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 28, 2015

2015: The Year in Review

I'm not sure that much has happened this year.  That is a good thing because nothing terrible happened.  But, I swear - time does fly.  It was New Year's eve and now BOOM now it's nearly New Years Eve again.  Do you ever think, I am going to do yadda yadda (clean out the closet, take a trip, lose five pounds, buy a yak, start taking vitamins, jump out of a plane or WHATEVER) and then before you realize it - an entire YEAR has passed and you have not done it?  It's just crazy to me how fast this life is going past me.  There's so much I want to do in life - changes I want to make, things I want to do, and on and on.  2016 is going to be a big year.  I will be a certain age that my lips will not even utter.  It is very hard for me to think that I am that age - I still think I am 17 and that is no lie.

Midlife crisis anyone?

((Hand shoots up))

Ermhgawd.  It's awful.

But, what can you do about it but just DO IT.  So, I will DO IT.

Okay, let's see what kind of crap I thrifted this year.    

I thrifited this great old artist easel for $5.00 and sold it at The Junk Ranch in June for $100.00.  Plus, the girl that bought it was SO, SO happy.  Like skipping away happy.

I dug this old metal box out from under a workbench at an Estate Sale.  The color sucked me in.

But the little divided drawers forced me to keep it.  I have all my jewelry making supplies in it.  

Then there was a Sunday sale in March that I ran to on the spur of the moment.  Five blowmolds for $2.00 each.  I sold the ghost and Skeleton for $150.00, the snowman for $65, the Santa for $75 and the pumpkin for $35.00  Such a great find.  Although now that I see that Santa with the package I am wondering WHY DIDN'T I KEEP HIM?

At the same sale - a storage tub full of very old fragile ornaments - $5.00 for the whole box.  I  planned on researching each one thoroughly and listing them on ebay.  But the very thought of packing those delicate treasures for a safe ride through the USPS system made me sick to my stomach.  I did research a few and then I did something crazy - I put them all on my tree and I'm ot even a little bit sad about it.  :)  Sometimes, happy trumps money.

Huge cuckoo clock that I bought to sell - I haven't yet - but I will.,  I am on the hunt for pinecone weights.  

It was a good year for finding and selling blowmolds!  Teddy bear sold at the Junk Ranch for $35.00 and I kept the Santa - he had a bad plug, so I stuck him in with mine.

OH, this old school globe was such a nice find!  I paid $17.50 for it and sold it for $125.00.  A couple people scoffed at my price, then a nice lady walked up with cash in hand excited to buy it.  That makes me happy.  There was a time when I wouldn't have spent $17.50 on anything that I wasn't usre about.  But I have the courage now to buy things that cost more because I know I can get a good return on my investment.  It was priced $25.00, but the store was 25% off so, I got a deal on it.  That helped cinch the deal.  :)

The Evergleam tree I spotted near the trash at a yard sale.  The man refused to sell it to me - it's old, been in the attic forever  -yadda yadda - finally he said he would LOVE for me to take it and use it if I wanted it - even carried it to the car for me.  I had offered him money, I really did, but he said NO.   I sold it for $249.00 to a young girl that was beyond excited to replace the one her Grandmother lost in a fire.  Love that.  (Not the fire part...)

Fun shopping cart - it's desirable on ebay, but man do I love this thing.  

Bargains Galore on 64 took me to about fifty yard sales in one day and a nice haul of goodies.  

Including vintage Christmas - I think everything here has sold.  

The child's cupboard - one of my last finds of the year.  So cute.  On the fence about keeping or selling.  Always on that fence with the cute stuff.  I certainly do not need it.  But I want it.  Greedy vintage piggy I am.  

Great old Lions International sign.  Destined for the Spring Junk Ranch.

Pickin' Time Highway 59 was also new to me this year and I had good luck with a lot of smalls. All that little stuff was 25¢ each at one sale.  I kept the tree and the gnome the rest will go to the Junk Ranch.  

I found a lots of other great stuff on that day. (I did find a ton of blowmolds this year, didn't I?)  That tiered basket has turned into one of my favorite things ever.  And you can never have too many freezer baskets.  NEVER.

Most especially this fantastic cowboy tablecloth.  I swore I would sell it, but it mysteriously crawled into my collection.  Whoops. 

Huge Redmon basket scored at Goodwill for $5.00 -  you know those never leave my house.  Picnic baskets, tablecloths and cute stuff have no chance of leaving my house.  

The giant "S" that has been on my wishlist forever.  I just read an article that said big letters are OVER.  I say WRONG.  $5.00 worth of happiness right there....  I got up early to go to a HUGE sale that sounded fantastic.  It was a pile of crap at the end of a dirt road.  But they had piles of these letters, so I guess it was worth it since I got my coveted red "S".  

More blowmolds - SURPRISE.  $10.00 each - more than usual, but still a deal.  They are in the shed waiting for next Fall's Junk Ranch.  I know they will sell. FAST.

And the giant BINGO cage - I spent $20.00, sold it for $100 and I kept over 150 of the cards to sell later.  

I see a good trend for me in these posts - I am buying more to sell and less to keep.  YAY ME!  And, what I do sell is garnering better money.  That is mostly thanks to The Junk Ranch (Hey AMY!) and having a venue to sell higher priced items.  Searching for the perfect quirky things to take to the Junk Ranch has become a hobby within itself.  I never would have been able to sell the globe or the BINGO cage on ebay because of their size (okay, maybe I could have sold them, but shipping would have been a bear and the price would have been low to compensate for that.) 

Thanks for riding along with me this year and reading about all my junk.  This year has been short on journeys and I miss them.  Maybe this year I will get out a bit more and do some fun things.  Hopefully!

Happy New Year you guys - you really do mean the world to me!  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas you wonderful people!  

May your day be full of fun and laughter, presents and gifts, good food and good company.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Tour 2015: There's More. There's Always More.

I hope that all these things in all these photos don't make it look my house is one big tacky mess.  I love little things - but I try to group them and display the little things so that they appear to be a bigger unit.  When you look at the photos of my Santa collection you may see a hoard of faces and Santa's.  But, I see one big Santa collection as a whole.  I hope that makes sense.  I need to stop blogging so late at night when my brain is kaput.  

So, here are the Santa's.

Ho ho ho.  Lots of Santa's.  Mostly vintage, but some I got after we got married so they are new.  But then again, we are about to have out 25th Anniversary.  So, maybe they aren't exactly "new".  

Vintage Santa's and a few from my childhood.  Since we have established that items from my newlywed days are in fact "vintage" I suppose it is safe to say the ones from my childhood are antiques.  

Excuse me a second.


I'm old.  

Okay, back to the tour!  :)

Locker basket full of Santa mugs and my Christmas tablecloth collection.  I decided I needed to let some of each of these go this year.  Thin the herd, so to speak.  I spread them all out - Santa mugs and tablecloths.  Looked at each one deciding which ones should stay and which ones should go.  As you can clearly see, the shelf is still pretty packed.  So, you would not be wrong if you guessed that not one single cup or tablecloth was eliminated.  And, I'm not even sorry a little bit about that.  :)

Fine Kindergarten art by The Bean on the wall, as it should be.  I want to scan it and have a canvas made of it, but I have never gotten around to doing that.  But it's a great idea, right?  SC by CS. Clever kid.  

I used an old receipt holder to hold my cards, some Santa pictures, flash cards and some other fun things.  It's pretty full, but I like it.

This is one of my favorite things - my tiny cupboard.  I filled it with all sorts of tiny things that are dear to me.  

Tiny bottle brush trees, a wee snow globe I made, spun snowman, tiny ornaments on the top shelf.  A small West Germany village on the second shelf.  

I have a big tin of nativity pieces I sell at the Junk Ranch.  I pick them up and add to it through the year.  I saw all those sheep gathering up in that tin and decided they needed to be released to my living room.  They are all very old and priced 10¢ to 29¢ on the bottom.  The bottom shelf has all sorts of tiny things that make me happy.  Little stuff is the best.  

So, that is the bulk of my decorations.  There's still the tree and the village.  Both hard to photograph, but I will try to get some shots before the big day gets here.  Are you ready?  I am.  Yay me!  Hope you are too!  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Week in Junk: Christmas Edition

I have been hitting the thrifts hard lately.  Let me think.  Two today plus a vintage mall.  Five on Thursday.  Two on Tuesday.  And so on and so on.  I used to feel guilty if I hit the thrifts  - but this is sort of my job.  Not a great money making job like a real job.  I told the Breadman that he loves football, but he can't go to a football game in July, so when it's football season, he goes FULL ON football crazy.  So, if I can really only thrift vintage Christmas this time of year - I damned well better get out there and FIND IT.  This logic actually made sense to him.  MIRACLE.  

I have bought quite a bit of things that I have packed away for the October Junk Ranch.  A lot of it is worth reselling, but not so great that I needed to photograph it.  Things like older but not great boxes of Shiny Brites - boxes of all blue and all reds, several giant bags of old Shiny Brites that will need to be bagged up to be sold, some tacky plastic things and on and on.  I, of course, kept a couple things, but honestly I am full up over here and have my displays down to an almost exact science in getting everything to fit where it does.  But, there is almost always an exception and something sneaks in. Ahem.

But first  - a few random photos  - a mini "phone dump" if you will.

I popped into Goodwill just as they carts were rolling out one night.  On top of one of those carts of goodies was one of Lara's prints.  I gasped and quickly sent her a photo - who could buy that and donate it already?????  She quickly texted back that SHE had donated it because it was in a lesser quality frame.  Someone got themselves a cutie at a bargain price!  

I stopped in the laundromat to dry some oversized items and what to my wondering eyes did appear but SANTA'S SUIT all freshly laundered and ready for THE BIG DAY.  This photo amused me for some reason.  It still does!  

This sign was at the SCT and it took me a good five minutes to figure out what it was saying.  

Christmas "STUFF" was going to be half off.  I got the half off right away - but that STOUGH really had me stumped.  That is a super long way to go about misspelling something.  I just hope it was a HUGH sale and they have COLLECTABLES.  Maybe even a ROT IRON Santa???

Okay - on to the junk and I better watch my spelling after all that, huh?

I spotted this tin child's kitchen cabinet at the thrift in the Antiques Section.  I sucked the air out of the room in one gulp and pounced on it.  This particular thrift has an Antiques section, but things are not marked crazy high.  I wasn't sure how much it would be - I was guessing $20.00 in my head. When I saw the $3.00 price tag, I went a little crazy.  The boys were with me and The Breadman asked if it was going on ebay or to the Junk Ranch.  Little did he know that in my head, I was already trying to find a spot for it in the house.  I picture it holding my spun head cake decorations, vintage birthday candle boxes and my childhood toy baking pans.  It had contact paper on the shelves, which I carefully picked off over the course of a few days.  The shelves are a bit rusted underneath, but not that bad.  But bad enough I can say, "Oh, it wasn't going to sell for much."  That is IF he ever notices it.  That, my friends, is the big question.  

The back of the cabinet.  Is't it just the bee's knees??????


As I was trying to pick up the cabinet, I has this under my arm.  It's a huge sign - very well made.  It isn't metal or wood or plastic - some sort of a composite material.  I need to research it.  It garnered some interest on Instagram from a few buyers, so I know I need to look into it a bit more.  

These are knock off brand new kneehuggers from Hobby Lobby.  I am so not a fan of reproduction things BUT, these were $1.00 at Goodwill so I rescued them.  The pastel colors will never fly in my decor, so off to the booth or something next Christmas.  

On the same GW visit, I found a shoe box full of 48 honeycomb bells.  Purple, yellow, pink, green and blue - nice sweet soft pastel colors.  Those silly elves looked like they were in candy heaven.  

A quick stop at the Salvation Arm netted a wee box with one swell find - a spun head Santa.  Oh, he's a keeper - you know it!  I like those spun thread balls too.  

Here is he is at home.  So cute!

I spotted this box under a pile of plastic Christmas tree stands.  Pulled it out, chucked the cash at The Bean and had him take it straight to the car.  It rotates and plays music and is super annoying.  But, I know it will be Junk Ranch gold! 

A couple of boxes of older ornaments.  I gleaned the good ones out and put them on my tree and filled the box in with extras I had found.  I always keep the good stuff because I am a greedy Christmas piggy.  As it should be.  :)

Dug these out from the back of a shelf at at thrift where everything was half off.  They were 50¢, so I paid a quarter for all four.  Don't cha know they hopped into the KEEP pile too?  Naughty guys.

I found these three guys at the same thrift.  Their jauntily little ric-rac icing suits charmed me over. Their little wayward eyeballs are comical to say the least.  They are hanging out near the KEEP pile. Every time I see them I think they need to go in the SELL box, but so far, no luck.   


Yesterday I stopped in at a Vintage Mall - I never go to places like that because I am spoiled by thrift stores and places where if I see something I want, odds are good I can afford it.  Picking up a vintage blowmold and seeing $48 on it - OUCH.  (Yes, I know - I sell at these places.  What an oxymoron. Or maybe just moron).  Anyway - I spotted a markdown section and found this wonderful old box of PINK Angel Hair for $1.00.  Then, guess what - it was half off.  55¢.  Score for me.  The lady at the register - she was SO NOT happy with me only spending 55¢ in her store.  Sorry lady.  

And, one last find.  A globe.  (duh)  I thought it was a Hobby Lobby one, so I would throw it in the booth for a little profit.  But, now that I have it I think it's older - it;s very heavy and well made.  I need to do more research on it to.  Chanelle has been helping me, but I still have more work to do. But that is half the fun!  

Today is candy making day because, you know you have to make candy or the family revolts.  Hope you are having a wonderful week leading up to THE BIG DAY!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Shara Lee Likes the Annalee's

Instagram is all abuzz lately with the "cute vs. Creepy" factor concerning Annalee dolls, Rubber faced Santa's and Kneehuggers.  I am on board with the Annalee dolls and I do love a good rubber faced Santa.  I will agree that some of those Santa's can look a bit crazy eyed.  But the ones I have are cute.  In my opinion.  I find the kneehuggers cute too.  I'm all about the cute.  

There are all sors of Annalee dolls, but I limit my collection to Santa and Mrs. Claus.  I have been gifted many of these thanks to Heidi and Chanelle.  The rest I have thrifted.  I bought the Santa in the middle of the shelf (holding a coffee cup) this year at an Open house at at Flea Market for $2.00.  I know the Santa wreath is a bit much in this area.  I had it in the booth, but someone dropped it and broke a bunch of the Santa's.  So, I brought it home and doctored it up.  I decided to keep it since most of those Santa's were from my collection anyway.  

My other favorite Annalee's are Christmas mice.  Word to the wise - I despise real actual mice.  Mice that enter my house of garage are NO BEUNO.  Cute Annalee mice in funny hats are A OKAY with me.  I added in my Santa boot collection - most have names and dates on the bottom which endear them to me even more.  Why did people always put their names on things?  I don't think I have written my name on anything since my Trapper Keeper.  *You have have noticed that I add bottle brush trees to everything.  I have always liked a good bottle brush tree, but this year they are my new obsession.  The old ones with the red bases are my particular favorite.  

The first Annalee's I ever found.  I have told this story before - but here it comes again.  I spotted them in a thrift store sitting on a couch and I have very clear precise memories of vaulting over another couch to get to them.  I know I am not capable of vaulting over a couch, but I really, really think I did it!  That's my memory and I am sticking to it.  The big Santa came from Goodwill a few years ago.  The boys dropped me off and went to get gas.  When they came back I was standing on the curb clutching a giant Santa.  It was July, by the way.  He was in a big cardboard chimney which I thought someone had made.  It was cumbersome and not my style, so I threw it out.  I recently found out that it was made that way.  I should have kept it!  Gah!

I have a couple of old rubber faced Santas, but this is my favorite.  He is huge - nearly four feet tall. He's honestly too big for me to keep and store, but I do because, well LOOK AT HIM WOULD YA? He also has the charming backstory of coming from a yard sale for $2.00.  That endears him to me even more.    

Are you tired?  Well, that's a shame.  Because.......there's more!

Kneehugger paradise.  I have been collecting these for a long time.  Long before that Elf on a Shelf nonsense.  (It's not nonsense - I would have fell for it hook line and sinker if he was popular when The Bean was little).  But, now everyone loves kneehuggers and they are super popular.  Therefore, they are hard to find.  I don't think I found any this year, but my girl Carol sent me a box chock full of bottle brush trees and kneehuggers for my birthday.  

Old truck full of kneehuggers.  It's a MUST HAVE.

I call these kneehuggers too - but I guess they are more elves than anything.  Hey - lookie there - another Annalee doll!  ebay sent me a $10.00 gift certificate on my anniversary, so I bought that doll. Gee, I am WILD aren't I?

And now - a not creepy, but thrifted item:  I thrifted this little oil painting last week.  Isn't it sweet? It's dated 1980, but it looks 1880 in style to me.  She could use a few more ornaments on that tree, couldn't she?  

This concludes the tour.......for now.  Oh yes, THERE'S MORE.

There's always more.  Also, I went to five thrifts today and all the Christmas was 50% off.  I actually found a good amount of vintage - all destined for the Junk Ranch next October.  But, I will try to get some photos before I box it all up.  

***My name really is Shara Lee.  

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