Monday, February 28, 2011

Thrift Share Monday: Spare Thrift

(Cute pillowcase)

So, ever since I started participating in Thrift Share Monday, I realized two things:

1. I don't always have the patience and eyes for good thrifting as other fellow thrifter (I still say the glory days of the late '80's/'90's are gone, but maybe I'm just lazy...or cynical).


2. I thrift way too much (something I did not notice until I deliberately started sharing my finds); I sometimes forget what I bought until Monday.

(Cute dish linen)

I do love Mondays, however, both at Apron Thrift Girl and Her Library Adventures and seeing and reading all about the wonderful things folks find out there (which brings me to 3. I need to find time to hit more estate sales!)


This week I am bringing in the crap I have been lugging around in my trunk all week. Last Monday, a federal holiday and a glorious extra day off for me, I went to lunch with my mom. We hit one thrift store which I had not been to in ages. Apparently, in my absence, the store has expanded. They now have a "vintage" section with ok prices. I found a few things: embroidered dishtowel and pillowcase, a couple of embroidery kits, and a (barely) vintage flannel dress (80's). The thrift also added a 'silent auction' section in the store. I do not like these (bad for us out-of-towners). I saw the most gorgeous framed first communion certificate dated 1917. I wanted it and was going to bid (I had a figure of $25 in my head for the high bid), but when I looked the bid was over $70 and it still had weeks to go. I had to walk away.

(My favorite find-Purgatory Certificate)

Then, for the rest of the week, I was on a travel assignment for work. My colleague (and friend) hit a GW and an antique mall. I already shared the GW finds, but the purgatory certificate is the sweet find from the antique mall and helped me (almost) forget all about the silent auction certificate (and it was reasonably priced at $6). This one will share wall space with some other religious type certificates I have thrifted over the years (all dated from the early part of the last century). I plan to add my own kids certificates to the collection (oldest child will have first communion this spring) and maybe my kids will add a purgatory one for me one day ;). it always bothers me someone disposed of these important documents. Some are even framed in heavy, ornate frames.

Today, I saw they are building a new Goodwill here in Louisville (Hey, Sena By the Bluegrass, did you notice it yet? It's huge and out by The Gene Snyder & 60!! I wonder when it will be open?), but I ran through another one. I am trying hard to be selective because I will be moving stuff again soon. I found several items of interest, but only purchased a new Fiona Apple CD, a great chocolate brown dress (the cashier said, "Oh, this is definitely your style!"), and a newer scrabble game.

I wanted to go on to another one, but I stopped myself. Time to switch gears and get ready for the big spring/summer move. I am beginning to finally feel excited!

(Sorry about crappy photographs...)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

How to Open a Door

This summer my marriage was on the rocks. I wanted out having thrown up the flag of defeat caused by the stress of our lifestyle. Both my husband and I were tired. Tired of long work commutes; tired of not having time, sweet, priceless time. I was overwhelmed being a full-time worker and full-time single parent (or so it felt) because his job kept him from home for days at a time. He tried finding a different job, one closer to our IN home (he drives 90 miles one way to his job in yet another state and I was driving 40 miles OW to mine in a different county). After receiving a job offer with weekend home time, the offer was canceled (corporate office placed a hiring freeze and they told him he was going to receive first offer once lifted. It's been over six months). Job prospects are looking bleak in this area of the country (um, two words: Michiana area). Homes we bought for fair prices after tons of research (I'm a scientist by training and rarely jump without a whole lotta over-analysis) have depreciated. Quickly. We lost a HUGE amount on one of the houses (and we are still dealing with the after-effects of the loss in the form of taxes). We truly felt we were being bent over the coals in Indiana (as many are feeling all over the world). We realized our generation (the X one) would not have the same opportunities are parents and grandparents knew (long-term jobs, houses that were investments, possibly retirement and one parent being home comfortably). If we continued down the path we have been on, we could find ourselves without incomes (Dh's job depends on gas prices and mine was a term contract job with the black cloud possibility of being eliminated).

I actually received the offer on my new job in 2009; however, another economy hire freeze, had put the offer on temp hold and I had been waiting for the "OK-to-hire" word for over a year. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be decided it needed to be moved further south to Louisville. I had no idea about Louisville and had never given the area or KY a thought. Once I started researching the area, I fell in love! One of the best parts: it is only four hours from where we were living (my husband's hometown). Believe me when I say: it could have been a much further distance. Even better, Hubby's employer has a division in Frankfort-a hop, skip and jump from Louisville! It seemed truly "meant to be". We both feel comfortable and happy in KY. Moving down during the week and returning home on weekends seemed like a reasonable experiment if it meant something better in the long-term.

So, what is the problem (besides selling another home hopefully not at a lose, changing schools, finding a new house...):

My mother-in-law lives nearly 1/8 of a mile from the IN house. She is close to our children (and the reason I was able to make the temporary move to KY). She cares for them, loves them, and is a huge important part of their lives. She was, as anyone could muster, terribly unhappy about Louisville. She even offered me money to move back home. She told me I could not move for 15 years (the time when my children will be done with school). She is in her late 60's and FIL is in mid-70's.

Last night I stopped by her house to pick up the boys on my way home from KY. She and her buddies were sitting around talking and drinking a few beers (a popular neighborhood past time and hang-out. She and my FIl have been in the area for many, many years and everyone knows them. FIL is a local politician.) They often ask me to join them, but after the summer events (me wanting a divorce) I haven't felt as welcome (probably my own imagination). They asked last night and I took them up on the offer. Thank goodness I did!

See, after a couple of beers I began to open up the topic of KY and the fact we would be moving south. At first she was upset. She has been in denial since I moved positions. Her friend, at first, defended my MIL not wanting us to move and said to me I was making this a traumatic event. I told them the job prospects were bleak and, unless things changed, DH would be driving that awful drive for the rest of his life (and he drives for a living too). I told them at 36 he is starting to have health issues (she knows this). He is too young for the problems he is having! I told them that with the right area and opportunities I could earn more than he does in his physically demanding job. I invested in my education to be the bread winner (and he could, in theory, take a less paying, demanding job once I reach the right pay-raise and be home more with the boys). I said we needed to think about our future: retirement, college for the boys, being able to afford a mortgage without selling out our time with our children. KY offers opportunities.

Her friend suddenly changed positions and says, "You know, she's right. The jobs are bleak here and it could be worse. They really are trying to stay as close to you as possible. They could be moving further away." I saw she was considering this and the fact she often tells me hubby looks worn out made it easier for her to consider. I told her we were looking for homes with a guest room area.

So, long story here, but we are one step closer to making this move permanent. I feel so much better having cleared the air between us, telling her my motives in "running away" to KY (she thought is was simply because of the marital issues, but we resolved most of the problems before I switch jobs). Having familial support is really important and a major key in a successful relocation to KY.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crazy Busy (What Else is New)

Busy week, I have been holed up at a really nice hotel near Cincinnati for work projects. Lucky for me, one of my great co-workers and friend was sent here for the project as well and we have had a magnitude of fun after work. She likes to thrift too and we found both a GW and an antique mall only a few miles from the hotel. I missed Thrift Share Monday this week (but I will save something really sweet for the next one), but I will link up to Coloradolady's Vintage Thingie Thursday (check out all the other great vintage thingies-it's addicting!!)

Mother and Father tea cups

Large Mexican tray with interesting embossed design (not sure age)

Betsy Johnson skirt (not vintage, but fun!)

Vintage bird prints in wooden "bamboo" frames

I also spotted a really great cat print at the Goodwill on Wednesday. I picked it up several times. It was only $3, but, in my attempt to not buy too unreasonably, I ended up opting out of the purchase because I couldn't picture where I would hang it. Tonight, my friend and I walked through the antique mall by the hotel. Upon entering one of the aisle, H. says, "I think we've been down this one; I remember that cat." I looked at where she was pointing and, lo and behold, it is the same cat print. I check the back and it was definitely the same print I saw the day before at GW. The new price...??? Twenty.Five.Dollars!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sneak Peek

Disclaimer: I stole these photographs from the MLS listing. I had to share!

(One of FIVE barns)
OK, so I am trying really hard not to get my hopes up on this "too-good-to-be-true-did-I-dream-this-place-up-in-my-head" house and land, but it is a "too-good-to-be-true-did-I-dream-this-place-up-in-my-head" kind of house!

(wood burning stove in living room)

I am looking at it week after next (due to work travels) and will take my own photos to share (always amazes me how Realtors take photos. I saw this place in person and the land photographs in the listing do not do it justice).

I found an awesome Buyer's Agent after some initial trouble getting my phone calls returned. I even called the listing agent and he was slow to return my call. She is excited and willing to work with our needs (this is the first time I have used a 'buyer's agent').

I am not going to hold back: I am in love with this place! It is everything I could dream up in my head (even the colors throughout the house: yellow, my favorite color; turquoise, lime green in one bedroom and lilac in a bathroom!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Better Today

It almost reached 70 F here today! I am in love with this climate zone.

I found a couple of houses to go look at this week (or in two weeks when I am back from another work-related trip). Both are in a county away and sit on 45+ acres (mostly wild and rolling). The prices are right on both and include amenities I want in a rural home (wood burning stove, hardwood floors, barns, ponds and one even has a smokehouse!)

I'll try to take photographs and post if any one is interested in my on-going "am I moving, am I not moving" saga.

Meanwhile, I am motivated to open up my Etsy store or sell on Ebay in order to perk up the down-payment option for yet another house purchase (or pay off a couple of outstanding bills). I finally bought a used book about online selling and plan to start it this weekend. I know, I know...common thing now (and I have been a buyer for ten years at least), but I like to research something to death before I actually try it. It's an annoying habit I have...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

(Un)Happy, (Un)Nice

"In the end I was the mean girl or somebody's in-between girl..." ~Neko Case

One thing I can guarantee: I will never, ever have one of those "This is a Happy Blog" buttons here.

I also didn't have one of those buttons on the old retired blog either and, truth be told, ended up writing nothing but dark, crabby posts about all the complications in my life. I also had to make my public blog private because people I knew in RL were lurking and made bitching about them a very hard thing to do. I hurt feelings. I was mean.

Speaking of mean, twice in a matter of weeks I have been told I am a "mean" person. Of course, I do not see myself as such (I always offer someone to go ahead of me in a line, I give generously to family, friends and causes, I smile and use the polite greetings (please, thank you, etc.) In fact, I have found myself a door mat more than once in my life.

The difference is I do not like being a door mat and eventually snap out of it when I have had enough. This is after I politely hint I am tired of some sort of behavior. The first time I was called mean was because I chose to end a difficult (new) friendship. I tried to be nice, but in the end I lost my favorite pub hang-out (he goes in and stares angrily at me which makes me very uncomfortable). I have always been an independent sort of girl (from childhood on) and I have never been afraid to go out alone or walk near dusk or dark. Being an introvert with a bit of an outgoing streak (yep, very possible), I like to socialize a little bit (just to prove I am not a recluse). Living in a new city where I know no one (and am the only one positioned here in my job), I tend to go out alone. I make friends with regulars (to a point) and I have befriended a bartender who is the same age as me. I go in, drink my one microbrew pale ale, and go back home. After having someone stare angrily at you and tell you that you are mean because you told them over and over that you are not 'girlfriend' material, I am now a little afraid to walk about after I get home from work. I have now lost my confidence to go back out to the pub alone (this pub is two blocks from my apartment and I like to walk).

Now that I think about it, this does make me feel a bit mean. I want my pub back. I only went in 1-2 times a month, but I thought of it as a friendly, close-by place to chat with someone... anyone! Now I feel stuck and sad and not sure about this whole locality change. (Of course, this lifestyle will change drastically once my family moves down here...well, if they move. I am seriously considering returning to the cold, icky north).

The second time this month I was called "mean", it was kind of justified. Maybe I can be a mean girl. This was from a Mexican friend of a Mexican friend (back home this time). The reason he thinks I am mean is because I said a bad word during an argument (in Spanish). Apparently, the phrase I uttered in frustration is really, really insulting (I was never taught slang Spanish). Oops. I thought it was equivalent to our American cursing (um, starts with F and ends with off). Cultural lesson learned the hard way. The funny thing is the person I said it too just said it back to me in Spanish and we laughed (argument forgotten and this person taught it to me in the first place!) His friend did not think it was funny I said it. He thinks I am mean to his friend. Personally, I think men think women are mean if they stand up for themselves or deny their advances. Maybe he means to say I am a strong girl.

I am feeling quite alone these days down in the city. I attempted to go to the Y tonight (exercise helps depression), but could not figure out the parking situation (it is downtown and they have a garage somewhere). There is one closer to my office in another county and I will go there tomorrow instead. I have gained nearly 10 pounds (maybe more) since I moved down here. I worked hard to get in shape and now I am letting it go. When I am down, I crave and crave sugar which starts a vicious cycle of addiction. I have to give up the pale ales too. This also makes me feel mean.

I guess I am saying all of this to myself. My record of being a mean girl. I just can't seem to create a happy environment. I do try now and then and it is a goal (albeit, one I am going to fail miserably at achieving). Hmm, all of this makes me wonder: do they make a "This is a Mean Girl's Blog" button?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Big Belated Thanks

I didn't forget to mention a blog give-away I won a few weeks ago, I was waiting for time to make one of her lovely sweets to enjoy it! Thank you, Laura, for the Seattle's Best coffee sampler pack and, even more, the great Peanut Butter Cookies recipe you shared with all of us out here in Blogland (they are yummy and addicting!)

Thrift Share Monday: All Seasons

This weekend as I pulled items from a box of recently thrifted knick-knacks, I suddenly realized that I had almost all of the seasons and holidays represented in one box o'crap. I found examples of spring (with a bonus Valentine's Day item), summer, and fall (I am leaving out winter although I have plenty of that kitsch too-I am just tired of the season and don't even want to consider it tonight!)All of these items have been gathered since Christmas in various towns and sources east of the Mississippi.

Spring: bunnies (of course) are represented by the Avon candle holder (love it) and the vintage cookie cutter; the little girl is carrying a basket and possibly an egg; the egg houses are a collection my boys and I have been gathering at yard sales and such (easier to find than Xmas village stuff and cheap!); I almost thought I had nothing for St. Patty's day until I discovered the Irish Coffee towel among my treasures. Can you spot the St. Valentine's Day representation?

Summer: June wedding month (I plan to remove the vintage cake topper and use the wedding bell jar in some other way); NIP Homer Simpson chia head (Ok, it seems summer-y to me); the pig cookie cutter (perfect for a Southern style BBQ event); the Dutch boy cookie cutter (hmmm, maybe he should be with spring since I think tulips with Holland); a bi-centennial storage jar; and an Annual from 1959 depicting camping girlies (this book has great illustrations in it).

Autumn: My favorite time of year and what better represents the return of cooler nights? Owls, of course! I found 8 of these cute glasses at a thrift near Cincinnati (50c each); I also found the Great Tales of Terror book for 50c recently; a darling set of ABC cards with vintage French illustrations (reproduction); and last, another ubiquitous cookie cutter (I thrifted all of the cookie cutters together if you can't tell)-this one, of course, represents that #1 fall-ish fellow Jack!

There you have it-a year of thrift in only a few short weeks of (cold, dank, miserable) winter!

Join the thrifting fun at Apron Thrift Girl and Her Library Adventures!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Please, please, please

O, I hope it warms up soon. The gas bill for the KY apartment doubled and I can hardly wait to see what the house bill looks like being it is a good 20 deg F colder up north. I hate hearing the furnaces kick on...I loath this time of winter!

I did manage to get tickets for the Decemberists for April here in KY and the DH is coming down to attend too. Something to look forward to considering everything else is just blah. Blah.

Today was a long and tiring day of entertaining a new supervisor. I managed to get turned around in Louisville (again) and I am sure she thinks I am totally incompetent (damn, GPS has spoiled my sense of direction!) She seemed happy when she left me, but she is also a super polite person who is rumored to complain about you behind your back. God, I hope I was tolerable. I don't think she liked the restaurant I picked for lunch (after I forgot she said she needed to eat before a noon meeting we had), but she gave me no point of reference to what she would like to eat! I took her to a local BBQ place.

I started to finally photograph my 30 X 30 choices, but I still need 5 items. I guess I wear the same things over and over and it is hard to break away from that when all I seem to do is work, go home and work, work some more. I will just randomly pick 5 things from the drawers or closet and be done with it. I need to accomplish something (personally) in my life.

I am mailing my Valentines tomorrow. Sorry for the delays on all accounts (terrible week).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Thrift Share Monday: Inside the Tin Box

Well, well, another Monday is here. I was very good this week and stayed out of the thrift stores with one exception: the absolute worst thrift stores in the South/Midwest. I spent time in southern and western Kentucky this past week and my hotel was literally a neighbor to a Goodwill. Yuck. I did find a vintage suitcase that smells like cigarettes and a book by David Guterson called Our Lady of the Forest. I started the book last night and so far, so good. I also picked up the Made in Japan bill holder. It is missing the flag, but cute none-the-less (and only a $1).

I also stopped today at one I have been wanting to visit here in Louisville. They have limited hours and I rarely am home in time to go. I had business in the area and decided to stop with only 15 minutes to spare before closing. I only had time to glance, but I saw some great vintage (and cheap!) things. I saw a round tin in the craft area and shook it. It had a sticker that said $1.50 Straight Pins. I bought it sight unseen. Look what was inside!!
I think the rock in box is Pyrite (Fool's gold!) Anyway, they meant enough to someone that they stashed them away inside a box of straight pins inside a round tin.

I also found the little tea bag flower and will use it. It was 25c. I will definitely be returning to this thrift when I have more time!

In other challenge news, I am way behind on the 30 X 30 remix challenge, but I am going to condense it for time (Gah! How do you all do it??) I cannot believe it is the 8th of February already. I am beginning to believe that theory that the Earth is rotating faster (and, thus, time is speeding up!) I will eventually post pictures and a list of clothing items here. Well, I will that is if I get over my camera shyness!

Check other thrifty goodness at Apron Thrift Girl and Her Library Adventures!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Get Crafty

More snow fell today. We have so much up north here in the Great Lakes region it is hard to tell how much was added to the mess. I am so tired of being cooped up, tired of cold bones. I have been surrounded by papers. Ugh, tax season...goes so well with cold and grey.

I did manage to get some of my "to-do's" done this weekend (some started last weekend). One of the big ones was to finish my Valentine Swap project. I need to make 5 handmade Valentines using thrifted and/or items around the house. I thought this would be easy seeing I am a "hoarder", but the project turned out to be challenging. This is mainly due to my unpracticed craft skills. I haven't had time to be arty nor crafty in many months (maybe even years!

OK, if you are swapping with me (I have no idea if you read this blog), stop here if you want to be surprised. The photos will follow the text to hide them from eyes which do not wish to see. I am putting them up here for advice (but respond quickly because they need to go out Monday!)
The items I used are almost all thrifted (the exception is some scrapbooking elements I had from a project I did in 2009). Even the thread was thrifted (and the sewing machine I used was a display model I bought over a year ago and have never used).

Originally, I planned to make something like these organic fabric beauties. I love how each one is unique and imperfect (like the crafter says: just like the human heart). I found my stash of vintage quilt blocks and scraps and quickly sewed up 5 hearts. I then glued old music sheets to some postcards I found in a dumpster (old, but not cool vintage). I sewed a heart onto each postcard. This is where I lost my confidence. I am a horrible sewer and one of the hearts turned out horribly. I didn't have time to redo it (I had planned on finishing them in KY and mailing them last week, but travel got in the way as usual).

Later in the week I was surfing the 'net and found these cute things that I now cannot find the link to show you. Picture little handmade Valentine people with vintage photograph faces. I thought about scrapping my fabric heart cards and making something similar inspired by this art. However, I just couldn't let the heartcards go. I came home and looked around my junk. I found some extra vintage baby photos I had from the same scrapbooking project aforementioned (a cookbook/scrapbook for my MIL a couple of holidays ago). All of sudden I knew what to do!

Now I am not saying these are great. I know they are lacking something (and I may never get to participate in another swap! ;) However, I like them a little and hope they are not too amateurish for the other participants (fortunately we are swapping to five total not just one or otherwise I would feel really sorry for my partner!) The best part, if the recipient dislikes it, she can tear it apart and use the elements in other projects! Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve it? It is definitely rough looking! The funny thing is the one I sewed all wonky turned out to be my favorite of the five (the one with the baby with the red heart on his chest).

I hope to be more arty/crafty again. I used to be years ago and over time just lost the priority to be crafty and play. I love paper arts especially and made several collages and mixed media works at one time or other in the past. I miss it! I also collect paper ephemera and have boxes of items to be used as such.

Maybe participating in this Valentine Swap was just the spark I needed!

(Forgive the glare on some of the photos...)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Like a Proverbial Hole in the Head

(Neat ceramic bull and a gaggle of flocked bluebird picks found in Western KY)
ETA: The challenge is only open to those who already have an online shop. main goal was to open the shop! I'll play along here without the link.
OK, so I like to commit to challenges on my blog. It's public. I apparently, however, do not like to follow through on challenges. As of today, February 1, I am suppose to have 30 clothing and shoe items for the 30 for 30 Remixer Challenge. I am also still working on the 2011 goals. Oh, and there was that one I came up with a few weeks ago where I planned to visit a new KY site each week. I can't remember the other ones I have mentioned this month. I am failing to complete (or barely start) any of them. (It certainly does not help that I am on the road again this week.)

But, but...

I really, really want to do this Reselling Challenge over at Apron Thrift Girl. I need this challenge! It actually goes hand-in-hand with some of the goals I have set for myself this year. It would help me de-clutter or at least feel like my thrifting serves some purpose. I have been a buyer for years; I really want to be a (re)seller! I mean I am not looking to be as good as all of the these folks I read about on her blog, but I like to find things...I just don't need things.

So, here it goes. Again. With this challenge, I am daring myself to finish my research on Ebay/Etsy selling (forgive me, I'm a scientist and can't jump without the research), set up an Etsy shop, and list five items. Yes, I know this is a teeny, tiny number, but I want to actually complete one of these challenges! And, to add salt to this challenge, I will include the stipulation that until I sell one item, I will stay out of the thrifts. There, I said it!

(Now I just have to do it...)