May 30, 2012

A Little Project

Hello, everyone. A few weeks ago I found a piece of  decor at a thrift shop for under $2.00. It is a metal wall picture. The problem is, I liked the background, but not the "art" part of it. Here's what it started out as: 

As you can see, there is a purse on top of what looks like handwriting in a foreign script. I am not young enough to be crazy about purses or shoes anymore, so the bag had to go. Hmmm. What to replace it with? Several weeks later another thrift store trip offered a good alternative. Now the piece looks like this:

A black metal candle holder turned upside down looks like a crown, and there are plenty of those all over the world of blogs. The center got a piece of gold cardboard glued on it, topped with a fancy pin that had the back cut off it. This wasn't a huge or even big project, but it was fun and turned out nicely. It's already getting hot enough here that you need to find crafts that can be done inside, which won't be over for at least three months. This is a good beginning to the hunker down out of the heat time. I'm going to link it to Susan's Met Monday next week, over at Between Naps on the Porch.

Do you look at things in stores differently after reading blogs, and think it good now, but could be even better if . . . .

Stay cool!


May 24, 2012

Another collection

Hello, all. This is going to be a look at another collection. To tell you the truth, the numbers of things collected by moi is a lot more than I realized before starting this blog. Some are small; birdcages equal three, and one of them is permanently on the front porch, planted with succulents. Others are much larger, yet I am trying to contain them to what  space there is, given how small the house is. 

I have picked up a few pieces of tableware, white with black words on them, but they don't turn up often. A small cabinet, a $2 find at a thrift store holds them now.

I found a two grapefruit bowls recently, but they were higher quality and sold on eBay for quite a bit, a nice surprise. On Monday I found another at the nearest Salvation Army store. It was .79 cents, less a 25% discount, so a price hard to beat. It is this:

It's the first bowl to keep, not sell.It may fit in the little cupboard standing on edge behind some mugs. It hasn't been convenient to lug in a stool and try to rearrange things yet, but it will probably get done on the weekend. My favorite is the small plate that says Croissants and Jam.

How do you corral your collections? Do you rotate pieces on and off display, or is space not an issue for you? If only one of mine is featured each week it will still take a few months to report them all. Am I the only one with multiple enthusiasms that need to be watched to keep under control? I hope not!

Till next time,

May 22, 2012

Room of Thrift

Reading Shannon's post on Coastal Charm at made me wonder what percentage of our possessions come from thrift shops or yard sales. Let's see:

Going round the room starting by the door into the dining room is a desk that belonged to a relative of my ex-husband, so a gift. The contents of the top are all of a religious nature and were bought at resale  shops, ditto the lamp, chair, picnic basket under it and books.

This metal piece has two panels of birds and two of flowers and came from the Sand Dollar, a source of many goodies near us. Now on this wall too are a collection of crosses, some bought by me and others gifts from Mr. B.

Moving along the north wall is a wicker chair bought at a yard sale probably twenty years ago, on its last legs thanks to cats. Next to it is another picnic basket, then one of my favorite finds in 2011:

This is a revolving bookcase table with some pretty inlay work on the top. Next to it is a red standing floor lamp with red shade from the Blue Bird Shop that gives support to the neuroscience unit for children at Methodist Hospital. Love it. At right angles to it is the sofa. We had a thrifted one for years, but replaced it with an Ikea model in January for our anniversary. Stuck in the corner is a red wire mesh Eddie Bauer magazine rack from a yard sale. There is another bookcase end table at the opposite end of the sofa, not nearly as pretty as the one above.

Here is a cool shelf  from the Junior Forum, $8.00. It is now hanging in the corner near the red lamp and revolving bookcase.

Everything on this wall was thrifted except for one of the umbrellas that was a birthday gift. Oh, there is a tin box holding bird things under the chair with cushions that came from Hobby Lobby. On the little bit of wall next to the basket by the front door is a metal wall pocket, picture and frame bought for pennies.

Beyond the door you see on the left is a bookcase. The picture over it, most of the content, the suitcase on top and about all the books weren't bought new. The little tin mirror was a gift and the poppy plate belonged to my grandmother.

Here is the chair we got at a sale for the Leukemia Society Saturday. It was $20, but since it was for charity we didn't argue about the price. Next to it is a gateleg table with both sides folded down and our television on it. We got it at a yard sale in 1980 when we first met.

In front of the sofa is a table from an antique shop. It was a dining table. Mr. B cut the legs down. Under it is a big basket from Ikea with stuff in it.

To summarize, all of the decorations, pictures, ornaments, pillows, 99% of the books and a large percentage of everything else wasn't bought new and that's just fine with us. To me, things that have belonged  to someone else come with a history and some element of mystery, thus much more interesting and desirable than a new, similar, yet more expensive item bought at a mall. I have a friend (maybe more than one) who thinks shopping for things like this is absolutely disgusting and despises even the concept of thrift shops, curbside rescue or anything remotely that hints of second hand. She has tried to console me by saying if I won the lottery  it would never be necessary again. She doesn't buy the treasure hunt aspects of it.

What about you? Do you know people who just don't "get" the thrill of the hunt?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!


May 19, 2012


Yesterday I wrote "So go to yard, tag and garage sales. You might bump into the love of your life as you reach under a table to see  what's in the box below, buy an item that launches your dreams for a new career or even get a little black kitten for free."

This morning I read an article about a man who did just that. you can read his story here:

A 50 cent book from a yard sale sent him on a quest of investigation. He's since written a book called "Living Witness: Historic Trees  of Texas"to be published by Texas A & M Press. Ralph Yznaga's life took a turn from his inexpensive purchase; I'm not sure if he got a kitten with it, though!

Now I need to get Mr. B. moving. There's a big sale to benefit the Leukemia Society today. Who knows what we'll find?

Have you made a friend, sparked a new interest or had your life change as a result of thrifting?

Until next time,

May 18, 2012

The Yard Sale that Changed My Life

First, there is a bit of a preface to this entry. I learned to read so young I don't remember not always being able to.  We went to the library weekly, and once I was school age, there were two libraries to check out books from, what riches!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post. In 1993 or so, Mr. B and I stopped at a yard sale in our neighborhood. I picked up a couple of small, inexpensive items. In order to make the total an even $2.00 (I said they were inexpensive!) I grabbed three issues of Victoria Magazine, which was new to me. Later on, flipping through one issue a small, three or four line paragraph caught my attention. It described how the writer Anna Quindlen, had spoken about a series of books by Maud Hart Lovelace and included information about a group made up of fans of the work. Well! I remembered those books. They were about friends Betsy and Tacy:

There are fourteen books in the series which begin at age five and continue through the last set during WWI, Betsy's Wedding. I had read and re-read them growing up and bought them for my daughters too.

But, a society? Who knew there were other adults out there who still recalled the details of the life in Deep Valley--actually Mankato--Minnesota? I wrote a note asking for more  information about the Society and told Daughters 1 and 2 about it. Time passed with no response. Finally months after giving up on hearing back a membership form arrived and I joined directly. Still, with the base in Minnesota and me in Texas, it seemed like a newsletter would be the only result of membership. Until one contained a snippet that there was now a BT online group. What? How does that work, anyway? In 1995, exploring the novel world of a listserv I joined and have been a  member ever since.

Because of joining this group I've met new friends, some nearby and others thousands of miles away, seen and shared daily and extraordinary moments of their lives. I left Texas to travel to Minnesota for a convention in 2002. There are many longtime members who mainly know me as the grandmother  of Little  Oldsmobile, based upon her name, Cierra. My ex-husband didn't think much of it and said (to me, not to her parents) "Cierra! That's not a name, it's a &%!@*$ Oldsmobile! Inspired by others who occasionally sold duplicates and other beloved books to the group I began to do so as well and eventually branched out to sell on eBay and Amazon. The world of Maud Hart Lovelace is endearing and enduring. I read many books as a child, the Little House series, those  by Edward Eager, Mary Poppins, all the Shoe book by Noel Streatfeild  I could find and hundreds of others too numerous to mention, yet Deep Valley with Betsy and her crowd have stayed with me much more so than many others. It's hard to imagine what twists and turns my life would have taken the past 17 years if we hadn't gone to a yard sale and snagged a few magazines in our haul. It's very strange to think of  my life without some very special friends, or the pleasure that's come from searching for and selling books all this time.

The moral to this story is, you really never know what will be a pivotal action or moment in your life. We went to yard sales routinely, but never really expected anything beyond a great deal once in a while and a pleasant couple of hours on a Saturday morning.  I never guessed going to one that wasn't huge and was already pretty picked over would have such a lasting effect on my life, that's for sure.

So go to yard, tag and garage sales. You might bump into the love of your life as you reach under a table to see  what's in the box below, buy an item that launches your dreams for a new career or even get a little black kitten for free. It's like an adaptation of the US Navy slogan, "It's not just a job, it's an adventure". It's not always just shopping for inexpensive items, it can be a springboard to something truly amazing.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the BTS, you can go to

I hope you all are anticipating a wonderful weekend.

As BT fans often sign themselves,

Maudly, Michele

May 15, 2012

Quality of Life

I was thinking about what makes my life easier this afternoon--not the Important parts, like husband, children, friends--but smaller, yet very useful things that increase the quality of life immensely. In no particular order:

Goo Gone. It takes off price stickers and grease pencil in no time flat. Shopping at thrift stores would be much less satisfying without this product.

Color Catchers. We have a lot of red stuff and this has saved a ton of laundry from the dreaded pink fade since it was invented.

Kitty Litter in a 40lb. box. You saw all the cats we have last week. Some wimpy small bag won't work for the numbers we're dealing with. Thank you, Kroger for its thrifty size and price.

Your basic humble hole punch. These are in constant use here, for paper pennant banners, making a gift tag out of part of an old card or calendar, attaching a label to something. It's a cheap tool, but hard to beat for utility.

A step stool and extending pincher device. I am short, folks, and without these aids would be limited to a very low range of activity.

Paper handkerchiefs. With terrible allergies, life without tissues would be one nonstop, icky mess. Thank goodness they were invented.

Baskets have the unbeatable combination of being useful and decorative both. Here is one that stays by the front door to corral umbrellas and walking sticks; one that has extra picture frames in it, and one that holds wine glasses, since there isn't sufficient cabinet space for them. These are just a  small sample of baskets in use at our house.

The US mail. I ship things several days a week and have since 2000. In all that time, less than one item per yearhas gone astray or been damaged. Most of the time they do a fantastic job here, which allows me peace of mind to sell on eBay and Amazon.

My library card. As much as I read, my life would have been much more barren and empty without this access to the world of reading that has enriched my life since the age of five.

The last there is no picture for: Romeo. No, not the Shakespeare character, my hairdresser, whose last name is really Romeo. She keeps my haircut so well that strangers are forever complimenting me and asking who my stylist is. Since my talent for hair and other beauty routines is non-existent, she has improved my appearance more than words can say for the past twenty + years and I'm grateful for her skill and friendship both.

What small goods and services do you find essential to improve and brighten up your life?

Have a wonderful Wednesday,

May 11, 2012

Bering Booty

Hello, all, this is a good news-bad news kind of post. Despite the fact last weekend was prime yard sale opportunity, I was sidetracked having some work done on my car, so couldn't avail myself of the finds out there. The good news was, the day before was Bering Methodist's semi-annual rummage sale, which I definitely did attend. Unlike last November, this time I thought to bring a shopping bag and a rolling milk crate, so it was easier to haul around. Here is a picture of some of the booty from it:

The haul include two crocheted doilies, a Vera sugar bowl and creamer, new box of Christmas cards, madras pillow sham, two black pillow cases, an Edith Holden tin, a heavy red and white striped metal board with a hole for hanging, a cute bird tray, four candles, four silver plate salad forks, ten books, a big old gourd and a few small odds and ends. This sale is separated by category and set up in different parts of the church offices, class and meeting rooms, so I paid in each section, not at the end. I think it was less than $20 total. Some of the books and other items will go on ebay, so it's possible they'll make sufficient $$ to cover the total spent.

It is a very well run sale, with a central spot for parking so you can leave what you've already purchased and go empty-handed to another section. Prices  are excellent and the member volunteers friendly and helpful. Recommend  A+++++. Will go again in November!

I'm going to post this on Frugalicious Friday at

See you there!


May 9, 2012

Mug Shots

I thought it was time to introduce you to some of the other residents at Adventures in Thrifting, so let's see, who wants to be first?

These are the latest members of our cat family, Freddy and Flossie. They came to live with us as tiny kittens exactly a year ago. Now Freddy is at least twice as big as his sister. Mr. B found Freddy first and brought him home. When a tiny litter mate turned up a couple of weeks later, she naturally had to be Flossie.

This is Trixie. We used to live on a tiny cul-de-sac (until Hurricane Ike dropped a tree on our house) and she appeared one day, around five or six months old. Clearly, naming her after Trixie Belden was a huge mistake. Her official title in our family is The Snoopervisor.

Here are Butterball and Junior. They are offspring of a feral cat from the cul-de-sac named Sally Calico, born in 2006. Junior and Tilly were brought inside around six weeks old. Butterball remained elusive and didn't move indoors till she had a litter of kittens in 20008.

You see Tilly there running away from the camera. She is just as shy and feral as she was the first day she came indoors, totally terrified of both me and Mr. B six years later.

Butterball had a litter of five we trapped on Mother's Day, 2008. Four of her kittens found homes easily, but then there was Freckles.

Let's hope she has talent, because she's not going to win any prizes for beauty!

I hope you've enjoyed meeting some of the feline fiends, uh, I mean friends who keep me busy.


May 1, 2012

Take a Seat!

Happy May Day to everyone!

Last week some of my miniature chairs were featured in a post. Now it's time to confess, it doesn't stop with miniatures. I also have accumulated a number of child-sized chairs over the years. Here they are hauled outside on the front steps to photograph:

These have been collected over a long time, most from thrift shops but a couple from Ross and TJ Maxx. Those are the folding chair and bent twig ones at the back left. The taller one on the right is an early Texas primitive bought from The Guild Shop run by volunteers from St. John the Divine church. It probably cost more than the others, but it's been nearly 30 years since it came home  with me and memory of the price is long  gone. Two little maple wooden ones came from The Bluebird Shop and Sand Dollar. Also from SD is the green decorated one in front. It's red big brother was $5.00 at Manna a few months ago. The small Adirondack chair was red with the name Katie on the middle slat. It needs a second coat of blue still.

The folding chair sits to the left of the front door on the steps with a  birdcage full of succulents on its seat. The others are  all used inside, including one not in the picture. It's on top of a high bookcase, being used as an extra shelf to hold some ornamental tins. It is a plain light wood with rush seat from Ikea.

Inside the little chairs hold vignettes, stacks of books and seasonal decor.

Here you can see a couple of them right inside the front door. The primitive chair has little cushions from the child's section of Ikea, bought long ago. Recently it has become a favorite spot for Freddy, one of our youngest cats to snooze on during the day. Most of the time the little green painted chair hangs on the pegs on the rack above.

It's hard to say why these small seats speak to me, but they always have. It's been fun to find them over the years and figure out how to incorporate them into our home. Plus, we're ready for a tea party; just say the word!

Until next time,