Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thrifting Catchup

This post about thrifting is brought to you by Ariel The Wonder Dog!

Ariel is probably wondering why she wound up in a post about thrifting. Well, besides the fact that she is cute as heck and very photogenic, as well as my faithful and devoted companion, she is a thrifted dog. Ariel was an abused and neglected dog rescued by an agency and adopted out to a friend of the family. She has some quirks, but things went along well until their family got two smaller dogs that she could bully. Things got out of hand, and she needed a new home. She and I hit it off, and I asked to adopt her. She's lived with me on the farm a good part of the summer, until I hurt my knee, and right now she is staying with my family at the old homestead while I recuperate. She should be back with me very soon, because I sure do miss her, and she misses me too. So yep, even my dog is thrifted.

Ariel weighs about 26 lbs and she is about the size of a beagle, the perfect size dog for me to walk. And we have fields all around the farm we can wander through. The perfect exercise for a busy writer chained to her keyboard most of the day.

Ah, but you came here to see my other thrifting finds didn't you? Shall we begin?

I didn't get out very often this summer. I spent most of my time here at the farm working in the garden and writing. But I made a couple of trips, and another one today. Had a blast, I was overdue for an outing.

These start with a trip to a local Salvation Army store back in July, the first one since we bought our farm. It was supposed to be just a quick stop to find a decent comforter for the bed I have here.  I found one in reasonably good shape, but for some reason, never took a picture of it. You're not missing much! 

That heavy old aluminum stockpot was the first thing I grabbed. It's in great shape. Aluminum is good for anything that is not acidic. The Corelle dinner plates I needed, I had hardly any dishes here at the time.  I'm splitting my stuff between two households and where I had a surplus, now we are always running short of things. Thrift stores give me usable items at a very low price, and I am long past the stage where I care what matches the decor! I have a happy chaos of household items. I like Corelle because it's tough and forgiving. I have a thing for the glass votive holders and anything celestial. The little wooden plaque looks good on the wall with all my copper molds, and not a week before I bought it, I took a picture of two cedar waxwings like that sitting in a pine tree above my garden. I the country!

I liked the upright shape of the little bowl, and didn't mind the interior scratches. I used it for apples and for onions, but once Ariel came into my life, it became her water bowl. It holds just enough to stay fresh all day long.

I've seen these waterers for the birds in catalogs for around $17. I saw one at Lowes today for $12. I paid $2.99, and had to clean some brown algae stains out of the base. I hung it all summer long next to the garden bird feeder and it was very popular. Some of the birds used it to wash their worms off in it, I would find bits of them in the water cells. I know, ewww! But at least they used it.

I didn't get to go again until September, but hit the same Salvation Army. Both trips I was careful not to overload myself with lots of stuff, since I have barely scratched the surface of moving my stuff over here yet. I was fussy what I bought. The Ikea plate, weird knife and big serving spoon were impulse buys, but I really needed the hot mats. The pasta book has recipes for homemade pasta. Roger said he was making his own, and I was inspired to buy it because of that. So it's really all his fault...

Anybody who reads my thrifting and shopping posts on a regular basis knows what a sucker I am for art and craft supplies. Getting them at a fraction of the original price is even better. I've seen rubber stamps that size and detail for ten dollars or more. That one set me back a whopping $1.99, and the beads were 99¢. I don't know why I wanted that tattered little box purse, but I own it now.

As I've said, I do love Corelle. These are what I would call salad plates, but most nights, that's the size I eat off of. They hold plenty. I got two of these blue ones...

...and three of these red ones. They are beat up, but cleaned nicely in the dishwasher. These seem to be old patterns, I've never seen them before.

I also got two flat pasta bowls, I love these!

I got three of these green line soup/cereal bowls. It was nice to have some extra dishes in the cupboards, which were looking pretty barren. I was able to send a few things back to the other house, where there are more people competing for them.

I'm a country girl at heart, always have been, always will be. I remember the 70s, with all the 'back to the land' emphasis. I loved my John Denver albums, the Foxfire books told you everything you needed to know, and Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening Magazine were favorite reads. Holly Hobbie was big back then, and I always loved her little poke bonnet, calico dress and patchwork apron with the big old workboots. That was me back then, and it's still me now, albeit I seldom wear dresses and don't have a poke bonnet. Got the aprons and workboots though! LOL The back loop on this one is shot, so I am looking for a small plate hanger or stand so I can display it. It's heavy for a small thing.

My Shabby Chic find of the summer, a lovely little painted chest missing one handle. The inside has a worn velvet lining. Not sure what I will do with it yet, but I do love it. 

Yeah, that wall behind the fridge needs painting and the floor looks mucky. All in due time...

Now we're starting today's thrifting finds. Today I was not concerned about economy or how much stuff I have to move. Today I decided life is short and I needed to get out and have some fun. I put money in my wallet that I could afford to spend, and out I went. Lee was my chauffeur and fellow bargain hunter. We did some necessary shopping first, and then hit the thrift store, the very same Salvation Army. And the Gods and Goddesses of Thrifting were with me...

I need kitchen chairs. Besides the fact that the few that were left here are in fair shape at best, I just found out the family wants to have Thanksgiving dinner here this year. Yikes! Where was I going to sit everyone? They said don't worry, we'll move the big old 2-leaf table over, but I have 4 chairs for that, and that's about it. Here I have 3 shaky wooden ones, an ugly and uncomfortable industrial metal chair, and a bench to go with the maple trestle kitchen table. Well anyway, I am walking up to the storefront, not thinking about chairs at all because I actually rationalized this trip because I need old saucers to put beneath plants. And these three old beauties were sitting out on the concrete walk outside. Stopped me right in my tracks, because I have big old Captain's chairs for my other table, similarly in need of refinishing, and these are in such good shape. So I look them over and I am all excited, because chairs like this at some used furniture places are generally $25 or more. The two end ones were stickered $9.99  and the more worn one in the middle was $6.99. While I am turning them upside down to check rungs and so on, Lee gets me a saleslady, and she says all furniture is 25% off today... So, $21 and change later, we have 3 chairs stuffed in the back seat of his car, and I have only made it in the door far enough to pay for them. I still needed to shop!

I bought a bunch of Corelle they had together for one price. I didn't need the cups or saucers, but it was a package deal. No dinner plates or the little dessert bowls I need, but I do have a few of the dessert plates now. This pattern I know is Woodland Brown, and I am very fond of it because back in 1981 I bought myself a box of 4 place settings for my first apartment. As I recall, it didn't have these cups but the uglier ones with the 'flap' handles. I kind of like these. The little cover on the sugar bowl is plastic, so they cheaped out on that. But I was happy to get more of them, most of my set is gone now. The aftermarket sellers get almost $3 for a small plate. I got the entire batch for $12.95. More than I usually spend on thrifted items, but I'm not complaining...

OK, some of these were impulse buys. The English willow ware is faded and it's not a big name like Royal, but it brings back memories of my grandmother and aunt, who loved it. The little square Pyrex dishes I have found out are called 'Fridgies'. Both of the lids have chips on the edge, most of my old Pyrex casserole lids have suffered the same fate. If you use them, they're going to get battered. I bought them anyway. The ceramic plats and saucers in the background are what I got for plants, to legitimize the trip. I might just use the saucers and eat off the plates, I haven't decided.

I will likely never buy another set of flatware. I'm having too much fun playing mix & match with my thrifting finds. Interestingly enough, any guest we've had eat with us usually comments favorably about how eclectic my flatware is. I go through bins and pick out stuff I find sturdy and useful, as well as unusual. Everyone in my household has favorite pieces that they covet. We all fight over the single stainless steel 'spork', so I smuggled it here to the farm. LOL

I bought a bunch of flatware again today because here I have like 3 of this, 5 of that, and sometimes have to pull dirty utensils from the dishwasher and hand wash so that I have something to eat with besides my fingers! Steak knives I will buy new because I want them sharp, but everything else is fair game, and the older, more solidly designed pieces are my favorite. It was good pickings today, and they all are in the dishwasher drying tonight, along with all the other pieces that didn't need to be hand washed only.

I have no idea where our old cast iron frying pan set went, but this one was brand new and unused so I grabbed it. It got a washing by hand tonight, and has been left out to dry completely. Now that I have my oven working and some shortening, it will get seasoned. I'm dying to make homefries or hash browns in the big one. Cast iron on a gas cooktop is going to make them nice and crusty.

I've been collecting copper molds like these for almost 30 years. I don't care if they're not collector's items, or whether they are for use or just decorative, though I have used a few over the years. I just love the shapes, the details, and the shine. I have about half of my collection up in the kitchen here at the farm now, and added these three today. All are in good condition, though the picture makes them look icky, and I hadn't washed any of them yet. I have one of those pineapple molds already, and a different kind of heart that is bigger with a basket weave effect. That fish is pretty large. My kind of wall art! I passed up a few more that were either too battered or similar to some I have and didn't want to repeat.

I'm a baker, so cookie cutters get my eye. I have tubs full now, but will likely pass some along to the kids. The latch hook and ivy stamp were a no brainer, I'm a crafter too. And I have new walls to decorate here...

I wandered through the clothing before we left, looking for another big comfy bathrobe. No such luck but I did find this kitty dorm shirt. Yeah, I'm short, but otherwise an armful of woman, so it's a 2X. Love the light gray color with the charming little print below. 

Lee is an enabler, I can't go anywhere with him without him feeding my addiction. He called me over because there was a rack with some yarn. Most of it I resisted, because I literally have big covered tubs full of this stuff stacked together at the other house, but this lonesome ombre begged to come home with me. How could I say no?

And that was my purchases for today. I spent more than I should have, but I have not been able to get out much lately. Between the house sitting, storms (how about a hurricane and then a freak snowstorm both knocking out your power twice in 2 months?), a torn something-or-other in my left knee, and endless writing; I was getting cabin fever. I have my holiday money set aside, my bills are paid, and today I bought important things for the house, like curtains, a clock, and a kitchen timer. The thrifting was for me, so once more I could have an outing with the thrill of the hunt. Tomorrow, I will have to put everything away that I washed, and then I will sit down and write like a fiend again, because I do have some deadlines to meet. But today was fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed running away from home and buying someone else's castoffs. It does help to know the money I spent will help other folks less fortunate this holiday season, and all year round.

One last thing here, because amongst all this country sweetness, there is always lurking inside me the soul of a writer. And what I love to write is pretty exotic compared to the way I live. So back in July, as I was ready to leave a craft store, I spotted the figurine below, and I just had to have her! 

This is Medusa, and she was sitting on a shelf along with a whole bunch of other fantasy collectibles. I had been picking over charms and beads and so on when I saw her, and she was very insistent that she must come home with me. She now is sitting pretty on the top of my PC tower in my writing corner of the dining room here at the farm, threatening to turn me to stone if I don't get something on the page. 

The average person is not going to find her particularly attractive. If you've made it this far down into this blog post, you already know I am far from average in my tastes and interests.

When I turned 50 about four and a half years ago, I stopped worrying about what people think of me. I do what I do because it pleases me. I display things that I enjoy because it says something to me about my life.

Today I wore a dark green tie dye 
tee shirt with dragons on it, and a bunch of mixed jewelry that I like regardless of the style differences. My hair is long and unruly, and shot with silver strands on the crown and temples. My eyes have crinkles around them because I work in the garden in the sun, and I love to laugh and crack jokes. No one seemed offended that a plump middle aged mother and grandmother was running around looking like she walked out of a fairy tale book with some of the pages stuck to her. Maybe because I don't care.

When I look in the mirror, or look around my home, I see myself everywhere, and I feel at peace in my house and in my own skin. I hear a song I love from back in the day, and I sing it out loud. I see things that remind me of the happy times, and I want to decorate my world with them. It's me being me, and that's a very good way to be.

You be an original too, there's no one out there quite like you. Carpe Diem! 



Lee Houston, Junior said...

I am NOT an "enabler". You know you would have bought that yarn eventually no matter what I said.
Lee, your humble chauffeur.

~Nancy said...

If this keeps up I will need a 12 step program.

Beth Blakely said...


Would you be interested in republishing your posts on VibrantNation.com as part of Our Blog Circle? We are the largest online community for Vibrant Women 50+ -- the place where they connect and support each other on issues unique to life after 50, including fashion, beauty, family, relationships, work, money and sex.

If you're interested in expanding your audience and participating in a community of women like you, send me an email: beth@vibrantnation.com.

All the best,

Nancy said...

Sorry it took me so long to catch up with you Beth, I've had a few writing deadlines to meet lately. But yes, I would be interested in getting involved with VibrantNation, and will be in touch with you ASAP.

Thank yopu for asking, and welcome to our blog!