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, 2012

The Year in Review: THRIFT FINDS

I have decided to forego my usual YEAR IN REVIEW post because this year was one hell of a HUMDINGER.  I would just as soon NOT go over it month by month and live it again.  So, I will just do my THRIFTING Year in Review.  

John Plains 1954 Book.  I found this at Goodwill for $10.00.  It is such a fun to see what things I LOVE to find now cost back then.  Love all the picnic items on these pages.

Blow mold palooza hit this summer when I found all of these blowmolds for 50¢ each.  I kept both the snowmen and the Santa.  I sold the rest at the flea market for about $80.00.

I bought this sweet camper set on Craigslist.  I still need to find a spot for it in my house.  Actually, I need to find it.  I stuck it somewhere for safe keeping until after the holidays.  Hmmmmm....

I discovered this Plumpee rubber doll in a huge digger sale.  He was absolutely filthy, but cleaned up pretty good.  He sits in my kitchen and gives me and the Bean a chuckle every time we see him.  

My first locker basket.  I longed to buy it at one of my thrifts stores but it was marked NOT 4 Sale for years.  The store was faced with the possibility of moving or closing so I swooped in and asked ONE MORE TIME to buy the basket.  I got it.  And, the thrift ended up moving and not closing.  Whew.

Oh my.  My favorite.  I spotted an ad on Craigslist for two complete wire racks full of these baskets for a total of $35.00.  I drove thirty miles in a pouring rain to go get them.  I ended up with 31 baskets and two racks.  I might sell them someday.  But, I just love seeing them all stacked up in my garage for now.  I use them for all kinds of sorting projects and for holding things in the booth.

I rescued this sweet doll from Goodwill.  On the way to the car, a lady tried to buy her from me.

A sweet red tin phone scored from ebay for like two bucks or something crazy.  

A handmade piece of needlework made by Margie.  I have bought several things from one family over the past ten years that all belonged to Margie.  This was my latest find and it made me oh, so happy.

A pile of brand new folding rulers for $2.00 each.  I fashioned them into stars and tied them off with bakers twine.  I have sold them all for $15.00 each in the booth.

Freebies from the Estate Sale I ran to on a Sunday afternoon for "about an hour" while the boys mowed.  When I got there, everything was FREE.  Seven hours later, filthy and with a car packed to the brim for FREE, I was home.  This is just a sampling of smalls.  Man, that was one HOT, DIRTY, MISERABLE day.  I loved it.  :D

A precious handmade basket dated from the 1800's on the handle.  Found at the Super Cheap Thrift for 25¢.  It is a bonafide piece of art.

A HUGE Annalee Santa in a Chimney.  Spotted at Goodwill hidden under the Halloween costumes for TWO BUCKS.  I bought him and waited outside for the boys to pick me up.  The Breadman looked at me like I was insane.  The Bean knew it was an Annalee and was very happy for me.  

An awesome old feedsack turtle quilt top.  Bought from a favorite thrift n a neighboring town run by doddering old ladies.  It was six dollars and the lady at the register nearly had a fit when she saw the price.  "I cannot believe they priced that SO HIGH!" she said.  I love old lady pricing.

Those are the highlights for the year in thrifting.  I bought more this year since I had the booth, but I kept less.    I did seem to buy a lot of toys according to this post.....and I seem to spend more on the things I keep.  But, sometimes I pick up my flea market and see all that I sold, so I allow myself a bit to spend on what I really love.  That seems fair to me.

How was your year in thrifting?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

26 Acts of Kindness or More

I'm going to do 27 Acts of Random Kindness - one act for each soul lost in the Sandy Hook Shootings.  For everything we have endured this year, I know that none of it pales in comparison to what those families are going through now and forever.  I think about those babies faces every day.  And the adults that tried to help them.  I really have no words to say how I feel about it all.  It's just so sad.

My 26 Acts of Random Kindness are going to be small things that might bring a smile to someone's face.  I don't have rolls of quarters to leave at laundry mats or enough money to pay for lunch for a stranger.  But, I can do small things.  You take 27 small things and that adds up to one big thing, right?  

So far I have:

1) Taken two bags of oranges to the Volunteer's at one of my thrift stores.

2) Donated a box full of samples and coupon freebies to the "Prize box" at the rehab hospital (they play Bingo, Dominoes and Banagrams as part of their standing therapy). 

That's not much, but it's a start.  Now to put on my thinking cap and think of things to do for people.  I've been the lucky recipient of so many acts of kindness this Christmas season.  It's time to do some myself.

And maybe, you could do 27 Acts with your family too? If you haven't already, of course.  :)

*edited to say I added an additional RAOK.  I didn't realize that the 26 didn't include the Mother.  Bless her heart and especially her other son who has to live without his Mother and his brother not to mention what he did and the outcome.  You know what?  I think I will just try to do one a day for a long time and not worry about counting them.  The world NEEDS more kindness.  Don't you agree?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Merry Christmas!

From the three of us to all of YOU!
Shara, Curtis and Christopher
Me, The Breadman and The Bean

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Oh, Fudge!

I wasn't sure I would get any Christmas Candy made this year.  But, a few days ago I decided rather than making a HUGE mess in the kitchen and making a million dishes I could make one kind of candy each day with minimal messes.

Well, that was good in theory, but once we got started, we just kept on going.  I usually do things like this in the afternoon once my usual chores are done.  But, since I am at therapy with my Mom from about 2-6:30 every day, I had to start early in the mornings.  It's hard to get your sweet tooth going at 9:00 am.  But, I prevailed.  :D

The thing about the Christmas Candy we make - well, the Fudge we make - we have no recipes.  We make different things each year and we completely wing it when we make it.  Every thing we have ever made has turned out pretty darn delicious if I do say so myself.

The secret to our concoctions is sweetened condensed milk and Vanilla Almond Bark.  One one pound package of almond bark and a half a can of condensed milk is the base for all of these creations.  Break up the almond bark, microwave it for two minutes, stir until smooth then add the condensed milk and assorted goodies.  This is by no means suggesting that this is easy or hard or that anyone would want to make it.  It's just the way we "wing" it and the yumminess that prevails in the end.

Cherry-Almond Fudge
This one has a jar of Maraschino Cherries and a big handful of sliced almonds added in.  I drained the cherries, cut them in half then let them dray a while on a paper towel before I added them into the mixture.

 Mint Chocolate Chip Fudge
This time we added Mint Extract - about a tablespoon full and a half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I added half of those chocolate chips to it so they sort of melted, then added in the rest when I had the mixture in the pan.  That was there is a ribbon of mixture of mint and chocolate and a bite of a chocolate chip too.  We added two drops of green food coloring to give it that minty color.

Almond Joy Fudge
Oh, this one is good!  A handful of sliced almonds, a handful of flaked coconut and a half of bag of chocolate chips.  I stirred in the almonds and coconut then poured half of it in the buttered pan, sprinkled the chocolate chips then poured on the rest of the mixture.  Now each piece has a delicious little row of chocolate in the center.  

 Creamsicle Fudge
We went to a Craft Fair this Fall and bought some fudge at the Fudge Stand.  One of the flavors they had was Creamsicle.  I couldn't think of how on earth they made it.  Orange extract has a true orange flavor and  that isn't what Creamsicles taste like.  I had been thinking about that fudge for a couple of months and knew I HAD to figure it out.  So, I made the almond bark/condensed milk concoction - poured half of it into a bowl and the other half into the buttered dish.  Then, I added....are you ready?  A package or unsweetened orange Kool-Aid to the rest and stirred it up.  Poured that on top of the vanilla portion and swirled it with a knife.  Once it set up and I cut it - I kid you not, that stuff tastes exactly like a Creamsicle.  Whodathunk it?

Did you make candy this year?  What kind did you make?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Vintage Christmas Paper

This Fall I received a surprise box in the mail that was absolutely chock full of the PERFECT items for me.  I mean, if I shopped all year for myself, I wouldn't have found more perfect items.  Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.

One of the bestest (yes, that is too a word) was this 1949 Tuttle Christmas Paper Catalog.

 It is a catalog of all of the wrapping paper, gift sacks and paper bags available for a department store to order for it's gift wrapping department.  (I don't shop at any department stores - do they still have a gift wrapping department?)
I assumed it would be pictures of the wrapping paper.  But, when I opened it, I was happy to find page after page of actual tissue paper, wrapping paper and gift sacks.  I bet there's over 50 different patterns.  I've refrained from taking a photo of each and every one.  (It was HARD!)

There is often one design like this Santa paper.

And then it is in different color combinations.  
Because it was after WWII, lots of the papers have a red, white and blue Americana theme to them.  

I love this vintage Santa with balloons.  Because nothing screams CHRISTMAS like a bunch of balloons.  

Another red, white and blue variety.  
The stars in the background are from another sheet of paper.  

I love this red, white and blue Santa.  

And, this happy caroling couple.

Poinsettias and candles.

Simple red and metallic stripes.

Sweet little cottages in the Christmas tree forest.

Love the font on the old papers.

Jingle Bells in red and black.

Jingle Bells in red and blue.

Peace on Earth with angels.

Red, white and blue with a POP of green.

I like these blue Poinsettias.

Cheery Snowmen.

And a more Christmas-y color combination.

Elegant silver and green Poinsettias.

Love this bold holly paper.

This one stole my heart even though it's not the usual Santa's and bold graphics.

And, Merry Christmas to YOU!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You Can't Catch Me.....

I'm the Gingerbread Man.  I have an incredibly small Gingerbread Man collection.  It's only three items and one of them just came to me this week.

I spotted this sad little felt Gingerbread Man in the FREE box at one of my thrifts.  I asked if I could buy it since it said LIMIT ONE PER CHILD and I had no child with me.  They laughed and threw it in my bag.  He's small - just a handful for a kid.

This old plush Knickerbocker Gingerbread Man winds up.  He plays music and his head and arms turn ever so slowly.  He is really cool and slightly creepy when his head starts revolving.  He's one of those things that I have bought along the way for resell, but he never left the house.  

My childhood copy of The Gingerbread Man.  
I love that gingham cover and that jaunty peppermint hat of his.

It must have been a real page turner because I gave it an "A+" in green crayon at some point.  
I do hope I did this as a child and not last year.  :)

I guess I could eek this in as an item too - a sweet vintage Gingerbread house card that was sent to me by one of my lovely, lovely readers.  I have the very best followers.  They send me the nicest gifts completely out of the blue.  Thank you.

I don't intend to start collecting Gingerbread Man items, so this little dab will have to do.  This time it is sheer quality over quantity.  *Although, if I ever find a Gingy from Shrek, he will join the collection.  "Not my buttons!  Not my gumdrop buttons!!!!"

**Have you ever read The Gingerbread Man"  He gets eaten by the wolf!  Nooooooooo!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Pink Tree and Other Decor

Did I ever tell you that I never sold the pink tree?  I had bids on it - I think it was up to around $189.00, but I really can't remember.  That late night when we were rushing to Springfield, MO to meet my Mom in the ambulance, my phone started buzzing with ebay questions.  I hadn't even thought about my auctions and I had no idea when we would ever be home again.  So, I put The Bean to work canceling all my auctions.  

While he was doing that, a message came through from an ebay bidder.  It wasn't a question, but a full on bawling out for me selling a NEW tree and describing it as an OLD tree.  It went on to tell me that often, "older people think things are vintage when they are not."  that one ruffled my feathers as I thought I was being referred to OLD, but it was actually in reference to the story about the older couple climbing up into the attic to get it down for me.  They had told me about having it in their house when the kids were little - and this couple was in their late 70's or so - and I had no reason NOT to believe them.  Anyway, long story short, I cancelled the auction.  Not because I believed this person, but because I did not have time to deal with any sort of confrontational bidders or buyers.  Besides, I LOVE that damn pink tree.  Even though I have never used it.  Someday, someday......:D

I managed to get all of my decorations out this year.  I still don't know how I did it with everything else going on.  It may stay up until June with my busy schedule these days, but by golly, it is UP!  

The Santa's are up although not as many or are they displayed as carefully as they have been in the past.  Ignore the misc. crap around the bookshelf.  I didn't do my BIG CLEAN that I usually do the week before decorating.  

My sparkly blinged out area is done.  Oh, how I love this.  Mercury balls, mercury beads, old tree toppers, etc.  It just makes me HAPPY.  And, isn't that what it's all about?????  We all NEED a little happy with what is happening in our world.  Scary stuff.


I just love it.  

What makes YOU happy this Christmas?  

I Can See You!

Look at my Visitors!

Fellow Junk Followers