What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Masked Thrifter

Hello again!  Oh, I miss blogging.  I really should get back to it, but really, there is NOTHING blogworthy in my life right now.  Covid is bad here in NW Arkansas.  It is not a second wave, as we did not have it very bad here in the beginning.  Everyone stayed home and it was kind of under control  But then stuff started opening again and the people got restless, so out they went.  There is a very large population of Hispanics and Marshallese in our area.  Most of them live in large family units, which is normally a very wonderful thing.  But, living together, working together, riding together  - once one gets it, everyone in the household gets it.  It is a very scary thing. 

(Hot sweaty me leaving the booth.)

 I do get out, but I always wear a mask, use sanitizer and wash my hands.  I go to the grocery store for us and for my parents, so it seems that I am there a lot.  I go to my booth once a week for a quick straighten up and refill.  I do go thrifting, but maybe just a quick run into Goodwill if I am in the area and the Bis when I start to get a little stir crazy.  I never go crowded places, parties, events, things like that.

The Spring Junk Ranch ended up being canceled, which was a good thing.  Covid was on the uptick and the state made it mandatory that all vendors and shoppers wear a mask.  I am an advocate for masks, but being outside in the open in 100 degree weather, was not sounding great.  The owners made the right decision to cancel, even though it was a tough call.  We are hopeful for October, but it remains to be seen if it will happen or not right now. 

I've been trying to get back into ebay, but with terrible results.  I have had eleven sales in the past few weeks, but had to cancel SIX of them due to people not being able to pay or living out of the country and not wanting to use the Global Shipping System.  What a HUGE waste of time to list and then have to cancel over and over again.  ebay used to be fun, but it really isn't anymore.  People say treat it like a business and don't get your heart involved.  But, that is what made it fun.  

I'm trying to get re-registered with Amazon to sell books, but I can't figure out how to get the individual plan and not the monthly plan.  I seem to be having problems with everything I touch lately.  Lol,  

Here are some things I have bought over the past few months in case you need a little junking fix.

Child's train case.  It is SO CUTE!

A small adorable suitcase.

All new Christmas, but it looks vintage and it all was 25¢ each.  So, YES!

Vintage Shuttlecocks (giggle) in a tin.  10¢

California orange shaker set.

All the vintage Easter fluff I found at the bins.  

A ridiculously HUGE teddy bear from the Bins.  
He was 50¢.
I will put him in the booth at Christmas-Valentines.  

A cute little kitchen set modeled by The (masked) Bean.

Odd's and ends from a few sales on Saturday.

 A vintage honey jar with a great label.

A pixie in a turtle.  That makes complete sense, right?

Random Christmas finds.

An barn sale full of red, white and blue finds.

New framed prints from the Bins.  
Great for the booth and Holly Jolly Junk Ranch.

Bag upon bag of vintage craft rings.  

No idea what I might use them for, but when I find massive amounts of anything useful, I snag it.  

A HUGE bag of great colorful vintage curlers from the Bins.  Again, I dint' have an idea for them when I grabbed them.  I just loved the colors.  

Then I found this GIANT JAR and thought....Hey!  


Great handmade church.  Red feels naughty somehow.  

A quick trip to the Salvation Army. 

Christmas bin finds.

This cute damned cursed bear.  
I have sold him TWICE and had to cancel both times.  I might be forced to keep him, but I am sort of mad at him right now.  

This great Rushton Duck.  Found at the flea market for 99¢.
I did sell him and it was a good sale.  
(But, dang he was CUTE!)

PINK cake carrier pulled out of the bins.

All the Zane Grey books from the bins.  
I wanted them to be featured at the Spring Junk Ranch.  
They look so patriotic!  But, they will keep, I suppose.

I hope you are all well.  Please leave a comment filling me in on your lives.  Plus, I am on Instagram at @sharamonkeybox  I do post mindless drivel on the daily over there.  It is quick and easy .


Thursday, April 23, 2020


Hello, friends.  I hope this finds you safe and well.  It's such a weird and crazy time in our lives right now, isn't it?  I last came here on March the 1st to post, but I never finished it.  Here is an excerpt.....

Hey, hey everybody!  It's me coming to you from the depths of the flu.  Well, it might not be the actual flu but it is a nasty terrible sickness, whatever it is.  Everyday brings an new symptom, but another disappears.  Right now its a bad cough that has lingered for two weeks straight which brought on a pulled muscle in my shoulder and what might be a hernia.  Whee!  In answer to your question, no I haven't been to the doctor yet.  We all three have it and our insurance is LOUSY and doesn't pay a dime for doctor's visits - so that will be $750 out of pocket.  But, we will go if we don't see improvement soon.  There's so much scary stuff out in the world right now - it terrifies me!!!!

We were sick for about three weeks in different stages and degrees.  Mostly the congestion and the cough just went on and on and on.  And we had zero energy.  I'm sure that by now you have figured out that I a pretty sure we all had Covid-19 before it became the thing that it is now.  I feel lucky that we all three made it through it on our own and did not have the effects like a lot of people.

While I was sick, I did not see my parents.  I didn't want them to get sick because it was SO different and I knew it would be VERY hard on them  I am so thankful that I made that decision.  Another thing that I did which I thought was a bit too much at the time,  but turned out to be the way of the world - we ordered a pizza one night. I put the money on the door with a note that we had the flu and to leave the pizza ad RUN.  I'm glad I did that too!

Our lives have been a little crazy since this all started.  Living with a Bread delivery man has been a bit insane.  My days are filled with waiting for him to get home so I can disinfect him, wash his clothes, get him to take a nap, feed him and get him to bed so he can get up at 1:00 and do it all over again.  Bread sales, as you know, have been INSANE.  Empty shelves every day, customers following him to the display to get bread and then demanding to check the dates on the bread.  It was just baked a few hours ago, Lady.  Anyway, you might remember that we purchased the route about two years ago.  Which for once has been in our favor with the crazy sales.  The first week with the out of control buying and sales, he made over one months commission.  It seems awful to make money during a pandemic.  But, he is risking his life and our lives every day being out in the public and dealing with the ever changing rules and regulations.  (I know I said that I think we already had the COVID, but we are living like we didn't.  We want to get the blood test when it's available so we will know and so we can help by donating plasma).  We have given away bread and money to charity to ease our conscience. We are not rich by any means. Darn it. 😂

I stay home except for the grocery store and the doctor with my Mom.  I do go on rides and drive past the thrift stores and wish for the olden days when I could go in to shop and I think about the future and if I will feel confident going back in there ever again. I think I will - in time.

The Junk Ranch is still scheduled for the middle of June.  I have mixed feelings about that, but there is still time for preparation-both mentally and physically.

I bought a Chromebook just so I could get back to blogging and this is my first attempt to use it.  I rarely ever use the desktop anymore and I'm not the best typer on the iPad.

I hope you  are all safe and healthy.  I miss you all.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Happy 2020!

Happy New Year - ten days late.  :)

Yes, I used upside down "5's" because I don't seem to have any 2's.  Must find 2's this year!

I'm watching the weather right now.  We are in a tornado warning with heavy rains and flash flooding coming in the next few hours.  It's 65 degrees but will be 30 in the morning with freezing rain, ice and snow.  If you don't like the weather in Arkansas, stick around a day - it'll change.  A LOT.  

A week or so before Christmas, I noticed that the Free Little Pantry up the street was empty, so I filled it up.  I put in staples for meals, soups, crackers, spaghetti, cereal, Pop-Tarts and snacks like crackers, pudding, nuts and raisins.  Plus, since it was the holiday, I added cookie and cookie mix, candy and some treats.  It was empty the very next day. I've noticed that it fills up and is emptied quickly.  I'm going to fill it up once a month.  I mention this because not everyone knows that the Free Little Pantry exists around the United States.  The Free Little Library's came first,  But someone right here in Fayetteville came up with the idea for the Free Little Pantry. So,if you see what you might think is an empty Library - it might actually be an empty Pantry.  It's a good place to add extra things from your cupboard that you might not use in time or maybe pick up a few items at the store next time and add them to it.  

I FINALLY got all the Christmas packed up and in storage.  I love it all so much, it's hard to pack up.  How come its totally okay to have a Kansas City Chiefs collection or a NASCAR collection and leave it out all year long, but if you leave your Santa's out all year long, people think you are crazy?  SO NOT FAIR.  I'm trying to put things back where they belong and apparently my mind is slipping, because I have NO IDEA how it all fit before??? But, I am going slow and culling things out along the way.  

My big delicious bowl of vintage Mercury glass beads is one of my hardest things to pack up.  So, guess what, Chicken Butt?  I LEFT IT OUT.  Call me crazy.  But, Mmmmmmmmm.  

Couldn't you just dive in and take a dip in it? Oh, my.

Well, I am just rambling while I watch the weather.  I have had numerous people contact me saying they recently found my blog.  Maybe reading blogs is making a comeback? Instagram is fun for photos and quickie stories.  But, I LIKE WORDS.  LOTS OF WORDS.

You know what words I don't like?  





So, don't you worry about seeing those words here.  

See, I really am RAMBLING.  

I guess I'll go charge my phone and hunker down for the storms.  

Hope you are all safe and comfortable!  

Monday, December 09, 2019

Four Months - How is that possible!

*Tap *tap?  Is anyone still out there?  I shocked myself when I looked and saw that I haven't posted for FOUR MONTHS.  I never thought I would see that day!  Before I actually blog, I want to thank Lynn for sending me postcards from around the world.  She's a long time blog reader and friend and has remembered me on her vacations for several years.  I really appreciate you Lynn!

So, I have finished up TWO Junk Ranch shows since I last posted.  The October show was a great show as always - still hot though, but now nearly as bad as June.  I sold a lot, saw old friends and make new friends.  I've done is so many times now, it's pretty much an easy set up and tear down.

My usual set up with new/old junk.

Local news story about the Junk Ranch.  They shot it in my booth and that's pretty much all my stuff in the story.  Excuse my narrative during it.  ;)

Near the end of the day, a big popup rain shower hit.  It made a mess of a few things as we threw them under the tent.  But, we were rewarded with a huge rainbow right overheard.  

That was October 5th.  On December 6th (this past weekend) we had the Holly Jolly Junk Ranch.  You might remember last year that Day One was sunny, warm and full of customers.  

But, that night straight line winds and horrific rain moved in, which resulted in decimation on the field.  I lost 5-60% of my inventory as well as my brand new $400 canopy.  

This year I am happy to say that the show and the weather were pure perfection.  The people lined up at the gates in the mornings and my booth was packed for the first hour and steady all day long.  I sold vintage and things that I had made.  Lots of happy customers and a very happy ME!  

There is an old truck on the field that is a perfect photo op during the show.  This year, I took my personal blowmold collection out and placed them in the truck.  I also have a life size store display Santa that I took and put in the back so it looked like a parade float.


It was all lit up at night as looked super cute.  

The side of the old farmhouse was decorated too.  These aren't my blowmolds - but I wish they were! Love that huge Santa!

Amy and Julie do so many fun and extra things to make it a fun show.  Santa was set up for photos and that was pretty much expected at a Christmas show.  

But the Grinch roamed around and delighted/scared kids all weekend too.  I'm not sure who was in that outfit, but he did an outstanding job as the Grinch!  Down with Santa????

My booth is first in the door and always busy.  This was just as the gates opened.

My junk looked good at night!  Cheap magnetic lights from Amazon did the job perfectly with some Christmas lights added in for cheer.

It was a great weekend.  The Bean helped me in every way with every single detail.  It's my business, but I swear he could set it up just like I do now.  He pays attention.  Normally, the husband helps load in and out, but this time he said it was just too much and didn't want to be involved.  Now, I don't want to husband bash or talk smack.  But, WHAT THE HELL?  All he does is set things in the truck and out of the truck so it speeds it up a little.  I think he thinks this is "mine" so I need to do it myself.  But, I also think he forgets who organizes his taxes, writes his checks to his workers, washes his uniforms and makes plans around HIS schedule for "his" job.  I also think he needs to be reminded about that.  And that is the end of that.  

Thanks for stopping by and continuing to stop by to see if I ever post anymore.  I'll try to get better about it. I know blogs are sort of a dying thing.  But, I do so love to write and talk about stuff even if my life seems quiet and boring over here.  I'm always on Instagram @sharamonkeybox with photos and tales every day.  Come over is you aren't already!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What's Been Going On Around Here

Just popping in to say THANK YOU for all the super sweet comments everyone left on the past post.  It's so nice to hear from people that are still stopping by here from time to time.  

Have I ever blogged about the fact that we bought the Bread route from the company?  Almost all chip, cookie and bread routes are now independently owned all over the USA.  We had to take out an $80,000 loan, lease a box truck, file for an LLC, tax number, etc.  And when I say "we" I mean "me" because The Breadman doesn't know how to use a computer.  I've tried to show him - but NOPE.  He still needs a PHONE BOOK because he can't GOOGLE.  Anyway, I digress.  Because of his lack of computer skills and bookkeeping skills - I have suddenly become a bookkeeper and a tax person.  We bought the route in April of 2018 and plugged along for a whole year- saved every penny we had so we could pay our taxes and did everything the right way.  He built up the route so it had quite a bit of equity in it in less than a year.  He had made more equity in a year than most routes do in ten years.  Part of that is because the person running it before him did a HORIBLE job.  But part of it is because The Breadman takes care of his customers and built up his sales.  

The company is now restructuring and they bought back his route and he is buying a better route with more money and a lot less stops and driving.  He was able to pay off the route he has now, put a nice down payment on the new route and we are getting a good chunk of cash too.  His new route consists of the Children's Hospital, a Sam's Club and a Walmart and a Walmart Super Center, plus the biggest ChickfilA.  In addition to bread and buns, he also sells Taki chips, BIMBO cakes and Boboli pizza crusts.  So each stop is a lot of stocking in big stores like that.  But, he will only drive about fifteen miles round trip each day and now it is over 100 a day.  

Long time readers will remember the day that he was working for Wonder Bread and they called and said, "Come in, no one had a job anymore."  We went through a rough couple of years with no job, then a route, then working nights loading trucks, to being back on a route.  Buying the business was scary stuff, but it was job security.  And, he is a very HARD good worker and the customers love him.  His current customers are not happy that he is leaving their stores!  I am happy that he is a hard worker.  I try to handle everything here at the house, plus all the paperwork, paying our part time pull person and making sure he has a hot meal so he can go to bed and get up at the ungodly hour of 1:00 AM.  Between all that, the booth, the constant Junk Ranch prep, doctor appointments for me, my Mom and my Dad - I AM TIRED TOO.  :)

Also, this is a new thing for me.  High blood pressure.  Ugh.  Stress and anxiety can do that to a person.  Plus, I love chips.  LOL  Trying to cut back on salt and drink lots of water.

 I have found two happy laces that I like to visit when the anxiety and stress kick in.  Both equally addicting and spendy......The Goodwill Bins and the Casino.  HA!  I alternate between the tow form time to time, either bringing home bags of junk or HOPEFULLY money!

I won a $1920 jackpot in June and a $1600 one in May.  I've found great stuff in the bins for the booth and for the Junk Ranch - both of selling as is and for crafting.  So, I make a little at the casino, then spend a little at the Bins.  Or I lose a little at the casino, so I go to the bins to recoup.  It's all fun.

I found all these safety pin beaded baskets in the bins last week.  I found one, but threw it back. Then I kept finding them, so I bought them all.  They aren't my favorite, but I appreciate the time and work.  People seem to like them, so they are headed to the Junk Ranch and then Instagram if there are any left.

This little one made with metallic beads and beaded flowers is a keeper - it has the loveliest colors and patina.  Maybe I will sell it someday, but for a bit, it's staying here.

Thank you again for all the comments!  I'll try to be back with more bin finds and jackpots!  (One can dream right?) :)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Junk Ranch Spring Edition 2019

Another Junk Ranch is in the books!

Wednesday is the day we start set up.  But, this particular Wednesday was a wash out - it poured rain all day and the fields and street were flooded.  The Junk Ranch takes place in a big old field, so it was a nervous day waiting to see what Thursday would bring.  Luckily, the rain stopped late Wednesday night and the sun came out early on Thursday.  Load in was delayed until noon Thursday to give the field time to dry out.  My spot was a little soft, so I had to carry all my items into the field before setup.  I usually set up my booth on Wednesday and then have all day Thursday to get the merchandise displayed, plus a couple hours on Friday morning to finish up.  But, this time I had five hours to do it all PLUS carry it all in.  I was an emotional mess.  But, I had The Bean and The Breadman with me plus a fabulous Ranch Hand named Tadpole came to my rescue with a Gator.  The boys piled in on the Gator and Tadpole drove it to me.  I started setting up the area while they schlepped it all to me.  I ended up having it show ready in less than five hours from pull in to pull out time.  It was nice to know that I was able to do that - but I really don't want to have to do it again.  I was EXHAUSTED.  

The show hours were a bit different this year so maybe we could beat the heat.  The gates opened at 8:00 am each day and closed at 3:00 on Friday and 4:00 on Saturday.  It was still hot even though we had earlier hours and it was two weeks earlier than usual.  But, it stayed dry, so that was what really mattered for a successful show for me.  

I have found a lot of  vintage paintings this year and I found an easel, so I made a little art corner.  I sold quite a few of the paintings.  It also blocked the area where the two tent legs were awkward.  

My best friend from high school came to see me!  We have only seen each other twice in over thirty years.  I didn't have much time to talk, but it sure was sweet of her to come see me!

This little sweetie got the vintage sombrero from my booth.  It was the real deal and child sized.  I have never seen such a cute sombrero.  Or little customer, for that matter!  

The little gals were investigating the inside of the old metal dollhouse that was under the table.  

My sign out front.  I need to have it permanently painted because I have to redo it every show and sometimes every day if the moisture gets it.  

Okay, more booth shots.  I just threw it all up this time, but I did make some themed vignettes.  Side-eye Jesus got a lot of attention, but didn't sell.  That's okay by me, because he's a conversation starter.  

I really never know what all I have because I buy it, price it and store it all year long.  When I started putting it out, I had chickens, sheep, pigs, butter boxes, butter signs, milk bottles and breadboards - so a farmyard theme developed on this side.  One gal picked up a butter box and said, "What would anyone DO with an old butter box?"  Then she opened it and declared, "IT IS EMPTY".  I think she was in for a difficult day out on that field if the thought of a vintage NOS butter box baffled her that much.  It made me chuckle.  

I enjoyed the "scary doll" holding a pistol.  The gun sold pretty early, the doll did not.    

A truly horrible shot, but I took some old book pages from a 1930's Farm Animal book and framed them.  I sold most of them and now I need to find more because they were SUPER CUTE.  

I love old toys and I always take a lot, but they really don't sell well.  But, this time I sold a lot of them!  Yeah!  

Always plenty to see in my booth.

This side was pretty much all the things that I had taken to the Junk ranch a time of two, so I marked it all down and then I even had a half price sale on Saturday afternoon to move some of it out.  Now it will go to the booth.  

The souvenir plates are popular lately.  I have about 50 of them, but only took some with me.  I thought people hung them on the wall, but most of them said the actually eat on them!

This was the half off area before I made it half off, I had to pull somethings that I didn't want to practically give away.  Like that Irmi lamp.  

Cowboy area, office supply area, coffee area.  I still love my crates - easy to make small things seem like big areas.  

I had a few extra tubs full, so I just let people dig in them. It was interesting that the mentality of digging in boxes meant that they wanted it super cheap.  That's why I prefer to display it -but I'm still cheap on my prices.  

Annalee's are popular too.  Thank goodness!

Here was the line behind me at load in.

And the line in front of me.  

I had my first theft.  It really made me sick.  I wouldn't have noticed it if it hadn't of been the single most expensive thing in my booth!  I had two really old cast iron Turkey doorstops.  They were iron and super heavy and worth double the $68 I had on each one.  I had gone to the bathroom and when I came back, I noticed one was gone.  I was excited!  Until The Bean and Lara said no one had paid either of them for it.  The next day, the owners of TJR told me that someone else had a metal bird stolen from their booth.  So, someone had made a game of stealing metal birds!  I bet they took more, but people either didn't realize it or didn't report it.  

It's always fun selling at the Junk Ranch, but by the time we are all done tearing it down, we almost all say we are DONE and will never do it again.  But, then a few weeks pass and we all get excited about it again.  I think it's like having a baby.  You forget the bad part and just remember the  good stuff.  The good stuff for me are all the friends I have made with the vendors and my favorite customers that drive across town to see me and that drive from states away to see me.  They bring me gifts, cookies and homemade sweet tea.  Seriously, great folks.  

So with that, I have started making and buying all ready!  October will be here soon!  :D

PS If you read this - please leave a comment?  Just so I know that someone is reading it somewhere.  

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