Friday, March 29, 2013


You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.”  
~C. Joybell C.
Life has been coming on strong (a.k.a My Broken Record), but it is a mixed bagged of change and new opportunity and less traveled roads. I have been preparing myself for new adventures and new discoveries, of late, and I am finding that I tend to hold on to objects like a security blanket. I also tend to forget what I actually hoard. Purging and letting go have been two objectives I have been struggling with for the past couple of years. Actually, I have struggled with these goals for most of my life.
The past couple of weeks I have let go of a lot of crap, both physically and mentally. In order to accomplish goals and move on with my life, I had to literally tell my inner voice to stop talking: "I'll have a yard sale this year..." or "I can sell these things on eBay..." or "I'll make this [insert crafty thing] with that..." The thing is I am a busy, busy girl. True Fact. It's way more easy for me to thrift than decorate. Thrift than resell. Thrift than create. Thrift than organize. I absolutely love a treasure hunt. I absolutely despise the burden of the treasure. It really is a forest/trees kind of thing.
So, I have been taking boxes of outgrown baby clothes, cheapo books already read/never to be read, unused housewares and modern knick-knacks back to the thrifts. And you know what? I haven't missed any of it. I have also reopened my Etsy store to help lighten the load of vintage I have boxed away in nooks and crannies (and I have been delighted by what I am discovering right inside my homes). I am slowly photographing and listing the items I have decided to let go (or I think will sell). I am telling myself that if they do not leave by X date, then back to the thrifts they go. I am on a self-imposed thrifting hiatus until at least half of my shit is gone (it's hard). Thrifting is a stress buster for me.
I am really looking forward to spring. I know it's cliche, but I am full of hope and renewal. I am getting ready to brave the next chapter in my life and it's best that I travel without all these weights tied to my ankles. Let it go.
 Linking it up with Sir Thrift-a-Lot, Apron Thrift Girl, Penny Worthy Project, Young Heart and A Living Space.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cool Ideas for Spring Gardening

So, this week has been tough one. I've been on a special assignment for work and, unfortunately, it is a third shift deal. I am definitely a diurnal person and being up all night has really messed up my bio-rhythm and made me quite the tried pup. I've stayed in bed (either sleeping or just being lazy) most of the day. The "to-do" list has flown out the window.

I am also tired of winter. I am really yearning for spring and gardening and just being able to go outside without ice cold fingers and toes. I know it's coming...but I am impatient to say the least.

Here are some cool urban gardening ideas found floating around the Internet:

(I couldn't find the original source)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Operation: Feel Better

Monday will mark one week since I started Operation: Feel Better. Even though I had to travel (again) all week, I did well. I stuck to the Whole30 and I worked out every day except Friday (work and travel home prevented it). I am already feeling better, more energetic.
I'll admit a lot of this need to improve is based on age. I have had a hard time accepting that I am trucking very quickly into Middle Age Years. Take note, Youngin's, it goes fast! Next month I will be 42.5 years old. Wow, I really don't think I have ever said that here. I still feel much younger, but then maybe we always pretty much are the same with just added experience, hormones and responsibilities. I also have always been told I look younger (the guess is usually about 6 years minus the real number), but that seems to have tapered off in the past year or so. I think I caught up with my age (but this may be mind/matter issue. Who knows?!)
Anyway, just in the week I've been moving and eating less crap, I have notice I am not sitting around fretting about my forties as much. Or my job. Or my shitty marriage. Or all the crap I have to do. Really, what a stupid thing to waste time on! I have started to focus more on doing things like urban gardening, rehabbing the old 1900 house, purging, reading...all these things that make me happy! This is a bonus of physical health. I have always had an active, curious mind, but when I feel bad, I think bad. By being proactive on my health, I can feel my mind is starting to emerge from the fog of bad diet, stress, and inactivity. I have a long path to hike, but I am on it and this is important.

I have a thrifting post to write up sometime this weekend. I found few, but wonderful treasures this past week. The highlight was a stop at the Indianapolis Goodwill Outlet (I have a love/annoyance relationship with GW Outlets). To tease, I found a vintage camera, an old window (I'm building a repurposed greenhouse from old windows), and some great craft items! Thrift Lovers: Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Theodor Seuss Geisel

March 02, 1904-September 24, 1991
It's no secret that I have a huge crush on the late, great Theodor. In fact, in every single home I have had as an adult, I've kept a framed photo of my Ted. I believe I cut it from a magazine article I read about him the year he died (1991). I remember I was quite sad to hear of his passing; I'd been a fan since I was three.
Shortly after I read that he had died, I read his biography. Turns out for such a magically gifted artist, Ted experience his share of sorrow and mistakes. For example, he had an affair while married to his first wife (with the woman who became his second wife) and she killed herself (she was also mentally ill and had cancer). I also, around that time of obsession, found a book featuring some of his more adult art. It included these wonderful photographs of some of his carved fantastical taxidermy. Oh, how I wanted one! You know how some people fantasize about how they would spend a million lottery dollars? Well, mine always includes buying an original Dr. Seuss!
Like so many homes with children (OK, some without too!), Dr. Seuss is a favorite author around here. He was truly an original soul. We even celebrate his birthday like a proper holiday. The festivities begin with green eggs and ham (for the boys) and end with a wonky cake. We read a few favorite books and then watch a movie or two.
My favorite Dr. Seuss book is probably The Lorax. When I was pregnant with my first son, I dreamt I bought a copy at a bookstore. In my dream, I held a blond son. At that point in my pregnancy, I had had at least two ultrasounds (due to high-risk issues) and both had assured I was having a girl. Lily. I hadn't even bothered to pick out a male name. Fast forward a few months and out came a blond boy. See, the Lorax knew.
Two of my favorite Seussian quotes:
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

Friday, March 1, 2013

For Whole 30 Days

- See more at:

A couple of years ago, I made a change to help my body and mind. I gave up sugar and grains, began exercising and, within just a couple of weeks, felt great. I continued this for over a year. Carefully adding back whole grains, selecting healthy foods over processed and, you know what? I felt wonderful and full of energy. I also lost weight and dress sizes and could jog three miles without feeling like my lungs were going to jump out of my chest.

Fast forward: A job transfer, marriage stress, trials of work travel, a bully supervisor, weekend back and forth, Ohio valley allergies and raising my boys long distance has had it's toll. The worst thing, however, is that I went back to my old, bad eating habits. You can guess I quickly gained the weight back, the dress size is up again and I feel tired, congested, hopeless and depleted most days. I also sleep horribly.

The math is really not hard: Stress+Bad Foods+No Exercise+Allergies+Travel=Exhaustion & Depression.

Last week I traveled to southeast Kentucky for work. After work, while checking into the hotel, I noticed a pamphlet about the McCoy-Hatfield feud. Apparently, the majority of of it happened in the area I was staying in. I ended up walking to the cemetery where the majority of the McCoys are buried (I took the first photo on this post there). It was about a mile from the hotel. It also required a hike up three flights of stairs (it was located on a steep mountain side). By the time I reached the top, I literally thought I, or at least my heart, was going to die. I was happy no one but the dead were around to hear me huffing and puffing. I could have cried. All that hard work and habit changes...gone!

I constantly announce challenges I'm attempting here. I'm a challenge junkie. I also fail over and over (and I have a bag of excuses as to why I can't seem to stay focused). My main excuse is time. I am constantly busy and a month flies by before I realize it began. This time, however, I am challenging myself because I need to get my health straight. I cannot let myself down this time.

I've decided to take the Whole30 challenge. I am not affiliated with this program and have never tried it, but it's similar to the one I made up to get my health better two years ago. Only, this one is more tough: No dairy, grains, sugar, or LEGUMES! The latter is the hardest because I love beans and, as an almost vegetarian, I depend on beans for many of my meals. This means no black beans, lentals, dals, green beans, peanuts, peanut butter...oh, no! But, it's only 30 days. 30 days seem to march by in a flash.

I am starting this Monday. March, the official start of spring, seems like a good month to regain my health. I'll probably need a wish of luck, especially since I am traveling at least two weeks this month. I really don't want to flake out again. I want to be able to walk up three flights of mountain stairs and not sound like my Boston terrier when I reach the top. Enough said.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thrifted! The Usual Suspects

First up is this ugly thing. I have no idea what it is suppose to be (a display maybe?), but I didn't buy it for the state it is in currently. I bought it for the hardware stuck haphazardly all over it. I've mentioned a couple of times I am refurbishing a 1900 Shotgun house and I think this doorknob will be perfect. I also love the hooks and plan to make something for the bathroom (or kitchen). I plan basically dismantle this entire thing and reuse almost all of it in new ways (the wood will be outside shelves for my plants).
Close up of the beautiful hardware!

I cannot resist (cheap) milk glass. I have been hoarding it for years. As soon as I have better lighting in this house (i.e. after spring equinox), I'll do a collection post and share with you all that I have displayed. I have a lot. Perhaps you noticed another thing I hoard in this photograph: Miss Virgin Mary. I hoard vintage Mary planters as well. Despite a complete lack of religious bones, I heart, heart, heart Religionalia! I'll share that major collection on another day.

OK, it seems this was the weekend for finding all my classic collectibles. I really don't collect the really 'baby' planters anymore, but I could not resist this cutie lamb. I love it and did not already have it! I guess I can show you that (really) major collection one day as well. The other item is a glass storage container with a lid. I was thinking about buying one from Target this week, but I the thrift goddess prevailed! I plan to store dirt in it. Yes, you read correctly, I need a container to store seed starting soil as I am tired of leaky bags.

And, last-not-least, another great shelf. As a collector (i.e. see all of the above) I can always use more ways to show things off. My goal in the next couple of months is to purge and organize my collections. I am so tired of boxes. I know I have treasures packed away and I cannot wait to get them dusted and on display. This shelf will be slightly altered by adding vintage numbers to each of the boxes. I am thinking my cameras will fit nicely here. Yes, cameras...been hoarding those for years too.

Overall, I had a great thrifting weekend! How about you?

Linking to the these fun parties: Thriftasaurus, Nifty Thrifty, Apron Thrift Girl

Friday, February 22, 2013

Curious Life: February Edition

Sweet Lamb R.I.P.
Jade's Snow Day
Shotgun House R.I.P.
Spring's Eternal Hope/February Bloom

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Well, I know it's been awhile since I shared my thrifted goodies (or even blogged anything for that matter). As always, I state the excuse: work, work, work. Then, tired, tired, tired rounds out most days. Yet, I thrift on. I found the dusty barn shelf at a Indiana thrift store last weekend. I'm not sure where it will end up at this point.
My favorite thrift store near my home in KY closed this week. I think I am in the denial stage at the moment (see above: work 3X, tired 3X), but I am sure the rest of the mourning stages are right around the corner. Especially when the spring comes on full blast next month (please!) and beckons me outside. I went to the first day of 50% off everything, but most of it was gone. I bought a book about the Order Cetacea (whales & dolphins) that I had been eyeing for awhile. I didn't snap a picture. The above etched bowl is gorgeous and came from Bowling Green Habitat Restore. It will be a terrarium one of these days.
This is probably my favorite find from the last couple of weeks. I found it at the same thrift store as the barn shelf. It was 50% off day. It's beaded and very bohemian. I actually already have another with a slightly different style. I guess I'll need to find one more for a true collection. It'd only be fair, right?

What have you found this week?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Thrift Share Sunday

Some of you may have seen my thrift finds from the challenge I undertook on Friday. It was inspired by the hit song 'Thrift Shop" (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) and it was helluva fun to thrift with only $20 in my pocket! Check out the blog Young House Love for other participants. many had never (ever!) thrift shopped before! I especially love the one where the person found a shirt they loved, but wanted to wash it 15X before wearing. me? I've been known to thrift the perfect dress and wear it the same day! I do wash most thrifted items first, but if I'm really excited to wear something, I've been known to trust the old olfactory system. I guess I always think people could have tried on the clothes at the store just the same. Not that I'm judging; I guess I'm just a complete opposite of 'germ-a-phobe" frame-of-mind and find it funny! Well, I am a biologist. I guess that may have something to do with it. I know germs out number us no matter how often we wash something. Nevertheless, the challenge inspired a new crop to thrift. Hmm, I am on the fence on whether that is good or bad (my greedy side says, "Bad...")

Of course, the challenge items have not been my only thrift finds in the last couple of weeks. I thought I would purge the rest of the photos and show you the rest of my cool treasures. Most of these came from West Virginia; a few from Louisville thrifts.

I cannot resist animal planters. I've been collecting them for going on 20 years and someday I hope to thrift one of those vintage wooden half circle plant stands. I will fill that baby up with a zoo! I also snagged a great 3M racing game (Derby ready!), and a toy camera that apparently was a promotional hand-out for a Bratz movie. Check out the last photo for why I picked it up for 50c. I like to play around with these plastic cameras and this one should take really great awful photos!

 Deer, horse, fawns
blue bird, bulldog
3M Game (perfect for a Louisville residence) and a working toy camera
Sorry for the blur-just showing the used roll of film in the camera. I cannot wait to get it developed. I also found that kitty you see in the lower right. I bought her for the Etsy shop, but notice a tiny chip on one ear (I swear I checked at the store), so she is keeping my plants company for now.

Linking it up with these fun thrift share parties: Thriftasaurus, A Living Space, Apron Thrift Girl, Magpie Monday.

Friday, February 1, 2013

$20 in My Pocket

Remember when I said I was a challenge junkie? Well, now I have found one that is so customize for my alley, I just had to share!

My absolute favorite song right now is called "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. I first heard a snip-it of it on a Fresh Air interview with the band a few months ago and later someone posted it. All I can say is "Love!" In case you have not heard it, here's the link to the grown-up version of the song (i.e. if 'fuck' offends you, I think there is a PG version of the song as well).

Anyway, Young House Love (a really hip blog if you haven't heard of it) has schemed up with the most brilliant of all challenges: The (Completely Unofficial) Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge.

Here are the "rules":

Step #1. Go to a thrift shop with – just as the chorus of the song says – “$20 in your pocket” and take a picture.

Step #2. Spend that $20 any way you’d like and photograph your spoils.

Step #3. Find one item (or more) referenced in the song and snap a pic.

I believe they plan to have a link up (possibly today), so I plan to hit the thrifts here in a bit. I am waiting for the sun to warm things up a bit (including my frozen pipes! Eek! I blogged about it on the house blog if you're interested).

Here's how I did:

  1.  Natural history books, a book on the history of dogs, a vintage photo album (total $2) and the cutest little Singer sewing box ($4)
  2. Art supplies and sweet handmade art smock ($3)
  3. Close-up of the fabric.
  4.  My favorite find (and the cheapest at only 80c!). I'm not exactly Catholic, but my boys are. And I cannot resist Religionalia.
  5. Cute owl pillow that needs some cleaning (someone's cat loved it apparently) $2.
  6. Speaking of cats...$2
  7.  And, like a hole in the head, a vintage camera for the collection ($4). No more. I mean it.
I had $20 in my pocket...

And, here are not one, but two, items referenced in the song:

"Oh hell, he got the velcro..."

"Passin' on those moccassins someone else been walkin' in..."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Manhole+Dandelion+Tornado=KY Winter

Yesterday, on January 29, I found this little guy in my front yard. Of course, the warm temps and freshly blooming dandelion made me think about seed starting, urban gardening, and sunshine!

However, I must remember, we are still in the middle of winter and this manhole cover reminds me that the pipes in my old 1900 Shotgun can and did freeze just one week earlier on January 22. The temperature fell rapidly into the lower teens and I awoke to no running water. Incredibly, I had no damage and have since insulated the cellar just a wee bit better.
And, today, all of this climate confusion came barrelling to a head in the pre-dawn hours. I was jerked from my sleep by a sound of sirens. It took me a few minutes to realize it was the neighborhood tornado alarm. I jumped out of bed, grabbed the dog, and raced to a lower level closet. Apparently, 125 feet above me was the spiraling winds of a tornado. I waited awhile, then slowly crept back to bed. Then, I thought, today is January 30.

Friday, January 25, 2013

WV Bridge 3 Ways

Original taken with Canon Digital Rebel XT

Holga-ish (Picasa 3)

Lomo-ish (Picasa 3)
I've been experimenting with rogue photographs I snap here and there while on work travel (these are also for my 365 Project). I spent this week in NW and North Central West Virginia. I stumbled upon this old train bridge and loved the rusty-ness of the beams. It reminded me of my childhood visits to nearby Virginia. I had to be quick as the only place to pull over was clearly marked "No Parking at Anytime", so it is not the best composition. (In fact, a police vehicle cruised by only minutes after I pulled away from the spot.) 
My favorite is the last one (Lomo) as it accents the rust spots and warms it up a bit. It was bitter cold in WV yesterday; everything needed a little warming up. I hear it's suppose to be close to 65 on Tuesday in Louisville and I cannot wait. My toes and fingers could use a little Lomo-ish too.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Trees of the Living

My boss sent me this link today about the connection between trees and human health. Interesting enough, I worked on the Emerald Ash Borer project when the insect was new to the US. I witness the destruction of 1000's of infested trees. All the years spent cataloging trees of the Indiana forests were great years as far as jobs go (low pay, but really high job satisfaction), but I knew eventually we would see the rapid decline of our urban and wild forests. And, we are.

I also ran across this tree related bit on a blog I read. I haven't searched for the actual story she refers to, but the coincidence of the two pro-tree connections to our lives is not hard to miss. We are connected to the world around us. I took this rather boring photo last weekend, but after I downloaded it from the camera, I realized it looks a little bit like our nervous system. It's no secret that nature repeats her gorgeous artwork everywhere.

I really need to be pro-active on this one. In 2010 I moved from a nature-oriented, outdoor job to an urban one. I have no idea if it is connected, but I have seen a huge decline in my health over the last couple of years: weight gain, a general fatigue, a development of allergies where I had none, etc. If it is simply I have not spent enough time in nature, then I must return.

I plan to plant more trees in 2013 for our health and for the future. I plan to hike more, find more natural places to explore, take my self and my children back to the forest.

Image taken with Canon Rebel XT on January 12, 2013

Sucker for Challenges

A week or so ago, from another blog I love, I stumbled upon a "Cook the Books Challenge" on the wonderfully named blog: Grow and Resist. Being a lover of challenges (even though I have a real issue with staying focused on them), I quickly looked through the titles. One of my absolute favorite things to thrift is cookbooks. I have tons and have even put myself on a moratorium (unless it is really, really special!) on buying new ones. Really, I need to just purge some as well.

Anyway, back to this challenge, it so happens that I don't own even one of the books on the challengers' cookbook list. Because I am a sucker for challenges and have approximately  5,000 self-imposed ones going as it is, including one where I am trying to buy less, save money, blah, blah, blah...I decided to play along in a slightly altered, but hopefully fun way anyway. Instead of buying the listed books (or checking them out from the library), I looked around at the ones I have thrifted and picked out seven titles. I am going to attempt to cook the thrifted books between February and August (and possibly beyond depending how the ol' ADD pans out). I had actually once started a blog that centered vaguely around this concept called 52/A.Y.C.E, but I never posted anything. Maybe this will inspire me to look at the stuff I hoard (or at least inspire me to send them back to the thrifts whence they came!)

My Cook the (Thrifted)books:

February: Cooking with Sunshine
March: Cook 1.0: A Fresh Approach to Vegetarian Cooking
April: The Art of Simple Foods
May: A Baker's Odyssey
June: 1080 Recipes
July: A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook
August: Canning for a New Generation

The only one on the list that I bought new would be the last one. I bought it because I loved the blog and love to try new things to can. I think it's been at least a year since I bought it and have never cracked it open. Actually, I have never cracked any of them open. being said, I hope I can stick through with this one or else the used bookstore is going to get boxes of books to pick through come August!

Each month of the challenge, I will cook from and discuss the book. Feel free to find a "what I wear" post somewhere on that day! (I jest) I also plan to take a photo and, voila!, this will be part of my 365 Photo Project. Oh, one stone, two...

Feel free to play along (I'd love to see others cook their own thrifted books too!)

Linkin' Up with The Penny Worthy Project.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


One of my 2013 goals is to bake 13 new things. Pretzel bread is something that has floated around on my mental list of Things-I-Procrastinate-About-Doing for a couple of years now. I first tried it at a farmer's market here in Louisville and nearly ate the loaf I bought by myself. Actually, I did eat that loaf by myself.

I always thought it took a super skilled artisan to make bread with a pretzel texture and that wonderful taste found in certain mall franchises, but it turns out pretzel bread (or buns or rolls or actual soft pretzels) is really easy! I used this recipe. The only change I would suggest would be to make sure "generous amount of coarse salt" is to your individual tastes. Me? I'm not a big salt fan and ended up thinking I had not put enough on, so I keep adding and adding. My first taste after they came piping hot out of the oven was all salt. Fortunately, it's really simple to brush some of it off. Other than the salt, the buns tasted perfectly like a hot, soft pretzel. I made my mine into little buns (or rolls), but I could have easily made the signature twists on these guys. Either way, this baked goodie will be a repeat!