many wonderful shops out of the basement, does anyone wonder back into it to see us newbies? I guess there is only one way to find out. Also, I buy things I like, not because I think it is worth a lot of money. I do not have time for extensive research (although, I suppose, the "real" gold diggers who know values could be customers of mine for resell as well, right?), so will not be offering many Picasso pieces for sale right now. ;)

This is one of my Lofty Goals. So, I am working on putting up a shop at Etsy. It is cheap to try and I hope I can learn to be more artful in putting it together. I really wanted to go the booth route at a flea market (or even better-start a flea market store in Indiana with other sellers; KY already has many fabulous chains), but this is what I can handle right now. By making this shop, I hope it will spill over into other goals (photography, Internet, blogging goals).

Here is where the goal part starts: Have this shop up and running by November 10 (wish I could make this shorter, but I have work travel again, but fortunately I will have a lot less this year). Give it a whirl for six months or so and then analyze if it is something I really want for my life. Fair enough? I think so!

*Remember the 'zine craze of the mid-nineties, Older Hipsters? Al Hoff had one I subscribed to called Thriftscore. She later published a book by the same title (it is out-of-print now, but check second hand sites-well worth reading if you love thrifting). Her
zine was hilarious and she would actually glue items from thrift stores in some of the copies (toothpick flags, pieces of vintage denim). I loved 'zines! I guess blogs are really just 'zines in disguise.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lofty Goals: Week One

Some of you may read here when I am not showcasing my lovely treasures (thank you). A few weeks ago I mentioned I was going to publish a list of goals for the new year on my birthday. Um, came and went.

I did create the list though on the day I said I was going to publish it and so, I do have a tentative list of 41 goals. Some are direct, others abstract or ongoing, but I hope to accomplish a good majority of them this year. I even left a 'TBD' slot. I will probably also tweak the list a bit as time marches on.

I am of the type I get rather obsessed with projects. I love research (a natural researcher!) and will read and study an interest until I am bored with it. Yes, I wish I could fix this part of my natural tendency towards curiosity, but, alas, I move on once I no longer have the quality of newness there to hold my interest. Of course, there are exceptions (my children and pets) and I am not lumping them into this quirk o' mine.

On the other hand, this quirk has been an asset to getting some things done. I've paid all our debts off because I challenged myself to do it. I decided I wanted to homestead and managed to buy us a farm. I finished college several times. I became bored with my job and found one with more excitement and income. Et cetera.

So, in my new year I plan to become "obsessed" with my goals. I want to see items crossed off, accomplished. I want to feel I can reach a finish line. The plan goes like this: each week I will concentrate on one goal. If I am able to do it, this means I will finish before the year is up. I will update each week. Mainly I am recording my progress for my own records and information; however, feedback and cheers are always nice too! :)

So, here they are, in no particular order, 41 goals:

1. Play with the boys more often
2. Record their lives (e.g. photo albums, scrapbooks, etc.)
3. Get out and make some friends (KY)
4. Be a tourist in my home place(s)
5. Plan a Nashville vacation with Hubby in Oct.
6. Plan to attend next year’s family reunion in VA (paternal side)
7. Pay down 25% of our debt
8. Purge at least 25% of our crap
9. Create an Etsy store or try selling (not buying!) on Ebay
10. …Or at least have a yard sale
11. Work out three times a week (my choice!)
12. Find the “choice” in things, not the chore
13. Prepare to move next summer to new apartment or house
14. Sell or keep renters in little house
15. Refinance little house
16. Attend one event in Louisville per month.
17. Take more photographs, print out these photographs
18. Learn to use the Camera (better)
19. Learn to artfully edit photographs
20. Walk/run a marathon next spring or summer
21. Finish the vintage camper by next summer
22. Read one new book per month (sad, I used to be such a reader)
23. Purge read, never-read-again books
24. Try listening to books in the car while traveling for work
25. Go to the dentist X2 (I’m late on my check-ups=friendly reminder to self)
26. Organize-leaving it vague on purpose (work and home)
27. Take lunch to work, eat at home more
28. Write again-anything!
29. Work on my blog, be diligent about posties, don’t pigeon hole your life
30. Don’t pigeon hole your life (warrants a repeating)
31. Learn a new craft
32. Hike KY state parks
33. Get the B12 injections as suggested by dr (maybe it would help the fatigue)
34. Get a new tattoo
35. Try a new recipe from thrifted Cookbook once a month (maybe even per week!)
36. Don’t let work pile up, be efficient
37. Take a class
38. Do yoga again
39. Donate blood regularly
40. Try growing cactus from seed
41. TBD

Weekly Thrift Feed: 16 Oct 2011

(Vintage MIJ Squirrel #2 found this year!)

Small report this week due to time, technical issues and other trivial reasons not worth delving into for the moment. This week, a decision was made by me to curb my thrifting for a small while. I am busy purging which means I really don't need to bring new things home. Also, I am busy saving for a major project and this means I need to find thrifty, not thrifting, things to do with my free time for a few weeks. In the end, the project (a refi on a rental) will be better for the pocketbook, but the bank wants to see assets (blah, blah, blah).

So, like the Made in Japan squirrel, I am gathering my pennies and hoping to get myself organized in more ways than one this fall. This is the second vintage, life-size squirrel I have found this year. I love them!

I also found this sweet (badly photographed) autograph booklet at a thrift store that is closing its doors (boo hoo!) in Lexington. I loved the store (great prices, lots of vintage crap, even vintage clothing which is really hard to come by now). The lady gave it to me for $1 (and threw in a bunch of free vintage tally cards which I will photograph and put up another day). They still have another location in Lex which I did not even know existed.

OK, this is it for this week's Thrift Feed. Internet not cooperating with me today and I have to get ready for my return trip to KY. Check out other linky, thrifty wonderfulness:

Her Library Adventures

Apron Thrift Girl

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WTF?! Tuesdays: Body Parts

This week's WTF?! Tuesdays items was actually purchased by me at the KY Flea Market. I think it is fabulous. It set me back a whopping $3! In line, a lady saw me carrying it and said, "I looked at that!" I replied, "I know! Isn't is cool?"

Maybe I have mentioned before, but I possess degrees in biology and chemistry. I even went to a school that churns out doctors. However, my expertise was in environmental biology (with a couple of sides in anthropology). I had to take a couple of medical-ish biology courses, including anatomy, but can't say I loved them much. I much prefered being wild out in nature. I do, however, love vintage teaching tools. I drooled over the model eye, the flowery uterus and the heart in my classes. I wanted them all just for the kitschy-ness of them.

So, I found this gem buried beneath a bunch of junk in a booth (I found the Made in Japan collie wall art in the same booth) and I gasped when I saw it. It has a weird brown gunk inside it (perhaps another topic for a future WTF?!) and the parts in front (or back?) move slightly. This brings us to why I chose this wonderful item for WTF?! Tuesdays. I need to know: WTF is it? Any budding anatomists out there want to help me out? I thought knee at first, but ruled it out. Maybe the back of the throat and those two projections are tonsils? I just cannot positively ID the model!

I am thinking I need to retake some of my classes, but meanwhile, this mysterious body part is joining my little collection of vintage classroom study aids. Check out other thrifty mysteries and creepy stuff over at Sir Thrift A Lot's great blog!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekly Thrift Feed: 9 October 2011

(Libra bank found in Alabama-so meant to be!)

Well, another year came and went for me on the 5th. I had a fabulous night: a Louisville friend took me to a restaurant 16 stories above the city and we watched a sunset from the terrace. Everywhere, I could see the explosion of crimson, yellow and burgundy of trees. Louisville is such a gorgeous city!

I splurged and bought myself this cross-stitch deer and fawn. I love them and it is huge (3' x 2') and framed in a great vintage frame. My photograph does not do it justice at all (I will post again once I get it up on a wall). It is signed Geo. Gahn and, I suppose, Geo. could be Georgina or Georgia, but I like to think it is actually George (note to self: Google later). It was an expensive purchase from one of those fabulous KY flea markets. Yeah, it set me back $11. :) I bought another item the same day, but I am saving it for WTF?! Tuesday.

(Temp gauge, wooden Cuban cigar box and a weird metal horse)

I found this cool Honeywell temp gauge for a buck. This was a new to me thrift store in Louisville and it is one of those really junky ones. The employees were so sweet and one of them told me a great story about how her adult son has a way with animals and sends her messages to tell her he's thinking about her via a flock of birds or some other creature. It was a fun day!

(Cute Charlotte Becker lithograph print)

(MiJ collie wall art, ceramic bird, and chemistry ring on top of a red chipped folding chair)

All of the above I snagged at a flea market. everything was less than $2 each (the bird and chemistry ring were around $1). The chairs I bought at an estate sale. I bought three for $10. I love how they look all chippy (despise that word) and old. The (cute) guy who helped me carry them to my car was saying over and over how much he loved the chairs.

Well, that's it for Flea Market Finds and Thrift Share this week. Check out the other wonderful discoveries out there this week! Thanks for all your comments last week!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thrift Share: $1 Bag Sale

"Elf, Glamor Elf, Jolly Snowman, and a Wooden Santa walk into a bar..."

I mentioned on Sunday that by happenstance, the boys and I wandered into a Salvation Army $1 a bag clean-up sale (cleaning up the old building they moved out of recently). I thought I would share a little more that made it into the bag. The elf on the left has a present for a body and is a 'Made in Japan" sort of elf (my favorite kind!)

Santa Face!
We had a bunch of these when I was a punk in the '70's. Not the cool type punk (that was retro 80's), but the brat type (I'm not that old, although the dreaded 1-step from 40 is tomorrow. I still feel, hmm, 33-I've raised it a bit from last year). My youngest (4) spotted this classic and said, "Can we get the noodle face Santa?"

(Alabama score!)

OK, this was one of those things where I looked at the box a couple of times before the second thrift spider sense kicked in and said, "Gina, open the box..." Ninety-nine cents later Box was mine!

Yep, a complete Trout Fly Tying kit! Everything, including feathers of all sorts, is included and never used. Did I hear you ask if I fly fish? Um, no, but like a lot of your super thrift sellers, I would love to have a booth at one of the fabulous KY junk malls and I think this would be a super seller!

Thanks for looking! Check out other wonderful scores over at Apron Thrift Girl (and a bit of a shout out at the Extreme Thrifter who hit Louisville this past weekend-apparently I need to stay in KY on the weekends a bit more!) Oh, and one more shout out to all the followers and commentors I have here at the blog. You all mean so much to me!

WTF?! Tuesdays: Weepy the Wee Wee

Oh, do I have a good one for WTF?! Tuesdays this week! Meet Weepy the Wee Wee (ah, the alliteration of it all!) I love the impish boy's smile as his sweet pee pee toy sprays all over you in line at the Krogers. Keep him occupied while you pay your debts at the bank. Thank the makers of Weepy for steppin' up the family fun on holidays.

I left the GW price sticker on it because I know you are going to ask why I didn't snatch Weepy right off the shelf. Yes, that would be $5 and some change. I call this the Expensive GW in Louisville (the one on E. Shelbyville for you locals) and I only stop in now and then to drool over great things for horrible prices.

I have made it a new challenge to look for the kooky items while thrifting for this fabulous linky party at Sir Thrift A Lot. It keeps the hoarding to a minimum.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy Junk: My Swallow 10.02.11

Up first on my little thrifty show 'n' tell is this (horribly photographed) mid-century child's school chair. I found two of them at a yard sale for a couple of bucks each. I love them and the youngest boy has already placed them around his train table. It is hard to tell here, but they are pink with white atomic print and turquiose metal parts.

Next, the cute little church on the left was snagged for 50c at the same yard sale mentioned above. It lights up blue and is in perfect shape. The next day (Saturday) the boys and I had business in the closest big city. Driving by where the old Salvation Army used to be located (ah, a favorite past haunt of mine when I lived there), I saw boxes and scores of people in the parking lot. After taking care of the rental, I drove back and a guy with a sign screamed, "Only a dollar a bag!" Apparently, the SA was cleaning up the old store (they recently moved to a busier location). We had to stop. I had exactly $4 and only a 1/2 hour to spare (sadly), so we got busy. We managed to find lots of vintage items, mostly Xmas things, in our wee time and filled three bags. I actually only made it about a 1/3 of the way through the boxes and regret not going to get more money and just being late to our next appointment (isn't that what I have a cell phone for???) Oh, well...I also feel I am a bit of a hoarder in the making, so best to leave the rest. Anyway, long story, but the church with the sweet, red roof-a twin to the blue-light one jumped quietly into our bag. Its front steps were victim of an earthquake at some point (or sunlight), but I think we can repair her. I love them and think it is funny I am so drawn to the equivalent of dollar store items which were probably dime store items in the 1930's-50's.

I heart cookbooks that have little handwritten recipes and notes inside them.

It's Joy of Cooking, a classic CB and I snagged it at the dollar-a-bag SA sale (along with the ledger below it). Shortly after I took this photo I threw the nasty jacket away. I really like books to be naked (I know they say it devalues them), but this one is a wonderful aqua and in perfect shape under its ratty jacket. I put it with the two other copies I own. Maybe I am a hoarder.
Pocket book, pocket book...where did I put my pocket book? Oh, yea, it's on the back of the sofa! Found the red one in Alabama and the RWB one came from that dollar-a-bag holla sale.

I had to show you this recent acquisition. I actually purchased it from an antique dealer in Fairmont, IN (hometown of the infamous James Dean) for a great price. It came off the nursery wall of a Baptist church. I love it and it goes with the growing collection of religious ephemera*; However, I especially love the swallows (I so want a swallow tattoo-maybe for my birthday this week, tee hee).

So, imagine my HUGE SMILE when I discovered this little beauty at the $1/bag sale. I have always wanted one of these plastic swallows! I saw one on a blog not too long ago (I think an AU one from Flea Market Sundays) and I have been looking and looking ever since. I tried to hand it above the Cradle Roll print, but it won't lie right on the nail. I need to get velcro and try again. I may paint it too, but still not certain.

OK, long post today and I barely shared the $1/bag stuff. Oh, so much more yet to share...

Oh, and I am joining the fun at Her Library Adventures' Flea Market Finds. Go look at all the pretties!