Thursday, January 29, 2009


It's the first time in a long time that I have an advantage. Yes, these challenging economic times, which call for extreme measures, has put me at an advantage when it comes to thriftiness. Being dirt poor for a good part of my adult life and all of my childhood has left me with some amazing skills. I kind of think of myself as hard to beat in this category. Now Kelly (daughter number one) has inherited these amazing abilities and has been trained by the best--in my not-so-humble opinion. We can--get this--seriously sniff out a good deal. I am not kidding. We have been known to walk into a thrift store while on vacation--usually our first stop, even before the hotel--and just by smelling the air, be able to identify the store as great, okay, or not so-great (really we say, "smells like c**p," but that's not so nice to put on a blog, is it?) for finding the deal of the day. And we are, I think, 100% right every time. Correct me if I'm wrong, Kelly--but not in public.

Now before you go saying that anyone can identify what smells like c**p, it's not a literal smell--I don't think. It's just some hard to explain thing we can do. Take for instance our local GW Boutique, it really doesn't smell all that great, and several people I know will not go there because they think it smells like, well, c**p. But Kelly and I find amazing deals there. So, you see, it can't be the literal smell.

I have a few things that I cannot possibly live without. Even when I could not afford chewing gum, I bought fabric softener. I am a smell person--already told you about my amazing talents; therefore, I know that regardless of what something smells like on the rack, I can perform miracles in a matter of minutes with my little blue bottle.

Every outfit below was recently purchased for $10 or less. Now remember, I'm old, so my taste may not be your taste, but a bargain is still a bargain. Occasionally an accessory will push the total up, but not much. Kelly and I have been planning a get-together with some like-minded, bargain-loving friends. Once a month our local GW Boutique (gotta call it that in public when people ask where I got something) has a half-price weekend. The plan is to meet there, find an outfit for under $10--we'll help them since this is supposed to be fun and we're just that way--and then finish with lunch and a fashion show.

I'd also love for some blog world friends to link up to this party with your finds as well. Fabulous Fashion Finds is the theme for now.

jimmy z's shirt, $2 (GW)
skirt, $3 (GW)
starfish necklace, $2.50 (Michael's)

jacket, $3 (GW)
scarf, $1.50 (market)
(clothes still under $10)

jeans, $3 (GW)
Ashley Judd shirt, $2 (GW)

green shirt, lace trim, $2 (GW)
corduroy jacket, $3 (GW)
scarf, handmade, priceless

oh-so-cool bird necklace, $2.50 (Michael's)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I love blog world--when I'm not hating blog world. Don't get me wrong, it has been a great avenue for inspiration, information, keeping connected, getting to know folks, learning new skills, etc. It's been an escape when I couldn't afford a vacation and needed to get out of Dodge and a companion when I have felt very alone. Staring at my computer screen, wrapped in my cozy robe, I have laughed when I needed to laugh and cried when I needed to cry. Of course, that's the love part.

The same world has assaulted me when I was down by making me feel inadequate and invisible. At times, if I'm not careful, it feeds my insecurities and reminds me of the sins that so easily beset me like jealousy and discontentment.

Patty, a new blogger, posted something that really spoke to my heart yesterday. She wrote--composed would be a better word and quite poetically I might add--about how sometimes a dream is just naturally sacrificed in the process of making choices--no matter how great or noble the choices. (my paraphrase, forgive me, Patty) Blog world can be a reminder of dreams that will never be fulfilled. Seeing others apparently living *my* dreams can stir up emotions better left in hibernation. And facing the demons of bad choices--mine and others--that killed dreams along the way can be excruciating.

Reminders of the sovereignty of God in all things are needed daily and sometimes hourly. Every choice, every decision--no matter how insignificant--set into motion the here and now. It's not the season to go all George Bailey on you, nevertheless, other choices along the way would have dissolved most of what my life looks like now. Interesting. Who would I prefer not knowing? I won't answer that. Which child would I like to have not delivered? Well, I better not answer that one either. What would the chances of ever living in the state that bleeds orange have been if just one of my *lost* dreams had come true? Probably no chance. That one was much easier to answer. *grin* You probably get my point.

Obviously, nothing has caught God by surprise, and He most definitely knew exactly where I would be in 2009, and He has prepared me as He saw fit for such a time as this. It's my responsibility to remain faithful, willing, and teachable. As long as blog world provides me with opportunities to laugh and cry and think, while challenging me to go deeper with Him--even through the exposing of those besetting sins, I'll be here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I went to the most awesome auction yesterday with my son, Michael. I had not planned to go, but when Michael called me and told me that there was some good stuff, I figured it would be nice to spend some time with him. I always find auctions entertaining, and this one did not disappoint. My only regret was that I didn't bring my camera; although I'm not sure the interesting folks I saw would have appreciated me snapping pictures of them spitting and woofing down the nachos, hotdogs, and other such nourishing auction fare while sitting amongst their winnings.

There really was only one thing that I was interested in--given my economic state. There would have been plenty of things if I had money to play with, and I wasn't trying to get rid of stuff. The item that caught my eye was a chandelier.

This was a consignment auction, so the variety was quite interesting. Living just a few blocks from the auction came in handy--translated to mean that I did not have to use the porta-potty or eat the auction fare. So at lunch time when they took a break from the inside stuff to do the cars, trucks, campers, bobcats, etc. , we ran home. Since we hadn't bought anything at this point, we decided to go back and hopefully, our items would come up. And did they ever!

Anyway, after a week of feeling like a loser--this day made up for it. The first item I bid on was the lovely armoire below. They started the bidding at $100, which we jumped on--or should I say hollered at. The crowd seemed to go mute or something. Nobody else bid against me. Nobody. My mouth dropped open when the autioneer yelled, "SOLD!" I still am dumbfounded. Once word got out about my unbelievable deal, other family members started showing up to cheer me on or rub my shoulder hoping to catch a portion of my blessing.

If you haven't been to an auction, believe me, it is unusual for the crowd to go mute. Trust me. And then it happened again and again and again. With the exception of one item, nobody said anything when I bid. Is that a blessing or what? Even the one item someone fought me for only involved a bid war of $2.50! I do realize that by late afternoon when the crowd had thinned as well as the remaining folks' pockets, this worked to my advantage! But there were still dealers there who somehow missed their opportunities to fight it out with me. Go figure!

ironstone dishes, $5
chair for Kenzie, $5
blue vase, free (gift from neighboring bidder)

Towards the close of the day, the chandelier had still not been offered. Husband Michael asked the guy if they'd put it up, and he said they would not. I was a bit disappointed since that was the reason I had spent the entire day there. The lady in front of us, who owned a shop in a nearby town, went and talked to somebody; and the next thing we knew, the chandelier was up. The bidding started and ended at $25. Once again, the crowd went mute!

We got another interesting light fixture for $5, once again being the only bidders. Some family members did not find that surprising.

I had to fight it out for the chair below, finally winning it for $10.

My last purchase was four pieces of old ceiling tin. It was my only mistake of the day. They started the bidding at $10, and I lifted my number. I should have yelled, "FIVE!" instead. My family would then chastise me because my enthusiasm cost me $5. The crowd was once again--you got it--mute! I have no idea what I will do with it; but wherever it ends up, I'm sure it will always scream at me that I overpaid!

As I finish this post, I am reminded that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps those of you reading this think I ended up with a bunch of junk. If so, please don't tell me so. A water pipe broke in our house this morning and the hot water heater gave up the ghost. Let me revel in my one day of seemingly unexplainable good fortune while sitting in my pajamas with my teeth unbrushed.

Monday, January 12, 2009


The amazing sewing/embroidery machine is a Brother. I bought it from Home Shopping Network because they had a deal at the time. I don't think they are carrying this particular one any longer. They have another one that is similar, but it cost a bit more than I wanted to spend. A friend bought the same one as I did at about the same time, and she is happy with it as well. There is still a lot for us to learn about the embroidery, but so far it's been fun! Two features that I absolutely love are the automatic needle threader and the automatic thread cutter. It is so much easier teaching someone how to sew on a machine like this!

I kind of pride myself on being thrifty and knowing where the bargains are, so was quite impressed with the scouting abilities of a new-to-the-area friend. Who knew that just a few miles down the road there is an incredible discount furniture store. Well, I know now! I have been on the lookout for a desk for Tessa's art/sewing/computer area. Up to now, she's made do with a plastic collapsible table with a nifty plastic tablecloth. I am thrilled with the Pottery Barn-looking desk I got for----are you ready?----$89! Love it! Pay no attention to the attempt at leveling. Just part of living in a 150 year old house! Scary, I know!

Sunday, January 04, 2009


probably the best 12-year-old daughter
in the whole wide world
not looking to pick a fight
just stating facts

not only cute and sweet and obedient
but useful and talented as well

in addition to many other things
she is now my personal monogrammer

amazing what she can do with that new machine
probably the best birthday present ever

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Stair Redo

Christmas break always finds me feeling compelled to do *something* noticeable around the house--not just clean up the Christmas decorations, although that is noticeable! It just wouldn't feel right going back to school without unloading/investing another huge dose of creativity into The Boxmoor!

The stairs--all 17 of them got a facelift over the last two days! Eventually, I would like to carpet them--I know, at least 62 of you could give me ten reasons why that would be a bad idea, but I am a realist: It's just a matter of time before one of us falls down those things! And they cannot be refinished because of the condition. So until we can add the padding for the inevitable fall, what better place to use up that leftover wrapping paper that I loved!

I'm considering wall words or numbers on the black backs. Kelly and I have had a lot of discussions, but nothing has been *it* so far. Any opinions?



Bookcase Redo

I wanted to paint the bookcases upstairs to kind of match the TV cabinet. I was not up to removing all the books--since I had just done that during a purge earlier in the week--or painting all the shelves--since I really don't enjoy painting all that much. Also, I did not have that much time or energy to invest. I am happy with just the shell being painted and would love to add some decorative painting similar to the TV cabinet one of these days! Also, I had picked up an interesting piece of wood a few months ago for $1 along with several cabinet doors. I ordered a really cool wall word that said create, but it didn't fit. I had to go with plan b and would like to add some decorative painting and some snazzier tassles to it as well.