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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

What do you do for New Year's Eve?

The Breadman and I had a couple fun years at the local nightclub drinking champagne and ringing in the New Year with a big old sloppy kiss and a balloon drop.  (I used to be a LOT of fun after a couple of glasses of champagne.  In fact, if he was smart, The Breadman would serve me champagne every night.  :)  )

Then we got married.

And had The Bean.

Now we are old and frumpy and just stay home.  But, that's okay by me.

For a few years, we even rang in the New Year New York time so we could go to bed early.  So sad.

Now we stay up until midnight and watch New Year's Rocking Eve and have a toast of sparking grape juice in our PJ's.  Woo-hoo.

I actually found and used my New Year's Eve decorations for the first time.  Double Woo-hoo!

Here's wishing all of you a SAFE and HAPPY New Year!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Super Cheap Thrift - The Best Trip Ever

Today The Breadman was off work due to the holiday, so I left the boys home and I went to straighten up my newest booth.  That booth happens to be in the very town of the Super Cheap Thrift, so of course, I had to go. I haven't been since before Thanksgiving.  The last time I was in there, I overheard people picking out Christmas presents in the aisles. I decided that I wouldn't go back until after Christmas and leave the items there for the people that really needed thrift store items to have a Christmas.  
The picture isn't that great, because the items are not the best part of this post.

Today I found a lot of very nice very well cared for vintage items.  I did notice that the SCT prices had gone up a bit, but they are still waaay cheaper than any other thrift around here.  I found 28 books for homeschooling, a book carrying bag, a sweet vintage beaded purse, vintage letter holder, two handmade doiley's, a vintage barometer, vintage cake decorating tool, fun set of huge flash cards that say KNOCK KNEES and CLAP HANDS, etc., a lovely vintage tablecloth with weather vanes on it. I also got the loveliest Wildenur rose tablecloth - absolutely perfect condition with eight matching napkins.  It was priced $10.00, and I hesitated and debated it, but then I decided to treat myself.  $10.00 for a Wildenur tablecloth is a very good price - but I rarely ever spend that much on something just for me.  Confident in my purchases, I went to get in line.

I unloaded my bag, the lady at the register punched the numbers into the cash register and another lady bagged my items.  They always chat about the items I buy - they say I find the neatest stuff.  When they came to the tablecloth, they commented on how pretty it was.  "I collect tablecloths and it will be one of my very best" I told them.  When they came to the books. they asked what I would do with them - "We homeschool", I said.  "We will use them for that".  And, with that, my purchases were complete, but the register still said "0.00".  I asked, "What is my total?" and they said, "The man behind you is paying for your items today."

Instant tears came to my eyes!  I've heard of random acts of kindness and I do a bit of them on my own, but this one really caught me off guard and threw me for a loop.  I went to thank him and shake his hand.  He shook my hand hard and said he was "Happy to do it."  The lady behind the register carried my packages to the door to meet me and she whispered that he had been there all day, paying for everyone's purchases.  I realized tonight that he actually did two very nice things for a lot of the people that shop at that thrift.  Most of them are shopping with vouchers so they not only got their items today courtesy of him, but they can go back and use their vouchers to acquire even more things that they need.  

I will always remember today's trip to the SCT today. I will always remember that nice stranger whenever I see my lovely tablecloth.  What a gift he gave me! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

After Christmas Thoughts, Sales and Thrifty Finds

I really feel like I should post something and not still have that "Merry Christmas" post on top. It's still pretty Christmas-y around here - I don't take my decorations down until after New Year's. In fact, I "may" have even added a few things since the after Christmas sales.  Well, actually only one thing.
I spotted this Chick-fil-A at Lowe's when they very first put out the Christmas items this year, but the $49.99 price tag set me back.  No way, Jose.  So, I waited.  The last time I was there, they were all gone except the one on display.  Yet, I waited.  Then they marked them 50% off, but $25.00 was still more than I felt comfortable spending.  So, I waited.  Finally, Monday it was 75% off.  But wait.  It was the display and the front door was missing.  The clerk marked it to $10.00.  SOLD!  When I got home, I discovered the front door had just fallen inside.  A drop of glue, the door is installed and I have myself a $50.00 Chick-fil-A for $10.00.  (We looooooooooooooooooooove Chickfila.  Maybe even too much.  Slurp.)

Let's see what else have I thrifted lately? Oh, The Bean bought a couple strands of Mardi Gras beads.  You see those at every thrift you go to so that is hardly worth mentioning.

Or is it?  Ha.  Aren't they hilarious.  We saw a guy wearing some like these at the Mardi Gras parade once and he said, "You don't even want to know what I paid for these things!"  Well, we only paid $3.00, so I want everyone to know!  

I found this lone Gurley Candle today for 25¢.  I've never seen one like this, so it was a happy addition.

A set of wooden clock ornaments for 50¢.  I have a lot of clocks and time related items on my big tree, so I may add these to it.  
I bought this book at Goodwill last week for $5.00 and it might quite possibly be my very best find ever.  

It's a thick book and it is chock full of housewares and gifts from 1956.  It's like all of our dream thrifting finds all bound into one book.  
This page for instance has five things on it that I own and one of my dream finds.  I have several of the thermos bottles, the Skotch Kooler and the picnic basket.  I want that dreamy PINK Coleman jug! (Original price...$4.95).
Wooden crib with decals.......yes, please.
How about this awesom retro mixer with all the cool attachments?  A steal at $45.75 compared to today's Kitchenaid mixers.  (I wouldn't trade my Kitchenaid for anything though....)
Cosco stools and tables in retro colors?  I have that yellow stool and that red three tiered table too.

Christmas?  Large Blowmold Carolers.....$7.50.  Where's my time machine?

Vintage toys of all varieties.  Do you know that the original Cootie game was only $3.00????

I have been reading this book like a novel.  It is so much fun and I am learning more about the things I love to find.  I'll share more later - including MINK COATS for thousands of dollars stuck in the middle of the five and six dollar items.  Who on earth could afford that??????

So, what have YOU found?  Any after Christmas loot?  No more for me until it hits 75-90% off and then I only like to buy food and paper goods.  At least, that's what I TRY to limit myself too.  :)

***I Googled the book and found a 1954 edition on Amazon for.......$434.00!  Holy Moley!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Don't indulge too much like poor old Santa did!*

We rearranged our holiday celebration this year.  

No presents until Christmas afternoon.  

I'm dying!

 I need a GIFT!

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Wishing all my friends in blogland a very Merry Christmas.

And, you really are my friends.  I'm not just saying that.


*Photo taken at my Dad's house where the holiday decorations are  bit different that mine.  
**Yes, those are Playboy and Hustler magazines behind Santa.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thrift Finds

I'm almost ashamed to admit this (because it sounds perfectly awful), but I managed to hit two different thrifts while my Dad was in the hospital.  I went to Goodwill on Sunday to buy him a button down loose shirt to wear after the surgery.  See, that was a legitimate shopping trip - getting him a needed item.  Oh sure, I looked around too, but F-A-S-T.  (And, I may have just managed to find one of my Christmas Wishlist items on that very trip!)

The second trip was a few hours after he had the pacemaker implanted.  He was back in his room and doing fine.  But, he was really tired and needed to rest, so we left him alone for a couple hours.  We went to the very upscale and very pricey Mall that is in the same parking lot as the hospital, but after about thirty minutes of retail hell in Hot Topic, Abercrombie and Aeropostale, I could stand NO  MORE and had to find a thrift. 

 I've spent a lot of time on the internet looking at these German Christmas pyramids over the past few months.  We have several of the metal angel chimes that take candles and I wanted one of these wooden ones.  Well, I was more than surprised when I found one this Christmas.  In my very own Christmas tubs!  Apparently I found it last year close to Christmas and had forgotten all about it.  So, that was a happy find!  But, that didn't stop me from looking for another one.  I wanted a bigger one with a second or third level.  
 Sunday at Goodwill, I was taking a quick run through the Christmas stuff and I spotted a brand new cardboard box on the very top shelf and it said "Some Assembly" and "All pieces included" on it.  I never look at the new stuff in new boxes, but for some reason I took it down and peeked inside.  I was thrilled to spot the top of another Christmas Pyramid inside.  It was only $4.00, and I could tell that it was older and that it was just in the new box.  Lesson learned!  This one has the entire Nativity on it and is really sweet.  It really gets to twirling fast when all the candles are lit.  Now, I just need to happen upon a nice hoard of vintage candles!
At the other thrift, I found this German tree that takes the very same candles.  I do like it, but I am not sure I am in love with it.  So, it might get sold next Christmas.  (I tell you what I know I am NOT in love with and that is that terrible dust bunny peeking out from behind the bookshelf.  Eh gads! Time to dust).

I spotted an old popcorn tin under the table and picked it up. (Have you noticed how tiny popcorn tins are these days?  I used to love the old huge ones with metal handles for storing cat food and bird seed and stuff.  The little ones won't hold a thing!  Rant over...) I've been looking for a BIG one to store bird seed and thought I had found it.  When I picked it up....it was heavy.  I looked inside and spotted a bunch of very good very old ornaments and got very excited!  There was also some crap in there, so I unloaded that onto the table for the next guy and took the good stuff to the register.  

In the tin was this wonderful vintage German clip on bird.  
 And another one!  I have a few of these birds, but none like these.  Love the pink and teal colors.
 There was also a good amount of these blue and white striped candy looking spun satin ornaments.
 And some red and white striped ones too.  I've discovered this year that I like these old spun satin ornaments.  They work great on wreaths. And these striped ones are kind of sweet on the tree.
 I dug this vintage knit stocking out of a big bin.  It is HUGE as you can see.  I would hate to attempt to fill this thing because it would stretch and take a TON to fill it.  I made the mistake of buying The Bean a big stocking when he was tiny and I have a hell of a time filling that thing up. Especially since he only likes video games, gift cards, movies, CD's and other teeny expensive stuff.
 An old BINGO set, which I have bought too many already, but cannot seem to leave one behind, especially at the golden price of 50¢.  I love the old cards and the wooden markers.
 A crocheted cover on an old flue cover.  I like the fact  that someone took the time to make something utilitarian and kind of ugly, so pretty.
 A vintage candy tin.  I am trying SO HARD not to buy any tims because I have hundreds of tins.  But, I cannot leave behind any tin that once held candy or that was made in another country.
 This one fit the bill perfectly.
This old truck wasn't thrifted.  My Dad was going through some things he had bought at yard sales and thought I could sell them on ebay.  Of course, I LOVE this old truck.  It is dreamy.  But, I will be a good daughter and research it and see if I should sell it for him.  Until then, I thought I could "borrow" it and put some of my bottle brush trees in it.  

So, have you found anything lately?  I have all my Christmas thins DONE so tomorrow I am thinking a thrift run might be on the agenda - you just never know what might be out there!

Home again, home again, yippee

I'm back home, the cookies are in the oven, I am wrapping presents, my Dad is doing great and all is *hopefully* KNOCK WOOD well in the world!  Whew!

Here's my Dad in the hospital. wearing his jeans and his couture gown awaiting the doctor to say "GO HOME". He was very ready to go.  We spent one night with him, just to make sure he could do everything for himself.  By the time I left at noon, he had done a load of laundry, washed the dishes, made breakfast and sorted through his closet.  He likes to stay busy!  His only limitations are a)no lifting your arm above your head, b) don't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk (that's nine pound if you are wondering) and c) no driving for a week.  That's the hardest on him, because he doesn't like to stay home.  He wants to go!go! go!  But, considering what could have happened, he's quite content to be home.

So, let's bring on the Christmas Cheer!  KNOCK WOOD one more time, just to cover my own a$$.  :)

Merry Christmas everyone!  I'll be back next time with what's it like to spend the night in your childhood home for the first time in 27 years.  And how my room isn't like you see on TV - preserved in my childhood.  Oh, no siree, it is NOT!

*Still nothing on the computer issues, but I will deal with that next week.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Poor Pitiful Me Post

Thanks for all the well wishes for my Dad.  He is doing good, in fact, I am logging off the computer in a minute and headed to pick him up.  I will stay with him tonight and see how it goes.  Mostly he is just sore from all the IV's in his arms and having the pacemaker put in his chest.  But, he is feeling pretty good and ready to GO HOME.  I asked the doctor if I needed to stay with him for days or weeks or ???? and he P'shawed me and said, "He'll be FINE!  If he was fine before, he'll be better than fine now".  Of course, a heart surgeon thinks heart surgery is just a daily affair.  He didn't have heart surgery, he had the pacemaker implanted (not installed as I was saying - he is not a Transformer.)

Sunday morning I opened my email and I had some sort of terrible horrible WORM virus - I didn't even open an email...the whole system just shut down on me and went black.  After about two hours, I finally got one screen to come up - factory Restore.  That is the only thing that would work.  So, I did it.  And, man oh man, did that do terrible horrible things.  All my bookmarks are GONE.  My passwords that I had saved are GONE.  Our ITunes library is GONE.  A book that I had sort of been writing off an on over the past couple of years GONE.  And, the WORST - all my PHOTOS...GONE.  I sobbed over this one.  A few people have told me that you can take it to a computer shop and maybe they can retrieve them from the hard drive, so I will do that once things have settled a bit around here (like I am home again).  I have learned a lesson - print out your photos, put them on a web hosted site, get an external hard rive or put them on a memory card (I'll probably do all of these now....)

I'll end this with this picture - one that has nothing to do with me or this blog, but hey, it's on the computer.  Stupid, stupid, stupid......

If any of you have time and money for a plane ticket - can you come over and bake some cookies, make Christmas dinner, buy stocking stuffers and wrap the presents.  Great!  Thanks!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

We Interrupt This Blog

...to bring you real life.

Friday morning my Dad calls to say he is dizzy and has a bad headache.  He wants to go to the doctor or to the ER.  I get dressed, drive the 25 miles to his house, call the doctor for an appointment, they say they can't see him because they are booked, so just take him to the ER.  I load him up, drive the twenty miles to the hospital, drop him at the door (at his insistence), park the car and go in the ER.  A nurse is taking his blood pressure and heart beat when she says, "200 BEATS PER MINUTE" and all hell breaks loose in the ER.  Suddenly, he is on a gurney, big eyed thinking he only has a headache, but in reality, his heart is beating 200 beats per minute and he is on the verge of passing out and minutes away from dying.  Twelve people are in the room and doing all sorts of things, stripping off his clothes, putting in an IV, administering oxygen, hooking him up to monitors, and the worst one - a nurse is rubbing those paddles together getting ready to shock his heart.  All the while, he is just looking at me like, "What the hell?"

The doctor tells me that his heart rate is non-life supportive at the moment and if the drugs do not bring it down immediately, he will be shocked.  "This is bad," he says, "really bad". Speaking of shocked, my face must have been white as a ghost, because suddenly three nurses descend upon me, pushing me into a chair asking if I can breathe, etc.  I felt fine...I was shocked, but I honestly thought they had the wrong guy.  He has a headache I kept saying......

Luckily, the meds worked right away and his heart rate dropped to about 80 and has stayed that way since.  Today he had an angiogram or an angioplasty or something and they determined that he didn't have any blockage.  He will have a pacemaker installed on Monday.  All quite the shock to say the least.  I know so many people have pacemakers and they have saved their lives.  We watched a video today and learned a lot.  It looks like a pretty simple procedure and he should just be sore and housebound for a few days. 

A month ago he got a new cornea, this week a pacemaker.  He'll be completely bionic before we know it!  Thanks in advance for all the well wishes.  And, if you know anyone with a Pacemaker - tell me.  I bet there are LOTS!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's New. What's Not.

I have an incredible amount of Christmas stuff and I seem to add to it all year long every year.  I'm also very limited on space so everything has a place and has to be in that place in order for it to all get put out on display.  But, putting it out exactly the same year after year wouldn't be too fun, so I try to mix it up a bit. 

The village always goes on top of the TV wall Unit.  I usually mix it all up, but this year I noticed that I had acquired a lot of glittery churches over the past few years, so I put them all together on the top shelf and then only put out my Grocery Store Village on the second shelf.  *For anyone new reading this, I only collect grocery stores for my village since this is where The Breadman and I met. 
Raggedy Ann and Andy are front and center on the tree where they have been since I was seven years old.  That will never change.
The elves are on the shelf where they always are too, but in a different arrangement as last year. I don't think I found a new one this year.  I am on the hunt for a thrifted copy of Elf on the Shelf. 

This is new this year - I gathered up all my vintage bottle brush trees and some old German houses and made this vignette. I got the old dump truck this summer and thought is just had to hold a tree too.
The huge four foot tall Rubber face Santa is in his usual spot.  I love him so much!  I bought him for $2.00 about fifteen years ago. 
The Christmas Annalee collection has shown a huge growth spurt this year.  I found five new mice at Goodwill a few weeks ago.  Then, about a week ago, I went to an All Christmas store that is sponsored by the local thrift.  I had bought a local deal for $20.00 bought $40.00 worth of goods.  Plus, when I got there, everything was 50% off. So, I got $80.00 worth for my $20.00.  It was all new stuff and I was having trouble spending my money until I spotted a display of Annalee's!  I got six different ones plus a ton of other stuff that day.  Every Annalee I own cost me less than $1.00 each.

The Gurley Santa's are in their old clock cabinet.  I've never found a better place to put them that I like any more.
The Santa's are on their usual shelf.  I did try to mix it up a bit.  I like all the little stuff in the old candy jar on the top shelf.  And the wire crate full of my Great Grandmother's Santa face cups.

The Bean's Nutcrackers have taken over the top shelf.  He only started collecting them a few years ago and man, he has a ton!  He's got him Mom's collecting gene, that's for sure!

The old window got a shock of bling.  It looks better in real life - lots of sparkle with the wreath, glass beads and picks.  I have a ton of old marquee letters, so I made the HO HO HO this year. (*The camera was crooked, the shelf is straight.)
I found these four pots of Mercury Glass flowers this summer.  I waited all summer to use them! 

The Christmas Countdown Snowman is on the front door as usual.  The best part?  I still find my kid, even though he is sixteen, moving it over day to day first thing in the morning.  I guess you never get too old for Christmas, right?

So, have done things differently this year?  Or is the same old, same old? I don't think it really matters, because I love it all the same, new or old!

Coming up: My tour of the new American Art Museum, 2011 Christmas Candy making and an Estate Sale in an Historic Home. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America is a program that provides a fresh evergreen wreath to be placed on all graves at Arlington Cemetery as well as other National Cemeteries across the USA.  Our local National Cemetery has been a part of Wreaths Across America for the past few years.  We often drive past the cemetery and we always stop when we see the wreaths have been laid out.  It is beautiful and really a touching thing to see.  Thousands of graves with white marble headstones and a green wreath under it.  It is very peaceful, respectful and serene.  I had heard that a few Boy Scout groups were the ones that laid each wreath out, but I wasn't sure when they did it exactly.  Friday I read in the paper that today was the day that the wreaths would be laid out and that the public was welcome to help.   I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of it.

This morning, The Bean and I headed to the National Cemetery to help what I honestly thought would be a handful of Boy scouts and volunteers.  When I turned the corner that leads to the cemetery, I was amazed at what I saw - rows of cars lined up on both sides of the road, people walking blocks to get to the ceremony and Wreaths Across America trucks parked along the way.

There were about two thousand people there which really surprised me.  I did hear on the news that this is the sixth year that this cemetery has been decorated and up until three years ago, only about twenty people laid the wreaths out. 

The trucks were in place and the boxes of wreaths were out, opened and ready to be placed when we got there.

 Each wreath is hand made, thick and full of evergreen and topped off with a red velvet bow.
First there was a ceremony -  the presentation of the Colors, our Senator spoke eloquently about the Patriot Guard, the Veterans and America.  It was emotional.  The loveliest version of taps was played, long and slow and perfectly pitched.  A twenty one gun salute followed. 

Then were dispersed to lay out the wreaths.  No one instructed us on the proper method, so we chose a wreath, laid it down, fixed the bow, then stepped back for a few moments of silence.  Others were saluting each time, but I assume they had a military background. 

I was proud that The Bean wanted to do this with me.  We go to the National and Confederate Cemetery quite often and we have gone several (too many) times as a funeral procession for a solider killed in action has come through.  He stands quietly and places his hand over his heart as they pass by.  He understands what they have done and what their families have to now deal with without their family member. He makes me proud.

The families were to go first and lay wreaths at their loved ones graves.  We found a long row of Unknown Soldiers and felt that we were meant to give them their wreaths.  They have no one else. 

There were a lot of people scattering trying to get to lay at least one or two wreaths out.  We did about twenty each on this row before it was filled.

The people quickly left the cemetery once they had placed their wreaths.

We walked down to this area and discovered that no one had put wreaths along the backside of the vaults.  By this point, the cemetery was nearly empty of volunteers.  I found someone in charge and they brought us over four boxes of wreaths which The Bean and I laid at each spot until it was full.  There was another couple there that helped make sure we had one in front of each row. I'm glad we discovered that they had been missed before a family member noticed.

We walked around the cemetery reading the names, the dated, the service dates, etc.  You can tell the names that died in service at a young age and the ones that lived nice long lives. 

This is my Stepfather's Dad's grave.  We weren't able to do the wreath, but we were glad to have found the marker. 
If you aren't familiar with a National Cemetery - the soldiers name is on the front and if his wife is buried with him, her name is on the reverse.  This is my Stepfather's Stepmother. 

I thought this one was interesting.  Shirley Oeftering served in Korea.

Her husband is on the reverse.  That was the only one like that I noticed all day.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend a wreath laying or even to just visit the cemetery once it has been decorated, you really must do it.  It is awe inspiring and you won't soon forget it.

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