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.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shara Lee's Thrifty Finds

Today I made my annual Last Shopping Day of the Year trip. I buy my groceries at the Wal-Mart Super-Center up the street from my house. It is on the very tippy edge of town, located near the Interstate. It is the closest store in town for all of the outlying areas. Now, I am from Arkansas and I am a strong supporter of my state. We have Wal-Mart Corporate Headquaters, Tyson Foods Headquarters and JB Hunt Headquarters within 15 minutes of my house. I am two miles from the University of Arkansas. There are more million dollar homes in the area than you can imagine. There are wealthy doctors, businessmen, University hobnobbers, etc. It is a very nice area. But, that Interstate I mentioned leads to Nowheresville. Land of tiny towns without a thing but a gas station with a mini mart inside. $3.00 cans of Alpo, $4.00 loaves of bread. And, in those towns live some hicks. Lord. have. mercy. Hicks. There are some people that choose to live out there because it is quaint or charming or whatever. But, most of them live out there because their parents live in a house on the land, and their gandparents lived there and so on and so forth. These type of people choose to stay where they live, grow their food, raise a cow to eat, hunt deer for the winter, have some chickens for eggs, etc. They pretty much do with what they have and get by fine. That is until Christmastime. Time ta load up the whole hillbilly family and head to the Walmarts for some Christmas Shoppin'. Woohooo! Roadtrip. Between the hillbilly hillfolk, the regular grocery shoppers, the Christmas shoppers and lord knows who else - I avoid that place like the plague. So, that is why this was my last shipping trip of the year. I finished my Christmas shopping, bought all my holiday baking supplies and enough groceries to last until 2009. I spent more than I've ever spent in one trip, but if it lasts us until New Years - then I did okay.

I couldn't just go grocery shopping - I had to have a little fun too. So, some thrifiting was on the menu for the day. The best part about the thrift stores right now is the vast array of Christmas merchandise. But, the even better part is now that is is pretty much all 1/2 price too. I never go looking for anything in particular when it come to Christmas items. I just look at every single item and make my decisions as I see something cool.

The first item to make the cut today - a wooden tin soldier ornament for 25¢. The odd thing is that he is 12" tall. It would take a heck of a tree for him to hang on. He is cute and marked JAPAN on the bottom.

A fun vintage fringed, what I am calling a tablecloth, but probably is a tree skirt, for 50¢. (Did anyone read the joke in Reader's Digest about the lady that received the beautiful sparkly wrap for Christmas. She loved it so much that she wore it all day long. That is until her sister in law informed her that it was a tree skirt. Bawhaha)

I think this interesting banded bowl is old. It looks like some of the old barware I have seen. Regardless, I like it and it was only $1.00. I suspect it will hold some red, green and gold ornaments eventually.

A pile of old sparkly pink Shiny Brites with a couple silver thrown in for fun along with one Poland narrow necked pink ornament, a vintage pink gift embellishment and a fun pink glass pick. All for 50¢. I've really embraced the whole pink thing this year.

A sweet Santa with a paper mache head for 25¢. He is standing in a nice big basket with a liner that I got for 25¢.
I was very excited when I spotted the big Gurley Santa siting on a table. He was 50¢. He is tall - about 9" or so. My sweet Aunt Dorothy sent me one just like it this summer, so now I have twins. The two smaller one (and older) Gurley Candles with in a big Bag o' Christmas crap for 50¢. There was actually one more that I swore I had in my basket, but I didn't make it home with him. ;o(

There is a Habitat thrift that I went to a couple of times, but they barely ever had anything other than building supplies. And, anything else they did have like furniture or housewares was just priced too high. $1.50 for a coffee cup was one example. So, I just never got here anymore. Today, I whipped in there for no reason at all and decided to just see what they had. I walked in the front door and sitting on the table right by the door - thisclose - was this!!!!!!

An Annalee Santa! I love Annalee dolls. But, then I panicked, because I remembered the high prices. I gritted my teeth and peeked - $1.00. Yahoooooooo! Sharalee got another Annalee! I was pleased to see that they prices had come down. A lot. Almost too much, in fact. Stuffed animals and baby dolls were 5¢ and 10¢. I saw a lady buying a armful of babydolls - Dora and others and she only spent 60¢. Coffee cups were 5¢. Pillowcases were 25¢, sheets are 50¢.

Needles to say, the Habitat Thrift store is back in my good graces and is now on my thrift rounds. Much to the dismay of the Husband and The Bean.

*My name really is Shara Lee. Lee is my middle name, but everyone called me Shara Lee until we moved to Arkansas.


  1. I went into my local thrift store yesterday, and I thought of you! There were lots of xmas decs in baskets, and you always show some great finds for next to nothing! But here, a bag of 4 shiny balls, they wanted $8.00(au)! $8.00!! Can you believe it? We dont have anything as cheap as you have!! Soon it may be worth the trip over to your side of the world,to grab a bargain!Lol

    I agree... 'Tis the season for "Mall/Store Hell"!!... but with a little Thrift Therapy like that, it's worth it!

  3. Man, there is hardly any Christmas left in the thrifts round here.

    Everyone called me Sarah Lee. I hated that so much. (Nevermind that I am actually Sarah Lynn.)

  4. Hi Shara Lee,

    I really love reading your story of your thrifty rounds and your excellent finds, especially your discovery of the analee santa:-)

    Thanks for a delightful read.

  5. I especially love the banded bowl you found--neat find!! I also really enjoyed your description of the fabled (but VERY real) Arkansas hillbillies! I grew up in your area and it is very nice and quite affluent, which most people outside the Ozarks don't realize. I remember taking a trip after I had moved away from Arkansas--we drove from Milwaukee, WI to Murfreesboro to do the whole diamond-mining touristy thing. In a neighboring town was the closest grocery store, which stood still in time. Groceries on the shelves with experation dates from literally eight or more years ago. And in the parking lot, just to put the icing on the cake, was an OLD pick-up truck with an OLD bathtub in the back, full of the hillbilly children and dogs. (All the hillbilly adults were in the cab, and I presume, buying bags of marshmallows and spaghetti sauce that expired in 1989 inside the store....hehe). It was like something out of "Deliverance".
    That's neat that your Habitat thrift lowered their prices--I'm sure they were hearing complaints and probably weren't clearing out old inventory. It's nice to hear that independent stores like that actually listen to their customers!


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