Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Back in the Game

Its been awhile since I posted. This has been caused by several factors - 1. laziness (sorry about that) 2. cold and wet weather (less freebies on the street) 3. a lack of trips to the thrift store (I am not sure what caused this actually). Since its been awhile since I have been to the thrift store I had lots of energy to dig the last time I went and found some great stuff. Some of which I will pass off as Christmas gifts and some stuff which was just good stuff for myself. Here you see a new package of Huggies brand diapers in H's size. It was $3, which is a pretty good deal on disposable diapers. I never really know why these things end up in the thrift store, but for whatever reason it is a good bargain for us.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm a big fan

So I neglected my blog for so long some of my finds are no longer very timely. In the middle of a heat wave this summer (that one hot week we had between the months of cold and rain) Dan and I were walking home and found this fan on the side of the road. There was a sign on it that said "Free, Works" and we decided to trust it. It was a little tricky to carry home the remaining three blocks, but we made it and installed it in our bedroom. The style left a little bit to be desired, but Dan managed to remove the offending light fixture portion, which helps a lot. It seems like a quality fan- it doesn't rattle when on high and is quiet. It worked like a charm while it was hot. Now we just need to find a space heater with a pre-paid electricity bill and we'll be all set for winter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Money Maker part 2

Awhile ago I had a good run of luck at the Goodwill. In my previous post you saw the Stokke high chair I got for $5. About a week before that truly amazing find I found this BOB jogging stroller. (This of course is a picture stolen off the web, but I sold mine so I have no picture for you. It looked exactly like this though, in brand new condition.) It was in new shape (in fact it had the REI tag on it still - $265). I got it for $30. I knew I could easily sell it on Craigslist, but when I got it home I somehow deluded myself into thinking now that I had this product I would morph into the kind of woman who goes jogging early in the morning with her child. I jogged once then posted it on craigslist. It sold pretty fast for $200, making a good profit which nicely off set the shame I felt in admitting I was not going to be a jogger.

Money Maker

If there is one thing I have come to know well its used baby stuff. For some reason it is even more fun to shop for my baby then for myself. Since I read baby magazines/blogs/attend baby-centered events I have picked up a good sense of what the cool baby stuff is (its a lot like high school out there at times). Add to this the fact that thrift stores are overflowing with used baby stuff and you see how I can often find great stuff to sell at the thrift store. One of my best finds is this high chair. Looks pretty average right? Its a Stokke (European brand) high chair with a washable chair covering. Retail the high chair costs over $200 and the cover is an additional $30. I actually have used one these things and was not impressed, but that is beside the point. The point is that I got it at Goodwill for $5 and sold it on craigslist for $135 within 1 hour of posting it. It was a pretty impressive turn around for me. Definitely the best I have done yet. My real question is who gave this to the thrift store without even trying to sell it on craigslist first? I had a dozen people email me immediately when I posted it. It easier to have someone else come and get it from you then to take it to Goodwill yourself. Whatever the reason their loss is my gain.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Free things do grow on trees

DH recently found this perfectly good bag of printer paper sitting on the sidewalk. Two things were unclear to me about this - 1. (the obvious) why do people throw away perfectly good stuff? and 2. how did this avoid the rain and wind of seattle and remain relatively intact? What ever the case it turned out well for us.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lawnmower Man

First off, a confession - I have never mowed a lawn in my life. Despite this I can certainly see the need for a lawnmower when one moves into a new neighborhood and doesn't want their home being viewed as blight by the neighbors. We actually have only a tiny, tiny patch of grass since we ripped out most of the yard to put in a vegetable garden. However this patch of grass was sadly overgrown and strewn with weeds until we found this:

I should actually clarify that DH's sister Carrie found this. (thanks Carrie!) It was sitting out by their parent's house with a free sign on it. We all walked over and talked with the owner who was weeding her yard. She said her husband bought it only a year and a half ago and simply wanted a nicer model. It works great and had gas in it already. Since its arrival our little patch of grass looks much better (well, at least much shorter). Additionally we've been able to loan this beauty to our next door neighbors, so I think it fair to say we have moved from an eyesore to an asset to the community all thanks to the lawnmower.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Jam Plan

Its canning season, a time of year I always look forward to. There is something very nostalgic about canning for me. Its one of the few kitchen activities I actually wear an apron for. Not really because its messier than others, but because it seems like you should when you are canning. You should also probably have a very old fan blowing fly paper around as well. Anyway, we spent a weekend at a friend of our's parent's house and managed to leave with a flat of their beautifully ripe and tasty strawberries for free. We were with some other people who took a bag full each and I was only slightly embarrassed that we picked so many. I couldn't stand the thought of these berries rotting on the bush because no one picked them. These were cut, cooked and made into freezer jam quickly, which we have been enjoying since. We are now on the look out for blackberries and hopefully some apples soon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Home Improvement for the Birds

With our new home has come many new opportunities for home improvements (which is why we could afford the house in the first place). Each of these projects seems to necessitate a new tool for DH (Dear husband). I am all kinds of supportive about this, but as far as I am concerned if a project can be done without spending hundreds on tools all the better. Recently DH saw the below saw in a pile of free stuff while out and about:
He said it is a miter saw and was just what he needed to build our chicken coop. It works perfectly. Its definitely a lower end model and a little dirty, but what do you expect when its free, right? Anyway, since he found the saw he did in fact finish our chicken coop and now we can look forward to a thrifty source of eggs.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Order Up

I have very fond memories of playing with my pretend food and play kitchen as a child. Since my primary objective when it comes to toys for my daughter, is to recreate my childhood I have been on the look out for a play kitchen for some time. I wanted a wooden one that wouldn't look bad being in the living space of our house. Behold what I found at the Goodwill for $9.99 recently:
Very cute compact play kitchen. The left side should have doors on it and its missing the handles for the cabinets under the sink area, but truly I have no complaints about this thing. Its exactly what I have been hoping to find. Luckily when I found this I was shopping with my sister-in-law with her parents minivan, not on my bike.
So far DD (dear daughter) loves it, although she primarily seems to think that cooking in the kitchen means making coffee. I am not sure where she got that idea...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Place, New Stuff

With our move about a month ago came the opportunity (or temptation) of all sorts of new room to furnish/fill with junk. Since we don't own a car its fairly difficult for us to acquire too many large pieces of furniture, but moving weekend we had borrowed a truck and so were free to acquire away. You would think after moving all of our stuff we would be inclined to avoid acquiring more, but inexplicable we decided to go to the thrift store to escape our home which was over loaded with unpacked boxes. While there we came across this chair:

Pretty cute, fairly compact and a good deal at $7. I also managed to get my hands on another 30% off coupon so it really only costs $5. It wasn't until we got home we realized it had a bit of a funk to it. (I guess the general thrift store smell covered it up). Luckily we had a steam cleaner borrowed from DH's parents and a half filled bottle of Febreeze left by dear previous-home-owners. This combination managed to clean out or mask the offending smell. Now the chair provides a nice reading corner in our home library.

Monday, June 30, 2008

This could have been a better post

I found the best gift for someone at the thrift store yesterday. I wish I could post it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the recipient reads this blog, so I resisted. I will say though that it only cost me 99 cents and I think the recipient will enjoy exponentially more. In place of what would have been a great post I decided to post a rather average find:

Two tins that were cute, cheap and unnecessary. I have a similar one of the smaller size which I use for loose tea. I think this smaller one will have that same function. As for the larger one, well they matched so I couldn't separate the set. In other words I have no idea what I will use it for yet. The cost a total of $3 and I loved the colors (you may be able to tell that I like turquoise blue by the matching lamp in the background).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fiesta Time

I have had a fondness for Fiestaware ever since I was introduced to them at the Bon Marche (now no longer in existence) while registering when I was engaged. They're cute, they're colorful and they can handle a pretty good amount of dropping and related abuse. (That last reason may be the main reason why they are our dishes) Occasionally I see Fiestaware in thrift stores, but it is usually way over priced and in the "collectibles" section. The other week at Goodwill I saw some priced at almost twice the retail value. (and I'm not talking about vintage pieces in retired colors) Last week at my local Lifelong AIDS Alliance thrift store I saw these bowls:
I loved the turquoise color and they were $2.99 each, which isn't a fabulous deal, but at least its around 50% off retail. I snatched them up and paid before I changed my mind. As I left the store I had a tiny bit of buyer's remorse since I am trying to avoid filling our home with too much stuff too soon, but once I got them home I decided I was glad I bought them. Plus today is our anniversary and I figured it was nostalgic or something to continue to add to our wedding "china".

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Green Tags are $1.29

Yesterday I enjoyed a rare baby-free morning, which I used to go to the thrift store. My excuse for going was to drop off a pile of stuff collecting in our basement, but really I wanted to shop.
I found this bag:

It was a green tag special day so I got it for $1.29, which I thought was a fair price. Now I just need to ditch the diaper bag and start carrying some of my many purses again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Recently a friend was doing a shift cleaning out his son's preschool for the end of the school year. He gave me a call when he saw a large pile of usable stuff that was going into the dumpster. This is one of the advantages of cultivating a reputation as a trash picker. I have gotten numerous calls alerting me to great free stuff. And just the other week (month?) my brother-in-law carefully unwrapped his birthday present so he could save the wrapping paper for me. How thoughtful. Anyway, one of the things they were going to throw out was this baby stroller (the cabbage patch kid was mine from childhood):
DD is obsessed this these things. She can get a little feisty about them when we go over to a friend's house who has one. I thought maybe having one of her own would relax her a little bit and she would be more able to share when we are out and about. Now ,of course, when any friend comes over she has a hard time sharing hers and anyone who dares touch it is met with a round of "NO MINE, MINE, MINE!" So this free find gives us many wonderful teachable moments. Bonus.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Hobby Anyone?

I have a hard time resisting free stuff even if I don't need it or already own it. Such is the case with the below book about knitting:

I actually already have a copy, but this one was in almost new condition and was just sitting in a box on the side of the road on my way to the library (maybe I was in a book mood at the time). I started imagining it getting rained on and ruined and I just had to bring it home. I am on the look out for someone to give it too now. Unfortunately I think the season to take up knitting, especially in Seattle, is not summer. I may have to hold onto it for awhile until someone starts knitting again. Let me know if you're interested.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weed Control

DD's feet are growing like weeds. (as are the actually weeds surrounding our garden.) Just recently we were given a pair of new Keen sandals for her. They seemed really big so I considered exchanging them for a smaller size. Now I am pushing to get them on her feet. This occurrence has necessitated more kids shoes. I am starting to think there is a conspiracy to get parents to spend lots and lots of money on shoes. Sizing seems intentionally random. We have some potential kids shoes in her size (in theory at least) waiting in the wings*, but they are too big. I found these cute kid shoes at Goodwill for $2 and got them with the hope that they would fit.
They are leather and seemed solid even if a little warn. Plus they are "boy" shoes. I know this is a silly designation, but I like getting boy stuff so I can use it when baby #2 comes around. I have this premonition it will be a boy. (I also had this with baby #1 and was completely wrong, but I have a 50/50 chance so I am going with it.) Anyway they fit/look cute this week, but no promises about next week.
*thanks Kara

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuck this one away

Recently I was back at the old apartment building visiting a friend and gathering mail. I got nostalgic to see free stuff in the entry way and helped myself to the complete 1st season of the show Nip/Tuck, a show about plastic surgeons.
Since we don't have a TV I am pretty much open to any and all TV on DVD I can get, but I should have known that this show wasn't for me when it was described on the box as "utterly fearless." I have admittedly watched some HBO shows that could be described that way and enjoyed them, so I figured, why not. Well I will tell you why not- they show footage of people GETTING THEIR FACE CUT OPEN! (I had to resort to the internet equivalent of yelling there. Sorry, but that is how gross it was) We're talking knives, blood, fat, hospital gowns, the whole bit. I got about 10 minutes into the first episode and had to admit that I was not fearless enough to watch this show. If anyone else is interested let me know and I will pass it on, but you've been warned.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Don't look if I've ever given you a gift

I often give gifts I have bought at a thrift store and/or found in a box on the side of road. Sadly some people think this is tacky/cheap/weird, etc. Usually I try to avoid letting others know about my second hand gifts, but who am I kidding, most people have probably already figured it out anyway. Below you see a very cute little purple teapot. It was so cute and only $3. Unfortunately it in no way matches my decor and I happen to have plenty of teapots already. (actually I have a ridiculous amount of teapots already) I decided I could get it and save it for a gift. However since I have just posted it on my blog I may have to keep it for myself now.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Recently I took my annual thrift shopping vacation and spent three days driving up the I-5 corridor and scouring all available thrift shops. It was a lot of fun and I even managed to reach my thrifting limit, which I haven't done in a long time. Over the next couple of days I will post some of my best finds from my trip. Today's feature is more Pyrex:

I've blogged about vintage Pyrex before, but I just can't pass it up when I see it. Above is a rectangular baking tray in white with a turquoise design. Very cute (and very unnecessary). I got it for $2.99 at the Mt. Vernon Goodwill.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

First I wanted to say sorry for the hiatus to any readers I may have left. Our move ended up taking up a lot more energy than I thought and I just never could bring myself to post. On the upside I now have a back log of thrifty finds to blog about so maybe I can lure some readers back with my frequent posts and amazing finds. To re-launch my blog I begin with another free find below:
First you may need a little back story. Our closets in our new house are really weird. Basically you can't really hang things in them so we have a big need for some shelves and/or drawers for both ours and DD's closet. While walking home from the grocery store with a bag of groceries and DD in the stroller I saw the above shelving cart for free on the side of the road. It looked like it would work great to hold all the blankets, diapers and misc stuff in DD's closet. However it also required an additional two hands. Since I was pushing the stroller the only two hands available were DD's. So I unloaded her and she pushed the cart for almost 4 blocks. (it was very slow going.) That is when things took a bad turn. We came to a busy road and I had to get her, the groceries, the stroller and this cart across the street at once. (It involved a screaming child under my arm.) Once across the street DD was so mad about what had just happened she could only lay on the ground and scream while I pondered how much this cart was worth and how much I would pay to be out of this situation. With two blocks to go I had to get screaming kid, stroller, groceries and cart home by myself which was more than a little tricky. Once we got home both DD and I were crying and the whole thing seemed like a really bad idea. However the cart does work great in DD's closet and it gives me a story for my blog so we'll count it an upside.
Thanks for reading my blog again. I'll be posting regularly now, I promise.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A whole week and not a thrifty find to be had. I guess I am going to have to hit up the thrift stores this week just so I can update by blog. What a burden.

DH recently find something worth posting though, so I just decided to borrow his find for my blog. Below is a fairly cute vintage typewriter from the Goodwill.
DH teaches at the local art school where typewriters are always in need, so he picked it up "for his students." I think he really just thought it was cute and needed and excuse to buy it. Whatever the reason it now has a home and will hopefully see some action now that it has been rescued from the obscurity of the Goodwill.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

We're moving out of our apartment building soon and aside from my lovely friends and neighbors there is not much I will miss about our apartment as it is pretty much a big white box. One of those few things I will miss is the free table located in the entryway of the building by the mail boxes. Mostly people just put old magazines down there (which totally rocks because someone in the building subscribes to People) but every now and then people put hats, books, pots and pans or other random household goods. Recently I found these on the free table:
Brown, Mary Jane-type Danskos that, amazingly, were my size. The elastic on one of the shoes was broken so I took it to our neighborhood cobbler (doesn't it seem like cobblers only existed in the middle ages?) and got it fixed for $5. So basically I got a new pair of Danskos for my $5 investment. Its great to go searching for free stuff without even having to leave your apartment and sadly it is something that I soon will be unable to do.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Free Maclaren Take Two

Last Saturday I was awoken from my Tylenol PM-induced slumber by DH knocking on our bedroom window. Since he has turned 30 he has taken to doing old-manish things like taking a morning constitutional around the neighborhood. I assumed he had forgotten his keys, but when I looked out I saw him with this:

This is a Maclaren double stroller. Veteran readers may remember that finding a Maclaren stroller by a dumpster is what motivated me to start my blog in the first place. Now DH finds another one. To be honest when I saw him with it I worried he unintentionally stole it. (people do leave strollers in their front yards after all) However he said it was all folded up by the garbage in the alley and once I saw it, it was clear that it had not been used in a while. It looked a little worn and the gears that open and closed it were rusty, but after he used some WD-40 and I scrubbed it a little it barely looks used at all. This was actually the double stroller I was planning on buying when our adoption goes through and we get baby #2. What luck!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Le Creuset?

I assume the answer is no, this pan is not a Le Creuset pan but an imitation. However it did have a few good things going for it as it was free, felt pretty sturdy and was in good shape. It was in a box on the side of the road so DH and I picked it up on the way home. Actually the truth is we saw it in a box on the way out of our apartment and DH suggested I try to get it into my purse. Its not huge, but it is a frying pan made from cast iron and we were on our way out to dinner and I didn't want to look like I was bringing my own cookware to a restaurant so I politely declined his suggestion. We agreed if it was still there on the way home we would pick it up. Lucky for us other people don't seem to want to cook their breakfast in things found on the street.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Blue Tags Are Half Off is expanding and updating. You may notice the new layout (this involved choosing a different template from Blogger, not too tricky.) and now I have a new feature - Book Review! My inaugural review is of Amanda Blake Soule's book The Creative Family. It will be most interesting to parents, as you may have guessed from the cover to the left. Although its more about cultivating a creative spirit in yourself, your home and your children than thriftiness, she has a strong thrifty element to her approach. She gives lots of great ideas of ways to incorporate found and reused objects and thrifted materials into a creative life. It is a really fun and inspiring read and well worth a look. You may also noticed I posted a link to her blog (Soule Mama) on the site as well. Her stuff is really fun and may give you some ideas for new ways to work with stuff you have and get creative.

I don't sell these shoes

You may think I sell Robeez since I have now posted about them twice in quick succession. The shoes below are actually not my find, but were a gift for my DD from her talented thrifter of an aunt, Kara. She found them at her local Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity thrift store (who knew they had thrift stores?) which I had the pleasure of visiting while I was in Colorado recently. They were $.50 , which is fair to call a good find. The last pair I found I sold on Ebay for over $10, but these are Hannah's size so we're keeping them. Hannah calls them slippers and wears them around the house a lot, which help protect her feet from the shards of broken glass that seem to always be under foot. My combined two bad habits of dropping glass things and not really vacuuming as much as I should have meant that all of us have started wearing socks around the house. (those little shards seem to ricochet everywhere even if you broke a glass in the kitchen) Wow that is sad to admit. I'll do better I promise.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I began this post while I was up last night at 3am googling insomnia. Apparently working on my blog is enough to put me to sleep so I am finishing it now.

Yesterday I got a chance to thrift shop all by myself thanks to a childcare swap with my friend Addie. I hit up all my favorite Ballard area thrift stores and was really disappointed with the Goodwill. They seem to have caught on that they have some good stuff because everything was way overpriced in my estimate. Judging from some comments on this blog others have noticed that as well. Its always very disappointing to see something very fun sitting on a shelf and think you have found a treasure only to see that is cost more used than new! However I did get a chance to go to my favorite hole-in-the-wall charity shop that I have blogged about before and managed to find some good deals.
A retro-y pair of earrings, three little girl t-shirts and a new Yankee candle minus the label. All for under $7. Nothing beats those little thrift stores.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

It seems that, by their nature, balls disappear into the bushes or down the street. I understand this. However, they also seem to be abundant in boxes of free stuff around the city. I am not sure why. Maybe they are hard to store or maybe they are seldom used. I mean who remembers the last time they threw around the old pig skin? Anyway DH or I have recently found a free basketball (just needed a little pumping up) and a free soccer ball (complete with a patriotic color scheme). On our last road trip we also found a football hiding deep in the bushes of a camp ground (lets just say the bathroom was way too far from our camp site). Since the sun is starting to come out more we've actually gotten some use. Below is a pic of the soccer ball and football. Sadly the basketball is downstairs in the storage area, so maybe I lied about getting some use out of these.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Usually I don't post retail finds. This is because in this consumer culture we live in almost anything that someone buys new can be found used somewhere (excluding disposable goods of course). People seem to just go through stuff rather quickly in the US. However, last year I read an article about Japanese dollar stores coming to America. The article listed the first of these stores as opening in the Lynnwood mall, which is not too far north of Seattle, but never on the way to anywhere I go. I will be heading up North soon and thought maybe I would check it out so I went to there website (http://www.daiso-sangyo.co.jp/english/) and found that there is also one conveniently located at Westlake Center in downtown Seattle. Now dollar stores are usually full of cheap and low quality goods, but somehow when those goods have cute Japanese packaging they look like a lot more fun. They also had some really cute stationary and fun ceramics. Most things are priced at $1.50. I resisted many of the fun things to buy and contented myself with this:

Its a set of play dough accessories for DD to use with my homemade play dough. I realized the hard way that just giving her things out of the kitchen drawer can be messy and hard to clean up. Anyway if you get a chance I recommend checking out these cute stores.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

These shoes are not meant for walking

Another quick post for a cute find from my thrift store adventures with Kara in Fort Collins, Colorado. Above are a pair of Robeez crib shoes for babies. In Seattle everybody loves these shoes so I rarely see them at thrift stores. These are size 0-6 months so clearly they will not fit my toddler. I contemplated saving them for baby #2, but since I already have too much stuff saved it seemed best to post them on Ebay. I paid $1.99 for them. I think I can make a pretty good profit.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Saving the world

DH and I don't currently own a car. (Which by the way is kind of hard. Sometimes idealism sucks) Because of this we use a car sharing thing (service? organization? club?) and sometimes find fun free stuff in these cars. Now just for the record if I found something big I would leave it or report it to lost and found. However sometimes I find fun little things like small Earth key chains that seem to have been tossed in the backseat. For those of you with a very good knowledge of Cameron Crowe movies you may remember this as the key chain that Kyra Sedgwick had in Singles, which generated some nostalgia for me. Anyway I had to save the world from a life of existing in the back seat of a Zipcar so now its my new key chain.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Free find

Above is a basket I found on the street next to a dumpster today. It was filled with Easter grass so I imagine it had its day and then was cast aside. So sad. Although its really not that exciting of a find in and of itself it might signal that its getting to be the season to leave junk on the sidewalk in front of your house (my favorite time of year) so maybe I will soon have bigger and better things to post.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Home Improvement

Recently we have embarked on a home ownership journey, which means we have all kinds of new home improvement-y things to find good deals on. One of our first projects for our new home will be to paint it. Recently at the Goodwill we found drop clothes, rollers and painters tape for what seemed like good deals (around $1-$2 each for the small stuff and $3 each for the rollers). This brings up a recent trend I have noticed at thrift stores. They seem to be supplementing their regular used wears with new dollar-store type items. This can be tricky because sometimes its overpriced and is usually lower quality than you could find at a drugstore. I am not really sure what painting supplies run, so I may not really have gotten a good deal. However it did save me a trip to the hardware store so we'll go ahead and count it just this once. Have others noticed this stuff in thrift stores now? What do you think about it - good deal or no?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

You may have heard that everything you are using is bad for you. Since having a child I have started reading way to many blogs and books about getting toxins out of your home. Because of this I have been inspired to get rid of my Tupperware and start using non-plastic water bottles. I usually just go buy a Snapple or something in a glass bottle and reuse it, but because of my nasty habit of dropping glass things I have been thinking about going for stainless steel. Unfortunately these new-fangled water bottles can run up to $20, which seems a little silly to me. However I found the below water bottle at Goodwill for $2.

I was excited. However when I got it home and used it realized why it was in the thrift store in the first place. To begin with it is totally a dribble glass. You would think it must be from a joke shop or something by the way it leaks. Secondly it tastes weird. I tried not to think too long about what it tasted like in case I could identify it and get freaked out. So back in goes to the thrift store and back I go to QFC for a Snapple.
PS - you may notice a bonus picture of my daughter in the background for all you lucky loyal readers.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Back on track

Wow its been awhile. Sorry all. Things seem to be settling down plus its starting to be nice out which means garage sale season starts. Yee haw!
Just to kick off this season of thrifting I did some shopping in Colorado on vacation with Kara and ended up with some fun (if not entirely practical) finds. Below are two fun bags I got for $3 each at the Fort Collins Goodwill.

So cute no?
I recently cleared out about 6 old bags I was no longer using. I figured when your handbag collection threatens to bury you every time to try to get a new bag out you have too many. However we just bought a house and now I have all kinds of room for excess bags. Unfortunately buying the house took care of all of our excess money so I will have to find some really good deals. Strange how space and money seem to be inversely proportional. I have heard the same thing about time and money. Mmm.... I will do further research and get back to you.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hi Loyal Readers,
This month we're
1. buying a house
2. moving (see #1)
3. going on vacation
4. finishing up a lot of work towards our up coming adoption
5. dealing with illness
6. teaching a double load
7. taking care of a busy toddler

Due to the above events my blog has taken a back seat. Don't fear! I have some good finds and some upcoming posts. Hopefully next week I'll be ready to get some new posts going. Sorry all.
Just a quick apology/excuse.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You may have heard that Starbucks is doing some major retooling of their business due to the recent news of their dropping profits. Well today we benefitted from this in a rather unexpected way. DH was walking by one of the many neighborhood Starbucks and found this basket on the curb along with lots of other random stuff. (the nuts were not included. Those we also got for free from a relative in Oklahoma where apparently pecans grow on trees.) The basket is a nice size and made from wire so its pretty sturdy and in good shape.

DH also found a bag full of sample size cups to use for glue for his students. (no he doesn't teach first grade) Incidentally, immediately after this picture was taken I picked up the basket and dropped it on the floor spraying nuts everywhere. I then tripped on some and almost fell. I wonder if I can sue either Starbucks or the state of Oklahoma for that...I'll have to call one of those lawyers who advertise on TV late at night and find out.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Seattle is a rainy city. There is really no denying it. As a Seattlite and a parent of a young Seattlite its important to know (and to teach others) how to survive a winter in Seattle, especially now that we don't own a car . Hannah has a pair of rain boots courtesy of her grandmother and recently I found this coat at a thrift store:

Its so cute no? I know its a little overboard with the pink, but its 18-24 months meaning it fits now and may even still fit next winter (or this spring, summer or fall for that matter). It only cost be $2 so I figure I would have to make do with the cutesy-ness.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

For those of you, gentle readers, who do not know my husband is a graphic designer and as such he has always had a fondness for letters (as in the alphabet), posters and other random bits of paper. He also has taught college for the last 5 years or so and has occasionally gotten some pretty fun gifts via his students.

Above is a large S (about 2 feet by 2 feet) from a remodeled Savemart one of his students worked at. It was just going to be thrown out to make way for newer (and I guess the management was thinking more sophisticated?) neon signage. This S has been in our family for many moves and always finds a prominent place in our home. Recently Dan also acquired an N, which was placed on the facing wall and coincidentally also orients us to north and south. This old signage has been a fun and thrifty addition to our home.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Last week when Dan was riding his bike to work he came across this in the QFC parking lot:

I know its hard to tell, but its a large bag (actually "Super Mega" size. Don't get me started on diaper package sizes. When did small, medium and large go out of style?) of diapers that has apparently been run over by a car. The bag was ripped and since it had been lightly raining some of the diapers were wet, but the entire package was there. These are my DD size so Dan grabbed them. At first I was unconvinced that these were usable, but now that they have dried you'd never know they had been run over and rained on. We're a cloth diaper family, but these come in handy when traveling and/or when feeling lazy. Its nice to know we have a some extra lazy days prepared for now.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Basket Case

For the past several months I have been in major purge mode around my apartment. I just felt overwhelmed by the amount of stuff crammed everywhere. As part of this purge I got rid of my handled baskets, which I was using to hold tea. Now baskets are kind of a pain because they don't fold down and those with handles take up a lot of space. However, ever since I got rid of them I missed my baskets. They seem like such a nice way to contain things. So today I replaced one of my old baskets with a new thrift store find. It was only $1.50. I consider that an ok price to pay to realize what I need and what I don't.

Back to G.O.

Just two posts ago I mentioned the Grocery Outlet and gave it only a so-so review. Well tonight I have a good find from them so maybe I need to amend my previous comments. Dan and I were in Kent and stopped by the local G.O. in hopes of finding some cut-rate whole wheat flour. Instead Dan walked out with a new pair of Teva tennis shoes.

Now Dan's standards for shoes are not that high. You may remember that he has been wearing shoes for the last 6 months or so that he found on the street and previous to that he mostly relied on his brother's cast offs. Since his shoes were getting old and since the Tevas were only $25 (they normally run around $100) he went for it. Although this definitely qualifies as a good find I am still on the fence about the Grocery Outlet. Just think about it, we went in for baking supplies and came out with shoes. Its hard to understand how that kind of impulse purchasing would happen at your local Safeway.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Painting with Picasso

I have been on the hunt for a toddler size easel for awhile. It seems like a great toy that will last awhile and promote creativity (which I assume she got a measure of from her father). I found this one at the Ryther Childcare Center thrift store in Ballard for $4. Plus it came with a bag of chalk and an eraser. So far Hannah has enjoyed it. Although truth be told she seems to enjoy chewing on the chalk as much or more than drawing.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Yum, Yum Yogurt

Some of you may be familiar with the Grocery Outlet. I have mixed feelings about this potential bargain source, but still manage to find myself there about once a month. You can find some really good deals there including the cheapest price on whole wheat flour and chocolate chips I've ever seen. However you can never count on what they will have in stock and I would guess 80% of the stuff they carry is not really worth buying anyway (like organic Cookie Crisp cereal and frozen dinners that seem to be made entirely from transfats).

Last time I went to GO I went with my friend Kris who bought a couple of the above yogurts. They rang up for 1 cent each. Seeing an unbelievable deal I went back and grabbed 10 or so for both her and myself. When it was my turn to check out the manager happened to be walking buy, noticed my yogurts and told the checker that they were priced wrong so she needed to manually put in the price of 25 cents each. This made the yogurts unappealing to me, so I skipped them and Kris offered me half of hers that she had got at the 1 cent each price. However, when we were walking out of the store she noticed she had been charged $1 each for the last three yogurts (it is still unclear how this could have happened). So waited until the checker was free and she got a price correction. She still split her 1 cent each yogurts with me which my DD enjoyed. I guess the point is...hmm, there really isn't a point. Interesting story though, no?

PS - sorry about the recent down turn in picture quality. It seems that our digital camera is finally dying after 8 years. My husband is pretty excited to replace it and I have a feeling he won't paying the kind of price that will make it a blog-worthy deal.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I have been on a quest for new shoes for my daughter for awhile now. After a long delay I think its fair to say she is walking now and so shoes have become more important. Additionally those feet just seem to keep growing. I have been looking at consignment shops but have been greatly disappointed in both the selection and prices. I briefly looked at new shoes for her but I shuddered at the prices. (Lets just say a pair of shoes that will last a couple months should not be equivalent to or greater than one's electric bill in the midst of winter.) At the thrift store a couple of days ago I finally managed to track down a decent, semi cute pair of Gap tennis shoes in her up coming size for $1.99. Just in time too. I think when your daughter cries in pain when you try to get her shoes on it is a good sign they are too small.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Base to echo 5

To begin this post I have a confession to make. Sometimes after my DD goes to sleep my neighbors who live down our hall watch her via monitor. We figure the distance between their living room and her bedroom is less than in some houses so it really is not that different than many people. OK, confession done.
A new tenant moved into our building with the exact same monitor as us. How likely is that? (actually its pretty likely since its probably the best selling monitor out there.) Anyway, they seem to keep their monitor on all the time, which interferes with ours and prevents the above mentioned escapes after she is in bed. Monitors can run $35 and up and I was unhappy at the prospect of having to spend this much to solve this problem. Luckily I am a pro when it comes to finding stuff I need cheap and I waited patiently and yesterday I found the solution.

Above is a new, higher grade, monitor still in the box found at our local Goodwill for $12.99. But wait, I had a 30% off coupon (who knew that thrift stores make coupons!) so it actually only ended up being $9. I checked and retail it costs $50 at Target. It works great too. I think the only reason is was there is because the box was damaged because it had never been taken out of the packing. Now we can go back to trusting modern technology to do our babysitting for us.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What you see above is one of those squeezable stress balls. Yesterday I found it in a flexcar (www.flexcar.com) that I was using. Now normally I would not consider this a blog-worthy find since it really is not worth anything to me and will just clutter up my house. However I had my beast of a child with me while in said flexcar and she was just about to lose it when I miraculously pulled out this ball and handed it to her. (pardon to all for paying more attention to my child than the road. I really do try to avoid this usually.) She was impressed and managed to contain her rage at being strapped into her car seat for the next 20 minutes or so. Since she had chewed it thoroughly and since its not really something someone would come back to a flexcar for I decided to take it with us when we left. What a gift for my DD.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

All time favorite finds

One of my favorite thing to find at thrift stores are vintage bags. They are common enough for me to have amassed a fairly sizable collection over the years, but rare enough that I always get excited when I see a great one. Below are a couple of my favorite bags. Although I cannot recall exactly what each of these cost me, I am sure I didn't spend more than $5 for any bag.

A quick tip on finding fun bags like these, look in the wallet section. Vintage clutches are often buried in there. Plus those bags are among the least used (so they are in the best shape) and often under $2 a piece. I recently sold an 80's style vintage clutch by Charles Jourdin that I found at a thrift store for $30 on Ebay. Happy hunting.