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, January 30, 2016

My Favorite Thrift Store

I have fourteen thrift stores that I go to on a pretty regular basis.  Some more than others because they are closer to me.  My absolute favorite thrift store, hands down is what I call the Super Cheap Thrift. That's not it's actual name, but that's what I have always called it.  I have been shopping there for about 20 years - it used to be in a small little building up then it moved to a nice big store.  Well, big for it - not Goodwill huge.  An interesting fact about this area is that we have a locally owned phone company that only services the three local small towns around me.  This is a family owned telephone company that has been in business over 100 years.  The support their local community and have donated the building and pay the utilities for this thrift store. So, since it is all volunteer based from people at a local church and all the costs are paid  - they can still sell clothing for 25¢-$2.00, housewares for 50¢, etc.  

Half of the building is the thrift, and the other half is a place where you can ask for assistance with utility bills, get groceries and get vouchers for shopping at the thrift store.  When you qualify for a voucher, they bring it right over and file it so the person can shop right then.  Also, they are given a credit on the voucher for say, $20.00 and they can buy whatever they need.  Clothes, housewares, Christmas for their kids - whatever that person feels they need at the moment.  I love that about this store.  I was at the Salvation Army many times when people came in with vouchers and they treated the people horribly.  Said they couldn't use their vouchers because it was too late in the day, told a lady she could not use a voucher to buy a matching skirt and blazer.  Only single items.  She was in tears because she had a job interview and wanted to look her very best.  But, no.  She couldn't buy the matching suit. She was trying to get out of the hole she was in by getting a good job.  Why couldn't they help her?  Another time a lady had three pairs of underpants for her daughter and they said that she could only have two.  She started crying, "How can I do laundry and keep two pairs clean for her for school?"  People should be able to decide what they need for the situation they are in at that moment.

When I go to the SCT, I buy a lot of stuff.  But, I never buy anything that I think someone could really use - I don't buy clothes, new kitchen items, curtains, blankets, kids clothes or anything that I feel a family would really need.  I buy vintage this and that and things I can spiff up.  No one says I can't buy stuff, the store is usually packed with the usual flea market crowd - that is just my self imposed rule.  I do break it sometimes - I bought an old letter jacket last summer.  But, it was summer and most people want a nice newer coat to actually wear.  A lady that works there told me last week that she she loved to see what I bought - it's things no one else would buy - but it's all just so cool!  That made me feel good.  I'm not taking away from anyone that really needs it plus I am contributing money to help with their other services.  

Today as I was starting to pay for my purchases (five grocery bags full of fabric scraps, a book, some bronze baby shoes and a framed picture) the man ahead of me was asking for his voucher. Apparently it had been used already and he didn't have any money on him.  He went outside to dig in his car and he came in with only four pennies.  He was trying to buy a yellow polo shirt for 75¢ to wear to work. I immediately said to put his shirt on my tab.  But the ladies behind the counter told him to take the shirt.  People had been paying extra all day and they had a good overflow of change to pay for it. They were all so nice and genuine about hing needing and and taking it. I don't know of many thrift stores where people willingly say "Keep the change" (I always do) or pay more than things are priced.  They know it's for a good cause and it's run by good thoughtful people.  

I really hadn't realized how special this thrift was to me until today when everyone was so willing to help that man get his yellow shirt.  Don't get me wrong - I have scored some good junk at this thrift and made some decent money on a few things.  But, I don't feel bad about it since the things I bought weren't really necessities.  And, twice, I bought things that I thought were just cool and they turned out to be money makers.  Surprise for me!

One other reason this thrift is special to me is several years ago, I stopped a week after Christmas to shop.  I found a gorgeous Wilendur rose tablecloth with matching napkins. It was priced $10.00, which is crazy high for this thrift.  But, I loved it and decided to splurge on it for my collection. When I stepped up to pay, my total was $22.50.  But, then a man behind me said, "I'll pay for that." And he did.  Turns out, he paid for every person that went through the line that day until he hit $500.00.  He really brightened my day when he did that and I always think of him when I see that beautiful tablecloth.  

So this is sort of a long winded post without photos, but I had it on my mind and thought I would type it out.  I really would like to know if you have a favorite thrift for reasons other than what good junk you find there.  Sometimes the experience is as important as the junk.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Handmade Market: Mushy Stuff

Yesterday I heard about a small Handmade Market.  I asked if there were openings, but there were not.  Then this morning, Wah-lah - an opening.  So, I signed up to do it.  All handmade and crafts with a dollop of vintage thrown in - mostly Valentine and gift themed.  It's February 4th  - so that's not much time. 

 I have a good amount of handmade items at the ready and some ideas for a few more things to crank out.  It is a short evening - only three hours - so I need to keep it small and manageable.  But, YOU KNOW ME.  My mind is churning and thinking of more and more and more.  But, I will be STRONG.  :)  I love, love. love themes and doing a red, white and pink Valentine themed booth is VERY EXCITING to me.  Vintage pink and red rose tablecloths, red, white and pink tins full of goodies, red straws tied up with red ribbon and on and on and on.  OH IT SOUNDS FUN. But, I will be good.  

I made 45 of these last week for a swap, so I guess I will whip up a bunch more. They look cute in an old Mason jar on the mantle.  I already have all the fixin's as they say.

I also made 100 new necklaces.  (I'm crazy about making in bulk).  I love the Good and Plenty because PINK and licorice.  YUM.  

I scanned old candy packages and re-sized them to fit onto a Domino pendant.  The Junior Mint is my favorite in this batch because although I refer to The Bean as "The Bean" I do not call him The Bean to his face. But, I do call him Junior Mint and I have since the day he was born.  

I have a real love affair with candy.  I love to look at it, smell it and sure eat it some, but mostly the wrappers and the confections and the ideas of candy.  When I was a kid, my Dad's favorite candy was JuJyFruits and I thought he was CRAZY for liking those things.  Now they are one of my favorites.  I thought these would be fun for most anytime, but around Valentine's Day and Halloween mostly. 

I also conveniently enough made a batch of Valentine necklaces so I am ready in that aspect.  

I have my repurposed clipboards and milk cap magnets and on and on.  The same old same old.  I guess it's nice to make in bulk because you always have stock and are ready for a surprise show in two weeks.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.  

**To all of you out there getting feet and feet of snow -  you all stay safe and warm.  We really want some snow here (and by "we" I mean me and The Bean.  The Breadman, notsomuch)  But, not feet and feet of it.  Stay safe out there!  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Week In Junk: A Bag, A Tray and Honeycomb Too

This week The Junk Ranch started posting "185 Days 'til The Junk Ranch" and I started thinking- that's not that far away!  I am trying to find a good mix (as usual) to sell.  I'm going to cut down on the Ephemera and only take the best of the best in that area. Spring is harder to find things to fill that area of my booth that usually has Christmas in it in the Fall.  I'm going to clean out the shed and the garage and take a lot of things that I have just been hanging on to for too long.  But, I always need to be on the hunt for a few good things with higher price points to take too.  The point of this story s that it is time to get out and pound the payment looking for GOOD JUNK.  I have a little thrifting jaunt planned next week that will take me down the mountain into new thrifting territory.  I AM EXCITED.

Until then, I am shopping locally as they say in search of goodies.  I found two nice things with a high value this week, but I am trying them on ebay first.  If they don't sell, I can still take them to the Junk Ranch.  

I found this beautiful leather lawyer's bag.  It is vintage and has initials embossed on it.  It's quite elegant and lovely.  Not my usual sort of thing to find.  But, I was happy to find it.

I found this giant tole tray today at a quick stop with the family in tow.  It's about 25" across - its a whopper!  I have a few more smaller versions of this that I used to display.  I think they are in the garage.  Maybe I will find them again one day soon?

Lara scoped out an Estate Sale last weekend and said it was meek.  I hadn't planned on going, but I found myself a couple blocks away so I stopped in.  I do love a good Estate Sale, but even more than the sale - I LOVE getting inside an old house to look at it.  The wallpaper, the tile, the doors, the windows.  It can be awesome or awesomely hideous.  It's all great.  ANYWAY.  The sale was meek - not much at all in the house and even less that interested me.  I did find some old teacher supplies so I bought a few older books.  

I found an envelope full of old honeycomb items.  Snoopy and his kite.  

Six lovely old soft Easter Eggs in lovely golds and purples.  

Two honeycomb Shamrocks.

And the best find?  Beistle honeycomb chicks!  This yellow one and....wait for it......

A PINK Beistle honeycomb chick with a feather in his rear.  SO DAMN CUTE.

A little treat for me - a vintage white pottery log planter.  I really was considering not bringing in my pottery collection for awhile.  But I am starting to miss it already so I seem to be buying more.  It is FORBIDDEN.  I should know better!

I also bought a big bag full of NIB Hallmark ornaments  - there is a whole series of one ornament in there.  I got excited about them and they appear to be mint, but I forgot that most Hallmark collectors are almost anal about their purchases.  Crazy picky.  I hope I can sell these for a decent amount that outweighs the headache of selling them.  We shall see.  

And, to end this post.  I saw an item this week that did not tempt me even one teeny tiny bit.

Lord a mercy!   I don't know who would buy this and I do not want to know who would buy this!

Happy Junking you guys!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

1.5 Billion

Hey there!  I thought I would pop in to say Hello before I get all caught up in the Media Hullabaloo that will kick in once I win that 1.5 Billion tonight.  I won $8 on the last draw, so I am pretty sure that the next step is the 1.5 Billion.  Out of the last three tickets I have bought the Powerball Number has been 24.  Isn't that odd?  

There are so many articles on Facebook, in the newspaper and on the news about how winning this lottery would potentially ruin your life.  Heck, that sounds like a challenge!  :)  I am fascinated with lottery stories about how people spend every dime of their winnings on luxury cars, gold toilets and other foolish purchases.  

How would my life change?  Here's what I would consider BIG Changes for me.

A new house.  Not a 248 room Mansion.  But a nice house - big but not ostentatious.  Several living areas, a big kitchen, home theater, an indoor pool (but not too deep because I don't know how to swim), a nice craft room, indoor easily accessible storage for all my holiday and decorating items, storm shelter, shelves everywhere for all my crapola (I may be rich, but I will always love the junk I own now), sleeping porch, a pantry the size of a convenience store so I would only have to go shopping once a year, outdoor kitchen, my own personal laundromat with five giant washers and dryers and a front porch with all the Cracker Barrel rockers - like twenty!  Ohm yes and a nice above the garage apartment for The Breadman.  I KID!  He can get his own house.  Or maybe stay in this one!  :D

A truck for junking because I don't care how rich you are - if you have the junking bug - it isn't leaving with a pile of money thrown on top of it.  Besides, I need to fill up my new house with fabulous old cubbies and wardrobes and farmhouse tables.  Oh, an not a new big shiny truck.  An old chippy truck that won't get hurt when I throw that table in the back.  

I would eat out more and not look at the price on the menu.  I would still eat at the lower cost places, but I wouldn't argue with them that I need a price adjustment because I left the bacon off my grilled chicken sandwich.  

Well, anyway  - good luck to you if you have a ticket for tonight.  Don't forget your old friend SHARA when you win!  

My the odd be forever your your favor.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The Week in Junk: The Whole World

Guess what I did today?  Come on, GUESS!!!!!!!!!!!

Did you guess that I FINALLY got all the Christmas delegated to the garage?  Well, if you did, you are a WINNER.  This is the longest it has ever taken for me to get it packed up and out of the house. Mostly because The Breadman is home all the live long day sitting on the couch resting because he has to go to work at 4:00 (and just so you don't think I am a total b*tch  - I KNOW he has to go to work and it's a hard job and a late night so I UNDERSTAND that he can't do too much during the day.)  Having said that I do understand it, that doesn't mean it doesn't drive me straight up the freaking WALL that not only can't he help out, but he has to sit right where I was trying to do something constructive.  More often that not lately, I have just said the hell with it and left the house. That's why the Christmas tree was still up until Sunday.  ANYWAY, it's all back in the garage and most of my things are back in the house.  Let's see if I can get it all back where it belongs before it's time to put the tree up again.  I am totally not even kidding about that.  

So, since I have ran away from home a bit lately, I have junk to share.  Really, this is several weeks of junk combined.  Yesterday I dropped the boys off to see Star Wars, which just ain't my thang, so I went to seven thrift stores.  I will say that the thrift stores are brimming with things - stuffed to the max - but with VHS tapes, DVD's, old TV's, clothes, kitchen items, plastic bins and newer Christmas decorations.  Not my thang either.  I know people are culling things out to make way for Christmas gifts and that doesn't include Grandma's old crap, but I wish it did!  

I picked up two of these Waechtersbach cups after Christmas and listed them right away.  The pair sold for $24.99.  I also had a plate with the tree on it - it had been to The Junk Ranch and in my booth since then.  I put it on ebay and it sold overnight for $32.99.  Guess what my new favorite thing to look for is now?  Waechtersbach!

This snowman was an after Christmas find as well.  He is on ebay ending tonight.  It is salt glazed and hand made by Dave Eldreth.  There seems to be collectors of these pieces.  

These old metal fondue plates were at the SCT - this set of four sold for $12.99.

The green set didn't sell, but I think it still might.  If not, to the booth they will go.

The Bean spotted these on the cart at Goodwill - telephone pole climbing spikes!  Or tree climbing, but I thought telephone pole as soon as he showed them to me.  They are on ebay too.,  (This post isn't to get you to my ebay page, I promise.  I just seem to be in a selling mood!)

Last week at one thrift, all the Christmas grab bags were 25¢.  I did what any good junker would do and I bought all of them!  I spent about $5.00 in all.  I ended up re-donating about 75% of it and had a big bag of things to add to my wreaths for next year.  It was all usable things - but not my sort of usable things - ribbons and floral picks and those hideous bread dough ornaments.  

The only two things I kept were this pin and bead Santa boot and the bird.  I have a lot of these birds, so I was happy to find one more.  Still, pretty sad to only keep two measly things out of all those bags!

Last week I stopped at the library and they had a huge amount of books for sale.  These books were $12.00, there was an MCAT study set for $20.00, a set of encyclopedia's for $30.00.  Kind of crazy prices for the library.  Books are usually 25¢-$1.00.  I passed on all of them.  But, the next day I stopped in to pick up some DVD's I had requested and all the books were FREE.  Hey, that's a good discount!  I took all of the ones I mentioned, plus a stack of old pretty books for decorating.  I also picked up a copy of "The Poisoning Handbook" which I like to pretend to be studying hard around the house.  You would be surprised how fast people start being nice to you when they see you reading it. As it turns out, the book is actually how to avoid poisoning someone and how to treat them if they have been poisoned.  But, no one needs to know that.  :)

Oh, I did find these - maybe a few people are getting rid of Grandma's things!  A ready made collection of souvenir plates.  Lara and I have had luck selling these at our booth since the college kids shop there and they are from all over the US.  Lara and I had a killer month at our booth.  When the owner told me our total, I was sure he had me mixed up with someone else.  But when the check came through - it was true.  Now, it wasn't a huge amount of money  - but it was in the four digits. It was more than we have ever made in the past - almost double of our best month, in fact.  We have just been dropping things off and not really trying hard to buy things.  Just taking in random things. And apparently that plan has worked.  Except now we are seeing dollar signs and starting to THINK and SHOP just for that booth.  Eek.

Case in point, I picked up this metal stand for $1.00 at the SCT.  It needs to be painted and I should paint it, but EH I am just not a painter.  Since I paid $1.00 for it, I will sell if for $15 or so and let someone else paint it.  Besides, what if I paint it blue and then they paint it green?  That's a waste of time and paint.  Ain't nobody got time for that.

I'm not supposed to buy silly things to keep.  But, Mr. Bill just had to come home with me.  

This HUGE sock monkey was $3.00 and I was quite the talk of the line at Goodwill as I stood clutching him in my arms.  I bought him for our shared booth, but on a whim I looked him up on ebay and WOW!  One sold for $100 yesterday!  Not sure if he will, but I might was well try it.  He would squish in a box pretty well.  

This is such a bad photo, but it is such a weird packaging concept at the thrift.  It is an old Japan nativity set in a plastic race car.  Who thought of putting a Nativity in a race car?  Every time I see it I start humming "Jesus Take The Wheel".  I need to throw away the car, but really?  It's funny.  

My last stop on Star Wars day delivered the best find of the day.  This globe was sitting on the counter and I thought it had sold.  I took a chance and it was still for sale and the price was only $6.00.  CHA CHING.  I bought it to sell.  I really, really did.  Really!  But then I plugged it in and well.  You know the rest of the story.  That sucker isn't going anywhere.  It's my THANG.

These last two items were gifted to me by good local junking buddies.  

Lara pulled this squeaker deer out of her purse and handed it to me.  I mean, she just gave it to me. It's adorable, it's vintage.  She's the best kind of friend.  I would say that even if she didn't hand me adorable deer squeakers.  

My friend Paula thought of me (I wonder why?) when she spotted this little cardboard bread truck at Canton.  Aren't those little loaves of bread just the best???  Junking buddies that share are the best kinds of friends.  I'm grateful to have them.

***I have also been sending bags and bags of donations off with the Breadman each day for about a month.  I have him take them to the next town over so I don't have to see them on the shelves.  Well, guess where I went on that seven thrift store day?  I think I was responsible for about a third of the merchandise on the shelves.  I felt like my things were holding bowls of gruel and calling out to me..."Mother?"  I got the heck outta of there.  Pronto.

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