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Friday, April 30, 2010

Fun thrift store finds; busy days

In between weeding through a ton of color choices and mixing paint, which I've narrowed down to 5

and watching the mister rip out the back splash and helping him hang a few cabinets

and enjoying seeing the kids in their production of "Mulan" at our roadshow,

I was able to squeeze in a quick stop to the local thrift store. And I mean quick. I had just about a half an hour to spare and wasn't really thinking of going.
But on my way home from roadshow practice, I decided to make a detour. Luckily for me it was 50% off day on everything.
When I go shopping, I first keep my eyes out for the dishes I collect and then for anything quirky that might work in the house.

I immediately spotted quirky and familiar. Little owlie is like the other I have but in electrical form. When I got home, I plugged him in and it worked. Half off of $2.99. Into the cart he went.

I always check out the frames wherever I go shopping. These were purchased at a different store. After I picked up Charley from school she asked if I could drive her to the Goodwill. She likes to look for fabric and clothes that she can deconstruct.

When I walked in I saw the big blue bins that the workers wheel around which hold the Target and Pottery Barn merchandise. An employee told me they usually arrive on Saturdays but Wednesday was my lucky day - Two Pottery Barn kids artwork for $1.97 each minus 10%. The original price tags were on the back for $30.00. They were an even better price than the outlet store.

I noticed a gentleman waiting behind me as I had to bend down to pick them up. He followed me down the aisle and asked if he could see them. I handed a frame to him and he told me he was an art collector. I said, "Oh, they're nothing valuable, just home store artwork." He looked them over and handed them back telling me I had a good deal. It crossed my mind that this could be a "crazy people moment," but it wasn't - whew.


Back at the half off store, I couldn't pass up these items: a vintage tablecloth and chenille - 6 bucks. Hello.

Along the dishes and glassware aisle, I am only on the lookout for Transfer ware. I looked down onto a stack of plates and saw the brown edges of these. My name was all over them and at 1.99 each, minus 50% off, what a deal it was. A steal really. So for around $13.00, I made off with some fun finds. I had enough left over for a naked burrito from Qdoba and some more paint samples. I don't know which made me happier.

I am still working on the finds from 2 weeks ago so I'll tell you about those later. One item had great old marble. Enter a nice elderly gentleman and a store mishap...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On being banned

A sneak peak - the thrift store table I got for 9.99. Soon to be given a face lift.


Last week was extremely busy and this week is shaping up to be also. Somehow, I managed to squeeze in a thrifting trip. I know, surprise, surprise. Later in the week I'll elaborate more on the cool finds and what I am doing with them. Let's just say it was a good trip and there were hilarities and hi jinx involved. Which got me thinking about a thrift shop excursion I went on in Hilton Head, SC.


We lived there for 3 years and one day I decided to take break from the ocean. I had heard about this thrift shop where the line to get in wrapped around the building. This intrigued me. People wait in line to go thrift shopping?? Apparently, all of the wealthy people like to get new stuff every year so they donated to this place. I had to see.



So, I went and sure enough there was a line. I stood for a little while with my kids, though, not very long. At the time my kids were 9, 7 and 2 years old. Charley had to use the restroom right away so we made a beeline for the back of the store. Suddenly, I was tapped on the shoulder. I spun around to look behind me. (It was just like in the movies where someone turns and doesn't see anyone so they look down and there is this honey-I-shrunk-the-kids person.)


I did that. I looked down and this small person was standing there. I'm not so tall myself so for her to be smaller than me was something.


"Yes?" I said

Trembling, she said, "You can't be in here."

Thinking I didn't hear her correctly, I asked "I beg your pardon?"

She asked how old the kids were and I told her. She said there was a sign posted at the front stating there were no kids allowed.


Smiling I said, "You're kidding, right? Am I on a hidden camera show?"


"No." she said. Then I noticed that this person was a security guard! A security guard at a junk store! A security guard with a hand over her hip pocket as if to keep track of a weapon.



"Are you packing?!" I said.

She looked a little confused.


"Oh, it's just a radio, thank goodness." I remarked.


Charley was now next to me dancing around, almost in tears. She was doing the "cross-legged" dance and I told Belen to take her to the restroom, "Quickly!"

The worried guard said, "Uhhh..." And I politely reminded her that there was going to be a mess so she could at least let her use the bathroom and then we'd leave. She agreed.


The manager, a smartly dressed woman in her 60's, came over to see why there were evil children in the store. I assumed she was a volunteer for the church that sponsored this shop. Which, by the way, was not affiliated with this store any more.


I asked why kids were not allowed in the store.


"Oh, I love children. I have 2 of my own and I have grandchildren" she said as she turned her head with a sigh at the preposterousness of the question.


"Then why aren't they allowed to be here? You do realize that most people who shop at stores like this are mothers? Mothers that need to bring their kids with them."


"Oh, yes, I understand. I was a stay-at-home mother too, we all were at one time" and then she said, "BUT IF I ALLOW ONE IN WE'D HAVE TO COUNT THEM AS A PERSON AND I JUST CAN'T DO THAT." (Caps added to emphasize her ridiculous words.)


Because only 200 people were allowed in the store at any given time, they didn't allow children, making way for the adult spenders. "It's a safety issue." she said.

By this time, the kids were back and Reese was getting heavy. So, we began to make our way out of the store. The smug manager was following us, trying to sell me on the place, telling me they "gave over a million dollars to charities" that year and *gasp* "some were "CHILDREN'S charities."


"That's nice" I said dryly.

She just rolled her eyes and sent the security guard, whose hand was still on the radio, to continue to escort us. Some shoppers, noticing the debate that had ensued, stood and watched. My escort was like Moses parting the Red Sea.



"Ever had to use that thing, like call for back-up or something?" I said.

I finally got a laugh from her, "No" she replied.

"Is this the most action you've gotten at this store?"

"Yes, thanks" she said smiling.

"My pleasure. Thanks for not letting my kids wet the floor. That was nice of you; you do a good job."


And with that she opened the door for us and Reese waved "bye bye." She waved back and shut the door.

On my way out, I felt like shouting "Norma Rae, Norma Rae!"


And that is the story of how I was banned.

*post edit* I looked up the website of this store and now they only ban children under 6 in the store. Progress.



Linking up to Twee Poppets' Tuesday Tag-along and Midday Escapades' Friday Follow

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stylist to the stars

On Wednesday night, I helped Blair brush her teeth, kissed her good-night and tucked her into bed. The next morning, Charley emerged from the bedroom holding a chunk of long, blond hair. She said, "Mom, I found this next to Blair's bed. It's all over the place!"

I immediately went into the room and saw that Blair was under the covers. Kneeling beside the bed, I pulled back a Hello Kitty comforter to wake her. I noticed that long strands of hair were all over her pajamas. I thought that it must be itchy.
She must have cut it before Charley went to bed since she has a later bed-time. Blair was already under the covers and hiding her hair when Charley came into the room so she didn't notice what had happened.

"Who did this? I won't be mad." I said. She began to cry but told me it was her and she didn't know why she cut it.
"Because you are four." I replied. That seems to be the only explanation on why kids do the things they do - their age. Charley did the same thing, only she didn't have bangs and looked like Little Lord Fauntleroy. It was the cutest thing ever.

And even though we told Blair we'd rather not have her do this, she did a pretty good job.


The first look at her new do. Uh oh.
The second look at her new do and liking what she sees.

Blair after going to the salon which made her very excited.
Kitty from "That 70's show," anyone?

Oh, kids and laughter go hand in hand.
Daily doses of humor expected.
That's good, don't you think?

linking up to New Friend Friday

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It isn't easy being green






While I was trying to clean up the lake that was in my bathroom yesterday, I was called upstairs to clean another mess.
Luckily I stopped Trae, a.k.a. David Banner, from completely turning into the Hulk.
It was a good photo op anyway.
Linking up to Friday Follow at Midday Escapades

Monday, April 19, 2010

The one with the butter-knife haircut

Do you remember when I told you about this story?

The other day we were at the store and my husband said,
"Hey, I saw your friend."

"Oh yeah? Who?", I asked.

"The guy you identified. You know, the one with the butter-knife haircut" he said.

I chuckled at his description of the hair. That's J classic I always say, with a dry and quick wit. After the self check-out, we were on our way. No sign of my friend anymore.

As I was passing the service desk, I noticed employee awards displayed on the bulletin board for all to see. One was for customer service, another was for employee of the month and the other was titled, "All eyes on YOU." That is where a member of management catches one in the act of doing something good and commends him/her for it.

Well, guess who received the "Eyes on YOU" award??
Yes, the friend I "identified."

So, I guess we all can change and have moments of excellence.
And, recognition for it is needed.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thrift store picks - the sweet smell of vintage

Sometimes vintage smells like mothballs which isn't good. Luckily for me, that wasn't the case.
This week's picks were inexpensive and the sweet smell of (vintage) success was keeping a budget of $10.00. For less than 9 bucks, all four items have, or will have, a place in my home.

Let's take a look.

First up - the pennant.

Like the other I have shown, this one is from a surrounding area school. I found it at a large antique mall. At only 2 dollars, I felt like I was getting a BOGO (buy one get one free) because of the sweet little pin attached. It will be displayed in the boys' room once I have finished painting. I am done with the prep and have paint on the walls. The rest of the paint treatment may take a few more days, maybe more than few. But it'll get there and the pennants will look great.



At a thrift shop I found another transfer ware dish for my collection. I even left on the price tag to show you that enhancing your home with things you like, does not have to be expensive.
It was even less than a chocolate bar...and lower in calories.

Although not vintage, this pillow sham is made from chenille and nothing screams vintage and cottage (to me) more than chenille. I picked up two for $2.99 each and they will go perfectly in Charley's updated (modern) cottage bedroom. They are soft and well-made. I didn't even have to cut up an old bedspread to try to make these - whew!

So there you go, my weekly round-up of antiquing and thrifty fun. I hope your next excursion produces some great finds.
When you go shopping, do you have an idea of what you're looking for or do you wait and see what catches your eye?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A mother's letter to a birthday boy

Dear Trae man,

The past two years that you have been part of this family
has been some of the happiest days for us,
for me.

The joy you brought to our home was Heaven sent
and with you came a sense of excitement and fun.

Never has a little brother been so anticipated and loved.
Never has my heart been so full of joy when I wake to see your face each morning.

Before you were born,
I was beginning to feel that my role as a mother
wasn't as important as I once thought.
But then you came
and renewed my Spirit.
You reminded me that we are doing a good job
with your sisters and brother.

And life is good.

You have been the best way to round out this family.
I love to see your personality develop everyday.
I know there will be times when I scold you, ground you and maybe yell, too.
Forgive me.

I hope you know I just want the best for you, always.

You have been the best for me.

Happy Birthday Dear 2 year-old.

I love you,
Momma

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In search of mid-century and Craigslist red flag phrases

Last weekend I posted and sold the baby crib on Craigslist. It was my first ever posting.

Due to the overwhelming response by way of e-mails I received, it crossed my mind that I sold it too low. Oh well, it is Craigslist after all. Most items are gently used and in some cases, heavily used. So why some strangely high prices? Have you noticed that?? I guess it's human nature to feel that some of our belongings are more valuable than they really are. That's okay but unless it is a high end antique like a Thomas Seymour table, furniture doesn't usually appreciate.

In addition to posting, I also purchased. I have been looking for a mid-century modern dresser for a long time now. I found 3 of them and each time, I was a day late in getting in contact with the seller. I was the second person in line every time and I knew the person ahead of me would take it.

Finally on Saturday I spotted another one and I liked the posting:
Dresser - 20.00.
I like the straight forward approach.

So after telling asking my husband if we could go on a 45 minute drive, we took off in search of the dresser. Jon's good this way even though I know he was wondering why I was buying more stuff. "The boys need this," I said.
Even Reese said, "Mom, remember I like antiques" when I told him I was re-doing his room. No kidding. Love that boy.

It was not the 5 foot dresser that I wanted. It was actually 6 feet and is probably too big for the boys' room but I wasn't going to pass it up and the lines were good.
With a little maneuvering down a narrow and winding staircase, Jon was able to fit it into the car. He is an expert mover and doesn't complain at my harebrained ideas. Love that boy.

It is similar to the one shown below. The white trim is actually a walnut color on the one we purchased and the rest is a lighter shade. There are no handles either, which I prefer.
I plan to change it up a bit and make it cohesive with the new bunk bed. Wish me luck.

So when looking for furniture, here are some of my favorite Craigslist phrases to watch out for:

1. "Unique," usually means an ugly piece of furniture.

2. "Must see to appreciate," means it's so bad we can't find the words to describe it. Essentially saying, 'Just get here and you'll see what we mean and maybe you'll feel obligated.'

3. "Must take both (or all)" - We don't want this crap around anymore, either.

4. "It's a steal" - We overpaid and are going to try to get you to do the same.

5. "Just throw a tablecloth over it" - Too much work for us to refinish and this was our remedy. It could work for you too.

6. "Like new," - a ridiculously high price alert.

I think I'll go have some more Craigslist fun. It's time to sell the dresser that this one replaced.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On being unique


Reese said, "I'm not unique" in response to me telling him that I mistook another boy for him.

I was across the street and in my car waiting for the kids to get out of school. I saw Reese walk out and realized I must not have noticed he wore a red shirt. I thought I had given him a white one. Then as he walked the opposite direction of me I wondered why he hadn't noticed our car. I took a closer look and realized it wasn't him. "There's that kid again," I said out loud. He looks just like Reese - same hair color and cut, big eyes, wide features, olive complexion and thin build. Reese is much, much cuter of course...

So as my husband and Reese were on the couch together, I knew he felt bad that I thought the other boy was him. I apologized and told him that I have been called Lisa ( my older sister) my whole life. When we go home to visit, sometimes people still call me that and I moved from home a long time ago. It got to the point that I didn't correct anyone anymore. I just let them think I was her and that she dyed her hair.

Jon said, "Reese, I have the same problem."
I thought to myself that Jon and his brother don't look alike and waited to hear what he was going to say.
"EVERY day people say, "Hey Brad," "Excuse me, Mr. Pitt?" I have to tell them ALL the time that I'm not him. It's sooo annoying. It's a curse really."

I smiled and rolled my eyes but secretly wished someone could mistake our money for his.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A changing landscape

Were you born in a barn? Your barn door is open. You can't hit the broad side of a barn!


The American landscape was once dotted with barns. In 1920 there were around 6.5 million barns in the United States and now there are only about 3 million. I love to drive the countryside and see barns in the distance. Some are dilapidated and some stand strong, still telling the story of their importance to American life.

I remember as a child, building forts and mazes out of hay bales. I was always startled when I would turn over a bale and see a dead mouse under the twine. Just part of farm life I guess. My brothers, sister and I would jump from the loft of our barn onto a pile of hay.


Nearly every night we would see or hear a large owl that visited the barn. The soothing sound it made would lull me to sleep at night. I anticipated its arrival and felt like it capped off the day when I'd hear him. It was really great when a light would catch his eyes and we'd see those big eyes glowing in the dark.

My dad kept his tractor and baler safely in the barn with many odds and ends. It was fun to poke around in there and see what interesting items were stored on shelves and workbenches. You could see the dust and hay particles in the air when you'd walk through the door. It was always kind of hazy -ethereal.

My dad had a distinct call to the cows and horses. The minute he would yell, "Comeaahhnn!" The horses would turn and look toward home. Their stables were in the barn, giving them safety during a thunderstorm. Sometimes the safety given was sheltering us from seeing the Vet put down an ill horse. My dad sadly ushered us out of the barn that day and pulled shut the large doors behind him.

Our barn is still there; enjoying its 100 year birthday. Although, it is happily being enjoyed by other kids now.

I'm thankful there are "barn savers" who feel it's important to save these pieces of American history. If one cannot be restored on its current property, they look to move it elsewhere and take it carefully apart, piece by piece. Or, if it is too far gone, they will reclaim the wood to be used in homes, buildings and furniture. The beauty of barn wood is hard to replicate, the beauty of a barn even harder.
Forgive me if I wax poetic. It's just that sometimes I feel so distant from this part of our country. Do you know what I mean?
Then I see a structure that reminds me there is still a connection to Americana at its best.
I'm so thankful I caught a glimpse of it.

The closest thing I will get to having a barn is this little shed in my yard. It holds all of our
gardening tools and the kids' bikes. I like it and hope to add on to it in the future.
Do you like barns too? Do you have one? If you say "Barn" over and over, does it lose its meaning?? (ha ha, it just did that to me.)
{All of these pictures were taken while Charley and I were out driving near our town. She photographed while I pointed out barns. It was fun!}
Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vertical leap exercise

Enjoying a cool drink together.
A made bed primed for childhood fun.

A soggy bottom boy joining in on the fun.


I saw Martha Stewart tell a child once that they should not jump on beds. I understand that it is bad for the bed. They are expensive after all. But it's so fun. Martha, don't be such a buzz kill.

When I was little I distinctly remember jumping on my parent's bed. It was super springy and I could jump really high. When I heard my mom's voice say, "Lauraaa??"
I'd quickly stop and ask, "What?" She'd ask if I was jumping and I'd say "noooo."
She'd say, "That's what I thought." Technically I wasn't jumping at the exact moment she asked, therefore, not telling a lie. When I asked my kids what they were doing, Trae replied, "jumpee!"
It's a good thing that I gave them this juice beforehand.
Maybe I should've had this as a child...


What do you think? Do you or did you let your kids jump once in a while?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This week's thrift store picks are a hoot

During my travels around town last week, I was on the lookout for ceramics and I saw this little owl. Although he was cute in his original finish...

high gloss white is more my style.
He sits on my night stand protecting my journal. On a side note, the skeleton key is from our first home we purchased as newly weds and where we welcomed two babies. It's funny how you get emotionally attached to a place and time. We lived in a 106 year-old Victorian farmhouse. I was sad to say good-bye to that house and our friends. Even though I still miss the friends, I would never want to go back. It was perfect the way it was and could never be repeated. The key stands as a little reminder of a wonderful time.

I also found this owl next to the other. His form, color and funky retro style caught my eye. I knew he would fit in somewhere. For now he is hanging out on the bookshelves. I saw on Etsy that there are sellers using this same vintage owl to make a mold and create new owls. They sell between $25-$39.00. The bottom of the owl twists off but I am not sure what it is for. It looks like it could be for a votive but it doesn't seem to be the right size. I thought maybe it was an earring holder at first but the candle would make more sense. Whatever its purpose, I like him.

Again, the owl theme was everywhere. This mama and baby were already white but had a dull finish. A little sprucing up gave them new life. Cute, no? This is for Blair.

And last but not least, what would a trip be without getting some more chairs?
I know, what is it with me and the chairs?
I have a problem I guess.

But seriously, I use them.

Ever since I bought the other 3, I have been thinking about all the others they had. My husband thought I should go back and get a few more. Love him.

So I went back but there weren't many left. Most of them were plastic which didn't interest me. I bought the last 3 of this design and thought they needed a paint job but that is an easy fix.
When I perused my new Country Living magazine, I was happy to see these very same chairs on a page and they had that paint job. Of course I can't find my magazine at the moment or I'd show you.
Think bright red chairs in a really cool playroom.
So now I'm thinking red...if only I had the cool playroom.


And see?? I'm using them here.

Blair's Spring picture 2010

Any good finds this week?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Egg-cellent craft update

Last week I showed you our Spring/Easter craft of growing grass in eggshells.

And this week the grass popped up through the soil and made for a sweet little spring display.


Thank goodness the sun came out to help the process. I was beginning to wonder if this was going to work. We had fun checking on the growth everyday and giving the grass a little trim when needed.

Now they sit under a glass cloche. The others are still growing, so hopefully, I will soon have enough for everyone's place cards for dinner. That will be fun.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A time to reflect


Happy Easter Sunday.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The look for laundry









We had a little down time on Friday so Charley and I thought it was a good time to do a photo shoot- laundromat style. I was hoping there weren't too many people there so we were free to move about. It was too nice of a day to be in the laundromat unless you were us of course. Just sharing a couple of shots from the day.

Linking up to My Chaos My Bliss and Monday Mugs at Oswald Cuties