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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 - It's Gonna Be Great!

Happy New Year to all my Blog Buddies. Hope you have a safe and happy New Year's Eve not to mention a WONDERFUL 2008! May it be filled with fabulous thrifty finds, loads of cool junk and ample display and storage place for it all. Hey, a gal can dream, right? Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Gift For Me

I did a little detective work for my Dad recently. I am computer literate, he is not. He is carliterate, I am not. So, when he needed some research done on a certain part for his 50th Anniversary Edition Ford Thunderbird, he asked me to help. The part he had to sell ended up being worth nearly 4x what he thought it waas worth, thanks to my internet research. On Christmas morning he sold it and he gave me a $200.00 commission. Thanks Dad!

So, rather than wasting it on medical bills or the heat bill, I treated myself to a new digital camera. I thought I had a nice one that took good photos before, but now that I have this one to play with - OMG this thing is the bomb. 8 MP, 6x optical zoom + 3x Digital zoom.

I can take pictures from the other side of the living room and have it turn out like this:

And this:

And this:

And, close-up photos like this:

And, I can take this photo of my kitchen junk:

And make it Black and White:

Or Color Tiinted:

Or even Sepia.

I'm looking forward to a bright sunny non 20 degree day to go out and see what this baby does outside!

I did have it with me yesterday when I made a quick Dollar Tree run and found out tht the bank in the same parking lot had been ROBBED. Eh gads!

Tomorrow I am going to Target to check out the 75% off Christmas stuff. With any luck, it will all be culled over or sold out and I won't have to buy anything. Ha! I will show restraint, I will show restraint, I will show restraint.....

*Kitties in order of appearance: Tiger, Little Lady and Pity

Friday, December 28, 2007

Oh Happy Mail Day Part #3

I'm not bragging, really. But, the mail has been plentiful and fantastic as of late. This little beauty of a surprise package from Heidi on Christmas Eve.

If you've ever had the pleasure of a swap or a "out of the blue" gift from Heidi, you are a very lucky person. She really goes all out, wrapping each gift with love and adding a special little something-something to each item. I consider Heidi a very good friend, and we've never even spoken or seen each other!

Goodies so beautiful I was happy with just the pretty packages. I didn't even need to open them to see what was inside. Oh, I didn't need to. But, I wanted to - RIP!

She sent The Bean a fun Pirateology Dice Game. He has always had a love of pirates, so this was a great surprise for him. I really appreciate her "thinkin' of The Bean." She also included a fun little baby PEZ keychain. Too cute!

Look at all the gifts so prettily wrapped. What's that? A little potato masher? Oh, surely not.

She included this sweet tlittle "Joy To The World" ornamnent that I can only assume she made at Silver Bella. Isn't it sweet?

And this vintage Santa NOEL tea towel? Are you kidding me? It is pristine and fabulous. Still has the original sticker and all.

And this wonderful fantastic book of vintage permission free images. You can cut and paste the images out of the book, or you can use the CD-Rom and download any of the images as small or as large as you need them for whatever project you want to use them. This book seriously makes me happy. I have been walking around the house with it under my arm like a little kid with their blankie. I sit on my end of the couch and just look at each image one by one, over and over. DH glanced over at it and said, "There's no words." I guess I had been looking at it so long he couldn't figure out what was taking me so long. I never knew this sort of book existed and now I cannot wait to find more!She also included a long roll of pink festooning for my cones, hats and other crafty pursuits.

Methinks I need to whip up a Valentine's Day cone or a hat!
And, yes, that was a teeny little potato masher. The Bean thinks it will look cute on the tree. I think it will look cute in the kitchen 365 days a year!
Thank you Heidi for your thoughtfulness, your sweetnes and your friendship!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh Happy Mail Day Part #2

The mail has been oh so good and oh so happy as of recent days.

My December Swap Package from my Sweet Sister Swap Partner, Laura arrived on Chrismtas Eve Day. And, what a box of surprises it was!

She is very talented - wouldn't you agree? Inside this box, was not one handmade fleece throw, but TWO handmade fleece throws. A bright red one for me, a bright blue one for Da Bean.

Mine had snowmen on the reverse, his had cool retro cars.

Monogrammed Sweet Sister 2007, so I'll always remember.

The other one was monogrammed "THE BEAN". Seriously. How thoughtful can you get?????? The Bean is very proud of hs new throw and has deemed that the cats are not allowed on it.

Laua also sent these fabulous vintage Christmas ornaments. The glare is from the mirrored backgrounds that will reflect the Christmas lights. They fit into my vintage tree perfectly!

Thank you so much Laura. You have been a great sister!

Oh Happy Mail Day Post #3 coming tomorrow. If Iposted it all in one day, you would cry in jealousy. I mean it. Peopel are too darn good to me!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hope everyone had a wonderuful Christmas. Ours was busy and the house is now overflowing with gifts ranging from a Roomba, a GPS and a gallon of pickles. Everyone was very good to us this year. Our next door neighbors even brought over a box stuffed with homemade cookies and candy of all sorts. There was even a coffee/orange fudge that was out of this world!

We spent Christmas Day afternoon at my Dad's house. He lives in the house I was raised (no longer decorated in the white crushed velvet motif) which is at the lake. We take a long walk along the edges of the lake looking for money, treasure, etc. As if we ever find those things. We did find lots of cool rocks and sticks not to mention the rolled up condom and a pair of underpants along the way. Ick.

The Bean and I collect heart-shaped rocks so that was out mission.

We found two -

this one came home

This one did not. This one was about five feet across. Wish we could get it home!

I took this photo of The Bean on the rocks. I was very shocked to see that my baby done growed up! He is a teenager. When did that happen? I played Santa at 1:30 am the night before and now I seem to have a man living with me?

They grow up too fast. End of story.

More tomorrow with yet another HAPPY MAIL day at my house. I mean, very happy.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a White Crushed Velvet Christmas

When I was a kid, we had a formal living room. We only went in it on Christmas Eve that I can remember. It was part of the dining room which we used every day, but we never used the living room. It was fuh-ancy. I am going to describe it to you and you will laugh and guffaw at the thought of it. But, it was absolutely beautiful in it's full 1970's style. First of all, on the floor, we had wall to wall avacado green shag carpeting. It was so deep that when I stood on it, or rather, in it, my feet disappeared into it. The walls were covered in dark paneling, of course. Our couch and chairs were white crushed velvet. I don't remember the brand as I was just a kid, but I know that those were the kinds of couches and chairs they use to make that lasted forever. When they got outdated, you just recovered them. Now you just go buy a new couch or chair. Let's see, back to the crushed white velvet couch. We had red and white brocade velvet throw pillows and a beautiful red slag glas hanging lamp in the corner. It hung from the celing by a very thick gold chain. There were heavy wooden end tables and a matching coffee table with thick black slate tops. At one time, the only knick knacks in the room were a set of white alabaster birds from Home Interiors. They got terribly dusty after quite some time and my Mama decided to give them a good overnight soak in the sink. In the morning, they had completely disappeared! And, there were houseplants. Lots and lots of big houseplants. Very, very nice and very, very 1972.

On Christmas Eve, I would take my bath and put on my nightgown and robe and then we would gather in the living room to open presents. We always have done it on Christmas Eve, and I really don't know why. But, we still do. Just the fact that I was in the living room made it a special night. I felt like I was at a cocktail party at the ripe old age of seven! It was just me, my Mama and my Daddy back then. But we always had special holidays, just the three of us. I remember the tree, opening presents, having a glass of eggnog (But not in the living room, are you crazy? Drinks near the white velvet couch? On, no, no no!), leaving milk and cookies for Santa and hurrying off to bed in anticipation of Santa'a arrival. On Christmas morning my stocking would be too full and heavy to be hanging on the brick wall, so it would be laying on the table. Lots of goodies in my stocking including a big fat orange.

I don't really remember a specific Christmas present that I ever got, I just remember having Christmas. And, I think that is what is important. Family, fun and tradition. No matter what the traditions are - silly, goofy or just sitting on the crushed white velvet couch for one night - they are important.

My little family has traditions. My Raggedy Ann and Andy ornaments from my childhood fo right there on the tree every year. No where but right there. There are magic snowy footprints leading from the front door to The Bean's stocking every year. Is he too old for that now? Probably. Will I do it anyway? Most certainly. Santa always leaves a big Hershey Bar in the stocking. One of those big $1.79 ones. We write silly things on the "To: and From" portion of the gift tags. Silly little clues as to what might lie within the package or just generally goofy nicknames. Thee's always something silly under the tree for everyone. You might open an MP3 player first, but then you might open a jiggly boob girl for your car dashboard (Hope my Dad likes it!). Nice things tend to cost money, so we fill in with silly fun things to make the opening last longer. Silly gift circa Christmas 2006.

Enjoy your traditions
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

End of the Year Thrifty Finds

Crunch Time. Only three more days to get the Christmas preparations DONE. We celebrate Christmas Eve at my house I have one less day than most people to do everything. Luckily, I am all done with the baking (Coconut Snowflakes, Gingersnaps), candy making (Cherry Almond Fudge, Black Walnut Fudge, White Chocolate Pretzels) and present buying. All that is left is the wrapping. A dubious job to say the least as we buy lots and lots and lots of gifts for everyone. At least I can employee The Bean as a giftwrapper this year. The only thing holding me back for completely enjoying my days right now is that I have a terrible head cold. I get dizzy when I turn too fast or look down. Or up. Not fun. But, this too shall pass....

Yesterday in the midst of my last minute grocery shopping I found some time to make my very last thrifting trip of the year. I believe all the thrifts close Saturday and don't reopen until at least January 2nd, if not later. After some fun digging in the thrift I mentioned that I had totally forgotten that I was sick while I was in there. Thrift Therapy is REAL!

When I walked in the lady told me that the Christmas stuff was 50% off, but then I heard her tell a lady a few minutes later that it was 75% off, then I heard her tell another lady it was "Make An Offer". So, I knew it would be cheap regardless. Lots of junky dollar store things and not too wonderful items. But, I dug and found a few treasures.

A wonderful handhooked rug with snowmen. Perfect for the bathroom with the snowman theme. $1.00

A sweet handpainted wooden bowl with a snowman.
Signed J. Walker which I found funny (Jaywalker). 25¢

Three big vintage glass pinecones with glitter and a few miscellaneous vintage pink, gold and aqua Shiny Brite ornaments. These are all in the big heart shaped wooden bowl I thirfted recently at the same thrift store. Under the ornies and pinecones are some hideous metallic plastic fruit ornaments from the 1970's - an apple, two pears, two oranges and two bananas. Gaudy, but fun. The pinecones and Shiny Brites were 50¢.

A non-Christmas item, but still a deal. I think this is a Nantucket Bakset. Handmade, tightly woven and very nice. $1.00.

This is my very best absolute fantastic find of the day. (Albeit a terrible photo). This litle felt elf with a glttered base marked JAPAN from the 1940's. 10¢. I looked for more as he was lurking under a bunch of handmade crocheted ugly 1970's bells. Greedy, eh? But, he was the only one there. He was a mere 10¢.

I have a tall woodsy looking tree that I got at the thrift for $10.00 last year. I saw one just like it for $129.00 at Hobby Lobby. Yikes. It is completely encrusted with my vintage ornament collection that I have picked up one by one throughout the past few years. I covet these little ornaments and I know I have been very, very lucky to find them one by one. I know I have paid litle to nothing for all of them, but I also know they are worth a fair amount of money. I have ten of the little glittery houses that I saw in a magazine for $25.00 each and I have about 20 of the little paper maiche instrument playing guys that I bought for 25¢. For ALL of them. I could sell them for $10.00 each. But, I love them sooooo much.

You can see the little elf man dead center in this picture. I also got the Santa under him yesterday for 10¢.

I love all my Christmas things so much. I always love seeing all my holiday decorations for each Holiday. I love them all and appreciate them so much. I wonder if I woud appreciate all my things more if I only saw them one month out of the year. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I suppose.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh, Happy Mail Day

The official Ginger Bread House of our Christmas. Compliments of The Bean.

Yesterday was a Happy Mail Day at my house. Three packages arrived. The first being a copy of the Cha-Cha Slide by Mr. C The Slide Man. Yes, I ordered it. Do you do know this song? It is so fun to dance to - I am not a dancer (and that is a real understatement) - but it is fun to do it with The Bean. They use it in PE to motivate the kids and keep them moving. We did it yessterday and I was tired when it ended. This is a 12 minute version and I thought it would never end!

The second package was an out of the Blue Christmas goodie package from
Miss Rebecca. She sent me a variety of yummy Christmas goodies including a fun vintage ornamnet, dish towels, a cookie cutter, vintage Christmas napkins, a hotpad and a sweet little book of Christmas tales. She also sent The Bean three very nice keychains from NYC featuring the WTC, Statue of Liberty and NYC itself. Thank you so much for thinking of us Rebecca!

The third package was a huge delightful box of vintage Christmas goodies from Sue, (Sveltestuff). We had agreed to swap vintage Christmas goodies with one another. It's funny, several of the items she sent me are very similar to those that I sent her. Great minds think alike, eh? She absolutely stuffed that box to the gills with all things Christmas-y and all things vintage. I was at somewhat of a disadvantage as she doesn't have a blog, so I don't know her likes and dislikes as well as she likes me. I know she likes VERA and Haegar pottery, but that's about it. But, boy, oh boy, does she know me. First of all, the Card attached had a store on it and she had converted it into a GROCERY STORE to coincide with my Grocery Store village. She also included a very funny old paperback novel entitled The Storekeepr about a grocery store owner. Fun! She, too, as well as Rebecca, included a fat little sack of keychains for The Bean. The kid cleaned up yesterday!

Lots and lots of vintage flocked Santas.

A few of my favorites including a celluloid Santa boot that matches a pair I already have, a celluloid Snowman and the old tin Scotch tape roll on the side. Love my old packaging, you know!

Lots of green Christmas napkins and a slew of red handled chippy old tools. Love them!

Lots of fun old doileys. ANd a copy of Country Home. It's funny. I had just ordered myself a subscription for Country Home magazine yesterday morning. (It was the Deal of the Day for only $3.15!)

Sue did the most wonderfull thing with a doiley. She threaded seam binding and lace through the holes ont eh edges to make a gift bag sort of puch and filled them with goodies. Isn't that a clever idea? I am always pikcing up lace and doileys. Now I have a use for them!

She wrapped all the goodies in vintage fabric, scarves and such. This paricular package was a napkin wrapped with a pipecleaner with jingley bells attached. As soon as I took it out of the box to open, Little lady honed in on it and took it as her own. She carries things around the house and then settles down to hold on to them. Shortly after this picture, she began to wrestle it nd I had to get it away from her wince I didn't know what lied within!

Sue, you sent so many wonderful things, this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Hope you have fun with your big old box of STUFF too!

Here's wishing a Happy Mail Day to you too!

*PS to Sue and Rebecca - My email server has been down for two days so I can't thank you properly until it is back up. But, I will email you as soon as I can!

Seriously, two days without email. What is this? The STONE AGE?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Google Me, Baby

Rebecca At Thrifty Goodness tagged me for this little game. You read the questions, then type you anwer into Google Images and then put one of the image representations on your blog. So, here goes....(Not sure why the pictures are so freaking little.)

Age on you next birthday?It's not for 9 more months though!

Place I would like to visit:This is Murfesboro Diamond Park in AR. You can dig for diamonds and people find them every day. You keep what you find. We had plans to go a year ago, but had to cancel. Maybe this year?

Favorite place: Fayetteville, AR - only because it's close to home and I have no desire to travel or go anywhere. Werid, huh? I've been to Hawaii, the Bahamas and Vegas so I am DONE.

Favorite object:My Crissy Doll that was so real to me throughout my childhood. Okay, she is still sort of real to me.

Favorite food: Fresh from the summer garden, not the grocery store!

Favorite Color: (*I like Pink too!*)

Favorite Animal: I love bunnies. We have one living in our back yard that we have named Mr. Bun-Bun.

Name of past pet: (Wow! Boom-Boom was our St. Bernard that went BOOOM BOOM when she wlaked. Not unlike this fine lady, I suppose!)

Where I live: Just Farmington, not Farmington Station.

1st grade teacher: (This is pretty funny considering my Mrs. Smith wore orthepedic shoes and had little gray pincurls.)

Middle name: Lee. Actually, my name is Shara Lee. That's what everyone called me until I was about 8. Too many SaraLee cake and pie jokes at school.....

Bad habit: David Sunflower Seeds. I have to have some after dinner and while I am I on the computer. My entire extended family is addicted.

College major: I wanted to be a travel writer (pretty funny since I just said above I was over travelling!) or a feature writer.

Holiday: My birthday is a holiday, right"?

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