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.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bikes, Blues and BBQ

This weekend there were a lot of motorcycles in town.  And, I do mean a LOT.  A couple hundred thousand motorcycles.  I live in a town of less than 5,000, butted up next to a town of about 70,000.  So, throw a couple hundred thousand motorcycles in and you have yourself a bonefide CROWD.  Lots of traffic headaches.  I hate traffic.  Lots of noise.  I hate noise.  Motorcycles - never been on one.  So, do I sound like I hate this weekend of Bikes, Blues, and BBQ?  Well, guess what?  I LOVE it.  It's one of my favorite weekends of the year!  I'm weird like that.  I don't have a bike, I don't like the Blues and I don't eat BBQ.  But, I still like to go.

The rally is held in several different venues to make the traffic congestion not too bad at one big place.  Of course, all those people on on those motorcycles want to go to all of those places, so the traffic is just terrible everywhere.  But, we just love to get right out in the middle of it and see what we can see.  There are the regular run of the mill motorcycles, then there are custom made ones made to seat five or six people and themes like Marvel Comics, Betty Boop or The Grim Reaper.

This guy from Full Throttle Saloon was there, but his booth said NO PHOTOS and NO MINORS, so I had to snap a quick photo from across the street.

This bike was set up complete with bones under the wheels.  Do you see Chickie and the skeleton riding?  How about the trailer?

Yep.  It's a coffin.  When I saw it from across the street, I noticed a hand hanging out that side.  Nice.

Pretty much every street you go up or down.  Motorcycles.  Motorcycles everywhere.

All the bars were packed and it was only 1:00.  I will say this is a family friendly rally, so no drinks on the streets or out of the beer gardens, no trashy dressing or obscenities.  
Apparently, this guy didn't get the memo about that which left me feeling awkward standing behind him with my 17 year old son.  AkWaRd. That was the only "bad"thing I saw all weekend, so that's good.

Did I mention the motorcycles?
 There were a lot of them.

This was the loudest spot of all.  Thousands of motorcycles.  See the train behind there?  That's how you get to one venue from the other if you are afoot like we were or want to park your motorcycle and walk.   So, you have thousands of motorcycles plus a train blowing it's whistle.  BUT WAIT!  That's not all!  Off to the right is a helicopter pad.  Yes, that's right - not one but TWO helicopters taking off and landing one after the other giving tours around town.  So, thousands of motorcycles, a train and two helicopters.  You could go deaf, I swear.  It's great!

Here's the train - we rode on the open car.  It's great to be outside on a moving train.  Guess how long the ride takes to get from one main venue to the next?  Give up?  Five minutes and five seconds.  But, in all that traffic - it would be at least a thirty minute drive not to mention having to park and pay at each place.  So, at $2.50 each way - it's a bargain.  Plus, it's fun to see your town from the vantage point of a train.  Well, five minutes of your town, anyway. 

Saturday is the Parade of Power where all the motorcycles line up at the Fairgrounds and go through town at once.  Despite this photo, I assure you it is HUGE and very fun to see.  Constant motorcycles three across at highway speed for thirty straight minutes.  

One last attempt to take a photo before I quit and just enjoyed the parade.  

A lot of the locals hate BB&Bbq, but  I think it is fun - so much money gets poured into our economy.  People behave, no one gets killed or hurt and only a couple goofs spend the night in jail for drinking too much.  It's fun and I can't wait until next year.  

No junk for me this weekend.  What did you do?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apples, Apples, Apples

On Sunday, I saw on Facebook that my cousin in KS (Hi Tracy) had gone apple picking.  We always go to the free orchard here, but I thought it was too early for them to be ready this year.  But, heck if the apples are ready in KS, they might be ready in in AR too, so off we went to the Apple Orchard.  We learned a few years back that the only good way to "pick" an apple is to grab a branch and shake the bejeezus out of the tree.  It seems mean, but even the Park Rangers at the Orchard told us that is the way to get the best apples.  When we got there, much to our surprise, the only apples left were at the very tippy top of the trees way beyond my tree shaking reach.  

Luckily, we had brought our long tree trimmer with the big hook on it.  We were able to hook the uppermost branches and shake, shake, shake.  You have to SHAKE it, stop and count the bonk, bonk, bonk of the apples while you cover your head. Then you go find the appropriate number of apples for the appropriate number of bonks.  It's not the typical apple picking like you normally picture, but we get the job done.

I only managed to get the tree trimmer stuck a few times.  Okay, more than a few.  

After about an hour, we had all these apples.  For free!  

I made Fried Apples like they have a Cracker Barrel.  Except, I looked up the recipe for Cracker Barrel and it called for Bacon Grease.  I don't eat beef, pork or animal fat of any kind, so this really freaked me out.  I know to read the ingredients on most items, but fried apples, really?  I assumed they only had apples, sugar, cinnamon, etc.  Never crossed my, mind the etc. included bacon fat.  My version was just apples, sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch.  It was delish!

Today I bought Red Hots to make Cinnamon Apples.  My Mom made them when I was little and it is one of my absolute favorites.  Throw the Red Hots in a pot with a small amount of water - like  1/4 cup and let it melt.  Throw in the apples and let them simmer until the Red Hot mixtures gets all thick and syrupy.  Mmmmm.  

The rest of the apples will be eaten as they are so we can pretend we are healthy. :) But, some will be made into apple bread and frozen.   I also found a recipe for Apple Zucchini Bread which I might try since I overbought Zuchinni at the Farmer's Market last week.  

The history of the apple orchard is an interesting one.  Although, not for the weak of heart.  It is located in the heart of the Prairie Grove Civil War Battlefield.  The orchard was located behind the Borden House in 1862.  One of the most deadliest battles took place at the Borden House and below it.  Nearly 250 men fell in that battle in the Orchard.  Their bodies were buried there temporarily until they could be moved to the Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville.  The orchard was replanted long down the road and is now part of the Battlefield Park.  The apples are free to the public and it is a nice little small town hidden secret.  If you are interested in more, here's the whole story:  Borden House Apple Orchard.  Every Halloween we go to the haunted Battlefield Tour which is a recreation of the scary real life things that happened out there during the Civil War.  There are dying screaming soldiers lying under the apple trees, a medical tent set up with bone saws and amputees and women with lanterns out walking in the night screaming for their husbands and sons.  It is scary, but not in a Halloween scare way - it was real life and it was horrifying.  Thank goodness we did not live back then.

**Another thanks for all the great letters and postcards we have been receiving.  We've gotten letters from California to New York, from Georgia to Michigan and from London and Canada too.  Thank you to all you kind people!  More on this later!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paint By Numbers

There is a lady here in town that has sales on Wednesday's every now and again.  Whenever I see her ads, I make sure I stop by.  She doesn't have a lot, but I always find something worth buying.  Oddly enough, I don't think I have ever blogged about anything I have bought there.  In the past few months I have bought over one hundred old keys including about thirty to forty old skeleton keys, thirty-forty original paper wrappings from vintage Daisy Air Rifles and about seventy vintage paint brushes.  Every time I stop, she says - Oh, you like to buy in BULK!"  The day I bought the keys, she told me that she had just sold a laundry basket heaped full of old pool balls for five bucks.  I think I cried right there and then.  

Today's purchase was not in bulk.  Just two items today.

Two large Paint by Numbers.  They are very well done and framed in nice oak frames.  
They are big - 16 x 20 each.  
I mentioned that they were Paint By Numbers and she said she had never heard of PBN's for adults.

I like them and I appreciate them, but they are not my style and will be headed to the Flea Market soon.

I hope someone else likes them!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pleased As Punch

** We have begun to receive some post cards from you fabulous readers.  Thank- you for taking the time to send us some wonderful ideas on things to research.  

Do you read Creative Breathing?  Elizabeth makes the most adorable felt creations.  Actually, she makes creations of all sorts, each one sweeter than the last.  I am a particular fan of her felt creations though.  I have made many of her felt characters with a few tweaks to make them my own.  The main reason I tweak them is that I know I could never, ever pull off her fabulous teeny stitches when she embroiders or her whimsical faces.  She really is talented and I am a big fan.  

Here's a bellboy chick I made using one of her patterns.  Hers are much more whimsical and elaborate.  But I was pretty pleased with my little comical guy.  He makes me happy sitting on his perch.

Last week she had a giveaway and guess who won?  Me!  Me!  Me!  I was so surprised and so excited to know I would be the proud owner of an actual "E" creation.  And, when it arrived in the mail yesterday?  well, it was even better than I had imagined!  

Photo taken from Creative Breathing.  
I received the sweet Elf, his tiny reindeer and a sweet shadowbox to boot.  It is all absolutely fabulous and I adore it.
Thank you SO much, Elizabeth.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cupboard Makeover = Happiness

I am the Queen of picking things up with good intentions.  Good intentions to paint it or clean it up or put it on ebay or whatever.  Lots of times I look at it for so long I just get sick of it and end up re-donating it.  

When I brought this little cupboard home this week, I swore that I would paint it and put it to good use.  Not later, not someday...NOW!  I hated the beige paint and the birdhouses and painted doors.  I know some people might still like that look, but it's just not me. So, I sanded it and painted it white.  I originally thought I would edge it in red like an old Hoosier, but in the end, I decided I liked it solid white.
To say that I love this little cabinet would be a severe understatement.  Like, I want to marry it, you know?

And because I am in my *cough* 40's *cough, of course I have two sets of tiny dishes and a tea pot to fill it up.  And,  doily, of course.  Green handled cookie cutter?  No problem.

Wee cookie jar?  Of course!  Miniature salt and pepper shakers?  Why, of course!

I spent part of the afternoon pillaging my house looking for all my little stuff.  I think I found it.  
 I still need to put the tiny glass knobs on.  I saved these from a long gone project.  Happy that I rediscovered them earlier this week.
Here it is in the living room where I can see it.  Right next to my beloved Shiny Brite filled lamp.  Throw in a tiny celluloid baby doll and some metal toy scales and you have a table full of happy. 

What made you happy today?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pretty, Pretty Please?

The Bean and I are looking for things to include in his Home School regimen this year that are different and interesting.  Things we can learn about that he most likely wouldn't learn about in the local traditional school.  There are so many interesting things to see and do in our area.  For instance the Walton 5 & 10Crystal BridgesUniversity of ArkansasSt.Catherines at Bell GableWar Eagle Mill and a Civil War Battlefield
 within a few minutes of our house.  Not only have we been to each of these places and learned the obvious things about each place, we have had many conversations and hours spent on the internet looking up things that we saw there.  For instance, different types of weapons used in the Civil War, what a grist mill is, who is Andy Warhol, how old is Old Main and lots of other things.  We try to learn something where ever we go.

I was wondering if I could ask each of you to send a note or a postcard to our house -  write something that you think we would like to learn about from your town or state. You don't have to tell us anything about it - that's what we will do - research it and learn about it.  

I know that I could ask you to just leave a comment with the same info, but we also want to track the letters - closest, farthest, how long each one takes to travel here, etc.  Heck, even the different stamps and postmarks are interesting to look up and research.  

We still have our regular studies.  This is just for the in between times and for the days when we just don't feel like doing the scheduled things.  It happens, you know.

For every letter we get, we will donate a can of food to the Food Bank in appreciation.  That helps with his Volunteering part of Home School.  I'm kind of killing five or six birds with one stone on this project.  :)

I appreciate and LOVE every one that sends a letter.  And if you can't - we still LOVE you too!  

Thanks in advance for helping us out!

Shara Stacks
100 North Hunter Street
Farmington, AR 72730

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Corks, Cannoli's and Chocolate Elephants

Here I sit, blogging about the junk I drug home today and I had a huge, and I do mean HUGE avalanche of STUFF behind me.  I'm not sure I can even get out of my office.  Send help, please?  And maybe a pizza?

Yesterday one of the Vendors at the Flea market invited me to come over to her garage sale THE DAY BEFORE SHE OPENED.  Woot.  I was excited to be the first one in the door.  But, they had it all covered up with sheets since it was in a wood shop and the furniture was outside in a big tent all closed up, so I really didn't get to see it all.  I ended up just buying a few things and leaving.  I saw some things I wanted, but the prices were too much for little old (cheapy) me.  

I got a baggie with old birthday candles, flags, candle holders and the biggest clown head picks I have ever seen - the vinage ornament hanger box for my collection and the corks which I have no use for but when I saw them, I thought of Sue's Wine Cork Board, so I had to grab them. 

The long loaf pan has ridges in it - not sure why.  I'm thinking to make it easier to slice the bread or whatever.  I like to use old loaf pans for storage and not baking anyway.

Now, we watch the Cake Boss and he makes Cannoli's and we watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" and Marie makes Cannoli's and it makes us WANT a Cannoli.  Here's the thing - we don't even know what a Cannoli is!   But, we WANT ONE!  Now, I suppose I can make some.  

This is a Wilton Mold.  You can make a cake in it.  But, it also has two sides so you can make a solid chocolate elephant.  Forget the Cannoli's I want a solid chocolate elephant!

This tiny child's vintage cupboard is fabulous.  Oh, someone painted it all cutsie pie and it makes me cringe - I don't like that part at all.  But, a can of primer, a coat of white, a little red on the edges and some miniature glass knobs I happen to have and it is going to be adorable.  I want to display my vintage toy baking items on it.  I got this at the Super Cheap Thrift for $2.50.  

Do you remember when these were all the rage several years ago on QVC?  You can fill each section of the bowl with candy, toys, streamers, or whatever to make it fit into any holiday or theme.  It's called a Fill a Bowl.  I always thought they were kind of neat, but pricey.  Well, now that I bought one for $2.00, I see that  it would take a ton of stuff to fill it and it would be limited to really tiny stuff.  I don't know - I'll have to think on it a bit.  

So, there's the recent loot.  Time to dig myself out of my avalanche.  Hope I can do it!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Week in Junk 9/10/12 & A Booth Report

Alternate Title - Check to make sure your photos aren't blurry before you come in and look at them six hours later.  :(

Wednesday I returned to my thrift that is looking for a new home.  They have a slew of merchandise and a date of 10/1 to move, so they are still putting lots of new items out - including Christmas, Easter and Halloween.  They usually hold holiday merchandise until the correct time of year.  every thing in this post came from that thrift store and I feel strongly that it all came from the same family.  Everything is form the same date range and has the same general cuteness factor.  

My favorite find - a "Baa Baa Black Sheep" musical sheep.  He is make of a leathery plastic material and has a big jingle bell at his neck.  His musical winder is wound too tight, but sometime I can get them to unstick.  I haven't worked on him yet.  He was 75¢.

(*No need to get your eyes checked, this one is blurry to say the least!)  A Bible Lotto Game for 25¢ - headed to the Booth.

I found a slew of 1950's Children's books.  They were priced 4/$1.00, but I bought about forty books and they only charged me $4.00.  This is just a sampling.  The rest are headed tot he booth.  these need to be researched a bit and will probably go on my vintage book shelf.
I spotted this sweet old baby quilt top hanging on a rack and about fell over myself trying to get to it before anyone else did.   

 Never mind that no one was even in the same area let alone looking at it. 
 I saw all that cute embroidery and those sweet little baby animals.  
 And fell in love.  But, I was worried about the price.  Would I be able to afford it?
 The price?
I can afford THAT!

I also bought some vintage baby clothes to resell and a dress or two for Hazel.  Baby clothes were 3/$1.00 and there were some sweet vintage outfits mixed in with the regular clothes.  I took some photos, but they were too blurry to even make out.  (The sun was shining off the screen on the camera and I couldn't see what I was doing.  That's my story and I and I am sticking to it!)

Thursday morning I ran to a Church Sale and bought a stack of old school readers - the Dick and Jane type.  They aren't in the very best of condition, but they often hit a nostalgic nerve with the flea marketers, so I sell them quite well.  I only paid 25¢ each and I will sell them for $5.00, so it all adds up.  

I had my best month ever in my Flea Market history in August.  Our little store is really taking off and getting a great reputation for having unique items at affordable prices.  I sell a lot of smalls and a few higher ticket items.  By higher ticket, the most expensive thing I sold last month was $25.00.  Some of the Vendors sell furniture - they buy it, paint it, distress it, replace the knobs, haul it in, work it into their booths, etc.  It is a LOT of work.  Some of them think my little booth of vintage things is sort of funny.  Ha ha to them when my check is double theirs and I don't have to schlep furniture in and out the door.  Not trying to be mean, but I would much rather prefer to have my booth chock full of smalls and have everyone that walks in find something they like than have one or two pieces sitting there waiting for just the right buyer.  My sales for the first three days in September equal half of my August sales - in three days!  So, I am in for a good month.  I hope it doesn't sound like I am boasting.  But, I am proud of our store and that my booth is doing well.  It makes me feel good to contribute!

So, did you find any good loot this week?

Friday, September 07, 2012

Royal Gifts

Many of you that read this blog are Yardsalequeen readers too.  And, if you aren't - you should join up!  Yardsale Queen 

The Yard Sale QUEEN herself, Chris, mentioned a few weeks ago that she had bought something at a sale to send to me.  She has been nice enough to bequeath Crown Royal bags to The Bean in the past (he liked them for his Lego's and stuff when he was little.  It was funny to see my kid running around with a bunch of booze bags).  So, I was expecting Crown Royal bags.

I was especially pleased to find this instead:

PINK watermelon potholders.  Plus, she included a newspaper clipping from an article about her going yard saling.  Notice that in her hand she is holding those very same watermelon potholders.  I own famous potholders!  Woot!

Thanks for thinking of me Chris - I really appreciate it

* I just realized that when I write my GREAT NOVEL, the name of it will be "Watermelon Potholders"!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Seventeen years ago, I embarked on a journey.  A journey of being a Mom.  I was admitted to the hospital on August 31st, yet The Bean did not arrive until September 6th.  Every day, I was given medication to induce labor.  And, each day went by with no baby.  At 7:00 each night, they would send me home for the night to be back at 7:00 am  the next day.  Each day I had no food or water until they let me go home.  In the elevator, I squeezed two quarters in between my fingers waiting for the elevator to reach the 3rd floor where the VENDING MACHINE are was.  There I would buy a bag of Mustard Pretzels and devour them on the spot.  Still the most delicious things I ever remember eating.  I was there on Thursday and had no baby.  Back on Friday, still no baby.  They sent me home for the Labor day Weekend (quite a weird thing - trying to go into labor on Labor day) complete with the IV still in my arm.  Tuesday I was back in the hospital on meds, but again, no baby.  Wednesday morning as I arrive, I announce that if the baby doesn't come TODAY, I am going home until he makes an arrival on his own will.  With that statement, they forcibly break my water.  The Doctor's way of saying, "Nanner Nanner Boo Boo", I think.

Hours go by with nothing.  I don't like talking about dilation, because "Eew".  But one minute I was barely and the next minute it was GO TIME.  

The Bean arrived at 3:15 in the afternoon.  Because of all of the medication and lack of nourishment over the last week, he arrives very lethargic and breathing slowly.  They take him to the Nursery to watch, order everyone out of my room so I can rest announcing quite out of the blue that I was very sick and quite honestly could have died having him.  I swear to you that no one had ever dad that to any of us - not to me, the husband, my parents, NO ONE.  Apparently my blood pressure was sky high and I could have stroked out.  Luckily (that's putting it mildly, huh?) I didn't and I was fine.  They kept The Bean in the hospital for a week after he was born.  That was hard - going home empty handed.  Finally, when he was a week old and we were able to bring him home.  He was on an Apnea Monitor which gauged his breathing to make sure that he was breathing in a timely fashion.  It never went off, not once the entire year he had it.  It was a relief knowing that if he stopped breathing that an alarm would sound and we could tend to him.  In the end, he was only breathing slow because of the Pitocin they were pouring into me trying to induce labor.  

Being this kid's Mom has been great.  

I remember these days like they were yesterday.

Then again, it seems like a long time ago.

He was such a funny kid.

And now, even though he is growing up.  Or rather, he practically is a grown up.  
He's still my kid.  And, I'm still his Mom.

Sometimes he is hard on himself.  He worries if he buys something I might consider childish.  (Like the person that buys old squeaky toys is really one to judge anyone).  Case in point - that dragon in the photo.  He's bought one every year for the past ten years at the Craft Fair.  This year he worried that he was too old to buy one.  I said, "Are you going to put a Barbie on it and pretend to fly it to the Moon?"  "Uh, no - I;'m going to sit on the shelf with the rest of them."  Then you aren't too old to buy it, silly.

Then there are the times he looks at Crossbows and this Mom says, "You aren't OLD enough for THAT!"

No matter what age you are, you are only as old as you feel.  

I love you Bean.  

Love, Your Mom

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